In the State of Florida, the term “sexual battery” is the legal term that is used to describe sexual assault crimes. Florida Statute 794.011 defines the crime of sexual battery and imposes appropriate penalties for conviction, depending upon the specific nature of the offense.
Sexual battery, or sexual assault, occurs in Florida when there is nonconsensual oral, anal or vaginal penetration by a sexual organ or by another object. Sexual assault also occurs when there is a union with the seuxal organs of a victim without consent — in other words, rape.
Sexual battery can occur when someone cannot give consent, such as when a person is under the age of 18. Sexual battery can also occur when someone chooses not to give consent, such as when a forcible rape occurs. Unfortunately, sexual assault or sexual battery is very common. According to the Florida Sexual Violence Benchbook, one in nine adult women in Florida has been victimized by a forcible rape at some time over the course of her life.
Penalties for sexual assault are serious. It is a capital felony in Florida for someone 18 or older to commit, or attempt to commit, sexual battery upon someone who is 12 or under if the victim’s sexual organs are harmed. Penalties could include life imprisonment or death.
If a person over 18 uses a deadly weapon or physical force likely to cause serious injury while committing non-consensual sexual battery, the offense is considered a life felony. A life felony requires a minimum of 30 years imprisonment and there is potential for life imprisonment.
A conviction for sexual assault or sexual battery also requires registration as a sex offender upon release from incarceration.