Florida Sex Crimes Attorney
What Constitutes a Sex Crime?
Ultimately, a sex crime is an offense that takes place when a person (either male or female) sexually abuses or instigates forced sexual encounters by means of psychological and physical manipulation. As further defined by the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN), the following offenses constitute sex crimes across the United States:
- Sexual assault: a sexual act or a manner of sexual behavior that takes place without the victim’s permission (includes fondling, forcing victims to perform sexual acts, and rape)
- Assault of a child: a sexual act or a manner of sexual behavior conducted toward a minor (an individual under the age of 18)
- Sexual abuse of a partner: a form of domestic violence that takes place when a spouse or partner sexually assaults (including fondling or rape) their significant other
- Incest: having a sexual encounter or lasting sexual relationship with a blood relative (e.g. mother, father, sister, brother)
- Use of drugs: using drugs to compromise an individual’s decision making to perform an act of sexual assault or additional crimes
- Stalking: shared contact or association with a person that makes the victim feel uncomfortable, through which the perpetrator utilizes power and control to sexually harass the victim
- Prison rape: an act of sexual violence or abuse conducted on an inmate of a prison (or a member of the prison staff)
- Human trafficking: transporting, harboring, and/or selling human beings for (in this context) sexual favors or sex entertainment
RAINN also points out that certain laws also protect people with disabilities and the elderly as victims of sexual assault and violence. Additional laws also focus on crimes involving multiple perpetrators.
Understanding Terms Related to Sexual Battery
To fully understand the laws concerning sexual battery in the State of Florida, here is a closer look at some terms outlined in Florida Statute Title XLVI Chapter 794.011(1, a-j):
- “Consent” refers to completely voluntary consent and does not involve any form of forced sexual approaches or intimacy. This does not refer to the failure or unwillingness to resist and fight the perpetrator.
- “Mentally incapacitated” refers to the temporary impairment of an individual to the point that he/she cannot control their conduct due to the presence of a narcotic, anesthetic, or other intoxicating drug that the culprit administered without the victim’s consent.
- “Offender” refers to a person who commits an act of sexual assault.
- “Physically helpless” refers to a situation where the victim cannot effectively communicate or physically defend himself/herself against the culprit.
- “Retaliation” refers to a situation when a culprit threatens the victim with physical violence, psychological abuse, or forced sex.
- “Sexual battery” refers to a situation when a culprit forcibly violates a person by means of oral or regular penetration with sexual organs or other objects.
- “Victim” refers to a person who has been sexually attacked.
Committing an Act of Sexual Assault
As outlined in Florida Statute Title XLVI Chapter 794.011 (2-3), a culprit who commits an act of sexual battery or attempts to commit this act on the sexual organs of a victim may be punished in one of two ways, depending on the age of the offender and the victim:
- Chapter 794.011(2a): Any person who is 18 years of age or older who commits this offense and injures the sexual organs of a victim who is less than 12 years of age will be charged with a capital felony.
- Chapter 794.011(2b): Any person younger than 18 years of age who commits this offense and injures the sexual organs of a victim who is less than 12 years of age will be charged with a felony, punishable by life imprisonment and/or a fine of $15,000.
- Chapter 794.011(3): Any person who commits this offense by threatening the victim with a deadly weapon or actually uses physical violence (which can result in serious injuries) will be charged with a life felony.
- Chapter 794.011(4a): Any person who is 18 years of age or older who commits an act of sexual assault or attempts to commit this act on the sexual organs of a victim as young as 12 years but no older than 18 years will be charged with a 1st-degree felony, punishable by a fine of $10,000 and/or imprisonment that does not exceed 30 years.
- Chapter 794.011(4b): Any person who is 18 years of age or older who commits an act of sexual assault or attempts to commit this act on the sexual organs of a victim who is 18 years or older will be charged with a 1st-degree felony, punishable by a fine of $10,000 and/or imprisonment that does not exceed 30 years.
- Chapter 794.011(4c): Any person younger than 18 years who commits an act of sexual assault or attempts to commit this act on an individual who is older than 12 years of age will be charged with a 1st-degree felony, punishable by a fine of $10,000 and/or imprisonment that does not exceed 30 years.
Committing an Act of Sexual Abuse
In the event that the sex crime does not involve the use of physical violence as part of coercion tactics, culprits may face one of several punishments, depending (once again) on the ages of the culprit and victim involved, as dictated in Chapter 794.011 (5, a-c):
- Chapter 791.011(5a): Any person 18 years of age or older who commits sexual battery against a victim who is at least 12 but not older than 18 years of age will be charged with a 1st-degree felony, punishable by a fine of $10,000 and/or imprisonment that does not exceed 30 years.
- Chapter 791.011(5b): Any person 18 years of age or older who commits sexual battery against a victim who is 18 years of age or older will be charged with a 2nd-degree felony, punishable by a $10,000 fine and/or a prison sentence that does not exceed 15 years.
- Chapter 791.011(5c): Any person younger than 18 years of age who commits sexual battery against a victim who is 12 years of age or older will be charged with a 2nd-degree felony, punishable by a $10,000 fine and/or a prison sentence that does not exceed 15 years.
Committing an Act of Sexual Battery by Multiple Culprits
If the crime involved more than one perpetrator, the Florida Legislature reclassifies charges and punishments depending (once again) on the nature of the crime itself. As dictated by Florida Statute Title XLVI Chapter 794.023 (2), the court can reclassify the crime if they can prove (without any doubt) that more than one perpetrator was involved in the transaction of sexual battery or assault. Under these circumstances, the punishment of a 2nd-degree felony will be switched to a 1st-degree felony, while a 1st-degree felony will be transferred to a life felony.
Sexually Battering a Student
Under the category of sexual assault (in the category of indecent exposure), Florida Statute Title XLVI Chapter 800.101 dictates that authority figures (people 18 years and older) who work at a school or any organization related to a school cannot initiate and/or engage in any sexual conduct or a romantic relationship with a student. Any individual who breaks this law will be charged with a 2nd-degree felony, punishable by a $10,000 fine and/or a prison sentence that is no longer than 15 years.
Keep in mind that this crime does not fall under the same category as crimes committed by a teacher as outlined in Title XLVI Chapter 775.0862.
Human Trafficking for Sexual Purposes
RAINN identifies human trafficking for the purpose of sexual activity as a variety of sex crimes directed towards children and adults.
Under Florida Statute Title XLVI Chapter 787.06, human trafficking is regarded by Florida Legislature as a variety of modern slavery, in which humans are transported for the purposes of being sold and harbored (in the same manner as material goods). In this case, trafficking becomes a sex crime when adults and children are sold for prostitution, the sexual entertainment industry, or additional shady purposes related to sexual activity:
- “Commercial sexual activity” refers to the breaking of Statute 796 or an attempt to do so for the grounds of producing and/or selling pornography and performances that are sexually explicit.
- “Services” may refer to the duties of the victim, such as forced marriage or performing sexual acts on a number of clientele.
- “Sexually explicit performances” are live or recorded acts or shows (for either private or public displays) that are designed to sexually arouse or stimulate the buyers.
Chapter 787.06 (4) defines four different forms of punishment, depending on the severity of the crime:
- If the perpetrator is a parent, guardian, or supervisor of the victim, this individual will be charged with a life felony, punishable by life imprisonment and/or a fine of $15,000.
- If the culprit brands the victim for the purpose of human trafficking, this individual will be charged with a 2nd-degree felony, punishable by a $10,000 fine and/or a prison sentence of no more than 15 years.
Stalking a Victim
As dictated by Florida Statute 784.048 (3), any person who willingly, maliciously, and continuously pursues, harasses, or cyberstalks a victim will be charged with a 1st-degree misdemeanor, punishable by a $1,000 fine and/or a prison sentence that does not exceed 1 year.
As shown in Chapter 784.048 (4), people who have previously been charged with sexual harassment via stalking and who commit an act of this nature again (resulting in damage to the victim’s property) will be charged with a 3rd-degree felony, punishable by a $5,000 fine and/or a prison sentence that does not exceed 5 years.
On a different note, Chapter 784.048(5) dictates that any person who stalks or cyberstalks a child who is 16 years of age or younger will be charged with aggravated stalking (considered a 3rd-degree felony), punishable by a $5,000 fine and/or a prison sentence that does not exceed 5 years.
FS Title XLVI Chapter 784.049 defines cyberstalking as a situation when a culprit shares an image depicting the victim, who is posing in a sexually explicit manner (intended to be private) or has been photographed unintentionally. In this case, “sexually explicit images” refer to any images that depict nudity.
Determining a Valid Case for Sexually Assaulting a Minor
As indicated by the Florida Statutes, Chapter XLVI, § 794.011(2)(a) and (2)(b), instructions listed for members of a Criminal Jury highlighted in Case 11.1, members of the court must prove (without any shred of doubt) that the defendant:
- Used his/her sexual organs (or an object) to penetrate or unite with the sexual organs or mouth of the victim.
- Injured the victim as a result.
Please review Chapter 11 for details about sexual crimes.
Using a Victim’s Age as a Means of Defense
As indicated by Florida Statute Title XLVI Chapter 794.021, on the grounds that the victim’s age directly influences the severity of the crime, the culprit cannot use this age as a means of defense in court. Neither a misrepresentation of the victim’s age (presented by the victim himself/herself) or a belief that the victim was a certain age can be used to defend the culprit.
Protect Your Future with Musca Law
Sex crime allegations can be devastating, not to mention humiliating. If convicted, you face prison time, exorbitant fees, and lifetime sexual offender or sexual predator registration. Musca Law’s experienced Florida sex crimes lawyers know how threatening these severe consequences and hostile prosecutors can be. We work diligently to ensure that your rights are upheld and that you receive the best possible defense. In many cases, sex crime allegations are brought about due to innocent circumstances and complex family dynamics. The criminal justice system isn’t impervious to mistakes, and our Florida criminal defense team can shed light on your situation and use proven methodologies to build your defense. At Musca Law, we know that everyone is entitled to fair representation and to having their story heard. Our knowledgeable sex crimes attorneys are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to serve as your advocates and fight aggressively to defend your rights.
- Child Exploitation
- Child Molestation
- Child Pornography
- Distribution of Child Pornography
- Exposing a Minor to Pornography
- Florida Child Pornography Laws
- Manufacturing of Child Pornography
- Possession of Child Pornography
- Transmission of Child Pornography
- Federal Sex Crimes
- Forcing Another to Become a Prostitute
- Human Trafficking
- Indecency with a Child
- Indecent Exposure
- Injunctions & Restraining Orders
- Internet & Computer Sex Crimes
- Lewd & Lascivious Crimes
- Lascivious Acts
- Lewd & Lascivious Behavior
- Lewd or Lascivious Battery
- Lewd or Lascivious Conduct
- Lewd or Lascivious Exhibition
- Lewd or Lascivious Molestation
- Pimping and Pandering
- Deriving Support from Prostitution
- Procuring a Minor for Prostitution
- Prostitution of a Child
- Renting Space for Prostitution
- Date Rape
- Romeo & Juliet Law
- Spousal Rape
- Statutory Rape
- Registration as a Sex Offender
- Failure to Register
- Retail Display of Pornography to a Minor
- Sale or Distribution to a Minor
- Sex Trafficking
- Sexual Activity with a 16/17 Year Old
- Sexual Assault
- Dating Violence
- Sexual Battery
- Capital Sexual Battery
- Family or Custodial Authority
- Sexual Battery by More than One Defendant
- Sexual Battery of a Physically Incapacitated Victim
- Sexual Predator Act
- Sexual Tourism
- Internet Sting Operations in Florida
- Solicitation of a Minor
- Traveling to Meet a Minor
- Aggravated Stalking
- Video Voyeurism