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Understanding the Legal Nuances of Sexual Battery Charges in Florida

Understanding the Legal Nuances of Sexual Battery Charges in Florida

Florida uses the legal term “sexual battery” for rape or sexual assault.  Florida Statute § 794.011 describes “sexual battery” as any type of non-consensual sexual penetration with either a sexual organ or other object (except for medical procedures.) The common theme is the lack of consent and the inclusion of incapacitation or physical force used against the victim. 

Aggravating Circumstances

Certain situations called “aggravating circumstances” can increase the penalties for sexual battery, such as: 

  • Threats of harm to the victim’s family or other loved ones, and can include future retaliation/harm, and involve deadly weapons such as a firearm, knife, or other implement
  • The perpetrator was in a position of authority, or the victim believed them to be, such as a teacher, parent, police officer, guardian, etc. 
  • Force or violence that resulted (or could have resulted) in grievous bodily harm or an injury that led to disfigurement or other disabling physical injury
  • The victim was physically or mentally incapacitated, i.e., had a mental condition, was asleep, intoxicated or drugged
  • Sexual battery on a child under the age of 12 or between 12 and 18

Someone convicted of sexual battery must register as a sex offender. A registered sex offender may have considerable obstacles with obtaining employment, housing, and education.  

Penalties and Sentencing

Sexual battery is a felony. Florida prosecutes these charges aggressively with harsh penalties for convictions. 

  • Second-degree sexual battery carries a maximum prison term of 15 years and a fine of up to $10,000
  • First-degree sexual battery with aggravating factors carries a maximum prison term of 30 years and a fine of up to $10,000
  • Life felony with a victim of 12 to 18 years of age has a maximum prison term of life, and a fine of $15,000
  • A capital felony with a victim under 12 and a perpetrator over 18 has a lifetime prison term with no chance of early release. 


A person accused of sexual battery does have defenses: 

  • Consent, if given knowingly, intelligently, and voluntarily by the alleged victim. If the victim was coerced, too intoxicated or unknowingly under the influence of a substance, they could not have given consent voluntarily. 
  • False allegations given by a victim for their own reasons. Because this is an increasingly common scenario, it’s critical that the victim’s motives are scrupulously examined in detail so that their reasons can be shown to a jury. 
  • Mistaken identity if the victim misidentifies the attacker. 

If you are accused of sexual battery in Florida, immediately speak with an attorney before saying anything to the police. You have the right to request an attorney and the right to remain silent, so exercise both if arrested. 

Another important point: do not speak with the victim, and cease all contact, as it can strengthen the case against you. Speak with one of our criminal defense attorneys about your case. 


If you’ve been arrested for sexual battery, it’s your responsibility to protect and defend yourself. The police are unconcerned with justice, only making arrests, and solving cases. We believe that you should consult with a criminal defense attorney anytime the police want to speak with you. Invoke your right to silence until you speak with us.

If you or a loved one has been arrested or accused of a crime, contact the criminal defense team of Farkas & Crowley as soon as possible. We are available 24/7, whenever you need us. Call (561)-444-9529 or contact us online to schedule your consultation.

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Farkas & Crowley, PA

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