Sexual Assault vs Sexual Battery

Sexual Assault vs. Sexual Battery

While both sexual assault and sexual battery are similar under Florida law, the terms are used to refer to different kinds of unlawful sex acts. In this blog post, we’ll deep dive into the differences between sexual assault vs. sexual battery in the Florida justice system as well as the difference between sexual battery and other similar sexual crimes. 

If you have been charged with sexual battery or any other form of unwanted sexual contact in Florida, contact Tampa sex crime defense attorney Andrew Buda today. At Buda Law, we have experience defending individuals accused of a number of different sex crimes and will work tirelessly to protect your rights and pursue the best possible outcome for your case. 

Call our law firm at (813) 322-2832 or complete our online intake form to schedule a free initial consultation with a member of our team today.

Florida Statutes § 794.011

Florida Statute § 794.011 defines the crime of “sexual battery” as well as other non-consensual sex crimes in Florida. According to the statute, sexual battery is defined as any act involving non-consensual sexual penetration or union with another person’s sexual organ. This can include oral, anal, or female genital penetration. It specifies that acts done for a bona fide medical reason are not included in this definition. 

The statute also outlines the situations in which sexual battery can be charged as a first-degree felony, a life felony, or a capital felony, which could result in the death penalty. Factors that can affect the severity of the charge include things like the victim’s age, whether or not the victim was incapacitated, and whether or not the alleged offender was in a position of power over the victim at the time of the incident. 

What's the Difference Between Sexual Assault and Sexual Battery

What is Sexual Assault?

In Florida, sexual assault is often used to describe any unwanted sexual contact or sexual activity, ranging from unwanted touching all the way to rape. There is no actual definition of “sexual assault” under Florida law, but it is colloquially used as an umbrella term to cover a variety of sex-related crimes.

What is Sexual Battery?

In general, sexual battery is often described as forcible, non-consensual sexual contact in which the perpetrator threatens the victim with bodily harm. However, in Florida specifically, sexual battery refers to any act of forceful sexual penetration, regardless of the presence of violence or the threat of violence. It also includes acts of other sexual physical contact committed without the person’s consent, as well as sex acts committed against minors under the age of consent (which is 18 in Florida). 

Sexual Battery vs. Rape

Under Florida law, sexual battery refers to acts that would be considered rape in many other states. Both terms refer to non-consensual sexual intercourse, involving the oral, anal, or vaginal penetration of, or union with, the offender’s sexual organ, as well as the anal or vaginal penetration of another object. 

While Florida’s sexual battery statute includes sex crimes involving certain minors, acts of statutory rape are defined under another statute, Florida Statute § 794.05. Statutory rape includes acts of sexual activity between individuals aged 24 or older and individuals aged 16-17. 

Sexual Battery vs. Sexual Abuse

Like sexual assault, sexual abuse is a general term used to refer to a variety of non-consensual sexual acts, usually done for sexual gratification. Sexual battery refers to the specific non-consensual penetration of a sexual organ with another’s sexual organ or a foreign object, or the union of a victim’s intimate parts with the offender’s sexual organ.

Sexual Battery vs. Aggravated Sexual Battery

In Florida, there are certain aggravating factors that could cause an individual to face more serious punishments. This includes (but is not limited to) situations in which:

  • The offender was (or led the victim to believe they were) in a position of power;
  • The offender incapacitated the victim using a narcotic or other substance;
  • The victim was mentally impaired;
  • The offender threatened to harm the victim or another person, and the victim has reason to believe that the offender would act on that threat;
  • The offender was over the age of 18 and the victim was under the age of 18;
  • The offender uses a deadly weapon; and
  • The offender injured the sexual organ of a victim under the age of 12.

Acts that would normally constitute aggravated sexual assault in other states would likely fall under aggravated sexual battery laws in Florida.

Sexual Assault vs. Sexual Battery in Florida

Sexual Battery Examples

There are a wide variety of sex acts that could result in sexual battery charges. Examples of actions that could constitute sexual battery under Florida law include:

  • Forcible vaginal, anal, or oral penetration without the victim’s consent;
  • Inserting fingers or objects into the vagina, anus, or mouth of another person without their consent;
  • Engaging in sexual activity with a person who is physically helpless, such as someone who is unconscious or asleep;
  • Coercing someone into sexual activity through threats or intimidation, even if no physical force is used;
  • Engaging in sexual activity with a person who is mentally incapacitated due to intoxication or other factors and unable to give consent;
  • Having sexual contact with a minor under the age of consent, even if they appear to consent; and
  • Taking advantage of a position of authority to engage in sexual activity with someone who cannot freely consent due to the power dynamic.
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What are the Penalties for Sexual Assault and Battery in Florida?

Sex crimes like sexual battery and sexual assault are some of the most serious crimes a person can commit in Florida. Depending on the specific facts of the case, a person convicted of sexual battery could face jail time, fines, registration as a sex offender, life in prison, or even the death penalty. 

Below are the general penalties for sexual battery in Florida, depending on the degree to which the offense is charged:

  • Capital Felony – Punishable by life in prison without parole or the death penalty.
  • Life Felony – Punishable by life in prison and up to $15,000 in fines.
  • First-Degree Felony – Punishable by 30 years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines.
  • Second-Degree Felony – Punishable by 15 years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines.
  • Third-Degree Felony – Punishable by 5 years in prison and up to $5,000 in fines.

These crimes can also result in mandatory sex offender registration, as well as the additional consequences that felonies carry, like losing the right to vote. Additionally, aggravating factors surrounding a specific crime can result in lengthier maximum prison sentences for sexual battery in Florida. A criminal defense attorney can help ensure that you are fully aware of the charges against you and the potential consequences you may face if convicted. 

Defenses to Sex Crimes in Florida

In Florida, defendants accused of sex crimes may employ various legal defenses to challenge the charges against them. Some common defenses to sex crimes in Florida include:

  • The act was consensual (when the alleged victim was over the age of 18 at the time of the crime);
  • The prosecution has a lack of convincing evidence;
  • The defendant has been wrongfully accused;
  • The defendant has an alibi for the time of the crime;
  • The defendant’s rights were violated by law enforcement; or
  • The statute of limitations has expired.

If you have been charged with a sexual offense like sexual battery, contact Tampa criminal defense attorney Andrew Buda today to discuss your legal options regarding your case. Your life, future, and freedom are all at stake, so don’t leave your fate up to chance. Attorney Buda will develop a solid defense strategy on your behalf, ensuring you receive the best possible outcome in your case.

Tampa Sexual Assault Defense Lawyer

Charged With a Sex Crime in Tampa? Call the Experienced Criminal Lawyers at Buda Law ASAP

If you’ve been charged with a sex crime in Tampa, you need a criminal defense attorney who understands the Florida criminal justice system and will vigorously defend your rights throughout your case. At Buda Law, experienced criminal defense lawyer Andrew Buda has a successful track record representing clients facing a variety of sex crime charges throughout the Tampa Bay area. 

We understand the serious implications that sex crime charges can have on your life, including potential imprisonment, fines, and mandatory sex offender registration. That’s why we’re committed to providing you with the aggressive representation you need to navigate the legal process and achieve the best possible outcome for your case.

Call Tampa sexual battery defense attorney Attorney Buda at (813) 322-2832 or contact us via our online contact form to schedule a free consultation regarding your case.