Matt Shafran is a diligent criminal defense lawyer who will provide you with top-tier representation. If you've been arrested for a sex crime in Orange, Broward, or Palm Beach counties, contact him before it's too late.
Areas In Florida We Represent
If you are facing charges for sex crimes, contact our experienced criminal defense attorney in Florida.
Contact the Weinstein Legal Team at 866-679-1603 for a free legal consultation regarding your case.
Florida State Statute 794.011
Among other things, FSS 794.011 defines the term “sexual battery” in Florida. For all intents and purposes, sexual battery is what is typically referred to as “rape.” For a successful prosecution, the state must show that the suspect:
- Orally, anally, or vaginally penetrated the victim
- Either with their sexual organ or another object
- Either against the victim's will or with a victim who cannot legally provide consent (i.e., a minor or adult with diminished mental capacity.)
Penalties for Florida Sex Crimes
FSS 784.011 also defines the offender and victim ages for the various categories of statutory rape. Here is a summary:
- If the offender is over the age of 18 and the victim is under 12 years of age, the sexual battery is a capital felony. This also applies if the offender injures the sexual organs of the victim while attempting to commit sexual battery.
- If the offender is under the age of 18 and the victim is under 12 years of age, the sexual battery is a life felony. This also applies if the offender injures the sexual organs of the victim while attempting to commit sexual battery.
- If the victim is 12 or older and the offender uses a deadly weapon or force likely to cause serious injury, the sexual battery is a life felony.
- If the offender is any age and the victim is 12 years of age or older, but under the age of 18, the sexual battery is a first-degree felony, punishable by a prison term not to exceed life.
- If the offender and victim are both over the age of 18, the sexual battery is a first-degree felony.
- If the offender is under the age of 18 and the victim is 12 years of age or older, the sexual battery is a first-degree felony.
How Consent Is Defined Under Florida Law
Florida Statute 794.011(1)(a) defines consent as “intelligent, knowing, and voluntary consent and does not include coerced submission.” The statute also addresses some of the circumstances around which sexual battery can be charged.
- The victim is physically helpless to resist. In other words, they are incapacitated or sleeping.
- The offender coerces the victim by threatening force that they have the apparent ability to execute.
- The offender threatens retaliation against the victim or another person.
- The offender drugs the victim without their knowledge.
- The victim is mentally incapable of providing consent.
- The victim is physically incapacitated.
Sex Crime Charges in Florida
The umbrella term “sex crimes” is not limited to the charges outlined under the sexual battery statute. Here are some other sex crimes charged in the state of Florida:
- Carnal intercourse with a minor – This involves consensual sex between a victim 16 or 17 years of age with an adult. If the adult is 18 to 23, they're charged with a misdemeanor. If the defendant is 24 or older, it's a felony.
- Prostitution – Usually charged as a misdemeanor in Florida under FSS 796.07.
- Lewd and Lascivious Conduct – Also referred to as molestation of a minor.
- Possession of Child Pornography – Charged as a felony in Florida under FSS 775.0847.
- Exposure of Sexual Organs – Under FSS 800.03, indecent exposure is charged as a misdemeanor for a first offense and a third-degree felony if there is a subsequent conviction.
What You Should Do if You're Charged With a Sex Crime
Cases can be won and lost within the first few hours of your arrest. While the following information should not be construed as legal advice, it is consistent with what criminal defense attorneys in Florida tell their clients.
- Do not give consent to search your property (i.e., house, car, cellphone, etc.). The police can get a warrant if they have sufficient probable cause, but they may not.
- Do not agree to answer questions without your attorney present. Advise the officers that you are invoking your Fifth Amendment right to remain silent until you speak to a lawyer.
- Do not physically resist or lie. You can end up with additional charges.
- Contact a criminal defense lawyer immediately.
How a Florida Sex Crimes Attorney Can Help You
A sex crimes attorney can help mitigate the damage by speaking directly to the police or the assigned state attorney. In addition, they can prevent you from making mistakes that could make your case more difficult to defend. Finally, if the case against you is compelling, your attorney can negotiate with the prosecutor for a less severe penalty.
Frequently Asked Questions About Sex Crimes
The following are some of the most frequently asked questions attorney Matt Shaffran receives from clients regarding sex crimes.
Is There a Way to Keep My Case From the Media?
Unfortunately, criminal cases are part of the public record. They may not discover your case, however. The police will not usually contact the press about a criminal investigation unless they are seeking assistance from the public or believe that an announcement is in the public interest.
What If I Thought My Accuser Was an Adult?
Unfortunately, Florida law places the burden of age identification on the adult when it comes to statutory rape charges. However, if your accuser lied about their age, it is a mitigating circumstance.