According to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, 8,439 incidents of rape in Florida were reported to law enforcement officials in 2019. This went virtually unchanged from 2018 when the total was 8,442.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that one in nine women in Florida will face rape at least once in their lifetime. The CDC also lists sexual violence as the second-costliest crime in the U.S. at $122,451 per incident, trailing only murder.
Rape is not the only form of sexual violence punishable in Florida. Lewd and lascivious behavior, prostitution, underage sex, and sexual misconduct are also serious offenses under Florida statutes.
If you’re a suspect or have been charged with a sex-related crime in or around the Pensacola area, including Crestview, Fort Walton Beach, and Milton, contact David E. Sellers, PA. Attorney David E. Sellers is dedicated to protecting your rights under the law and helping you achieve the most favorable outcome available in your particular case.
Sex crimes in Florida are taken seriously and can result in severe penalties. Some of the major sex-related offenses include:
Under Florida law, rape falls under Florida Statute 794.1111 — sexual battery — and is defined as the penetration of the vagina or anus, however slightly, by any body part or external object, or oral penetration of the mouth by a sex organ, without the consent of the victim.
Aggravating circumstances include:
The victim is physically helpless to resist
Using a threat of force that is likely to result in serious personal injury
Using a threat of retaliation against the victim or any other person
The victim is drugged unknowingly and without consent
The victim is taken advantage of because of a known mental defect or physical incapacity
The offender is a law enforcement or correctional officer
A Florida-specific offense, fondling involves the touching of the private parts of another person, either forcibly against the person’s will or simply against the person’s will, for the purpose of sexual gratification. It can also be charged when the victim is incapable of giving consent because of age or mental incapacity, either temporary or permanent.
Florida lists several offenses under this category, including:
Exposure of a sexual organ in a vulgar or indecent manner
Exhibition in the presence of a child
Committing an unnatural or lascivious act
Encouraging, forcing, or enticing
Florida law defines prostitution as the "giving or receiving of the body for sexual activity for hire." It criminalizes not only the act of prostitution but also the solicitation for prostitution, as well as pandering, commonly referred to as “pimping.”
The age of consent in Florida is 18. Having sex with anyone under that age can be charged as statutory rape, or what is called lewd and lascivious battery. Adults who commit sexual battery on a child younger than 12 years of age can receive a life sentence. There is no defense for ignorance of the victim’s age, nor if the victim misrepresents their age. However, close-in-age exemptions exist, allowing minors aged 16 or 17 to engage in sexual intercourse with a partner no older than the age of 23.
This refers to someone in a position of trust taking sexual advantage of another who is vulnerable, such as a doctor and patient, or therapist and client.
As defined under Florida law, consent must be “intelligent, knowing, and voluntary.” The consenter, in other words, must be of sound mind, know exactly what is about to happen, and agree to the encounter voluntarily without coercion or threat.
The penalties for sex-related crimes in Florida are largely contingent upon the age and physical or mental status of the victim and whether force was applied.
Sexual battery, depending on whether it is considered aggravated, can result in a felony conviction in the second or first degree, life felony, or capital felony. The minimum sentence is 94.5 months in prison, up to 30 years in prison, 30 years of sex offender probation, and $10,000 in fines. If a deadly weapon is used, the minimum rises to 126 months in prison with a maximum of life behind bars.
Lewd and lascivious battery — or sexual activity with a minor between the ages of 13 and 15 — can result in a sentence of seven to 15 years in prison. Aggravated sexual battery against a person between the ages of 12 and 18 carries a minimum sentence of 108 months in prison, with a maximum of life. If the victim is under the age of 12, it’s life without the possibility of parole. Lewd and lascivious behavior by itself is an offense punishable by five to 15 years in prison. A first offense of solicitation of prostitution is considered a misdemeanor.
As you can see, sex-related crimes in Florida can result in serious penalties. If you’ve been charged with one of these offenses, you don’t want to rely on a public defender. As sincere and dedicated as they may personally be, public defenders are often overworked, and your case could easily end up on the proverbial back burner.
Attorney David Lee Sellers will not only thoroughly investigate the charges against you but also utilize a team of investigators and medical experts to help in every step of the discovery process. As a former Assistant State Attorney, he knows how the prosecution operates and can develop an effective defense strategy to help counter their argument.
When you’re charged with a serious crime, your freedom and future are at risk. If you’re facing a sex crime charge in Pensacola, Florida, including the nearby areas of Crestview, Fort Walton Beach, and Milton, contact the office of David Lee Sellers, PA, immediately, to fully exercise your rights under the law and work together for the best possible outcome.