TAMPA SEXUAL BATTERY DEFENSE ATTORNEY
Work with an Experienced Former Prosecutor
Sexual battery is a serious criminal charge and can result in 15 years to life in prison and thousands of dollars in fines. In addition to a hefty prison sentence and fines, if convicted, you’ll be forced to register as a sex offender for life.
Often, those accused of sex crimes can have trouble finding strong legal representation due to the stigma surrounding the criminal charges. Tampa criminal defense attorney Andrew Buda of Buda Law has years of experience handling sex crime cases as both a prosecution attorney and now as a defense attorney. Attorney Andrew Buda understands the severe penalties that follow a sexual battery conviction and will do everything possible to get your charges reduced, dropped, or dismissed.
What is Considered Sexual Battery in Florida?
Sexual battery is also referred to as rape in Florida. This sex crime involves nonconsensual sexual contact through the use or threat of force.
Sexual battery and sexual assault are often used interchangeably, but they’re considered two different acts in Florida. When there is no threat or use of violence, this nonconsensual sexual act is referred to as sexual assault. However, if the accused uses or threatens violence, the sex crime becomes sexual battery.
Aggravated Sexual Battery
When an offender uses their sexual organ or an object under aggravating circumstances, the crime is upgraded to aggravated sexual battery. The following factors can lead to the sexual battery being changed to aggravated sexual battery:
- The individual was or led the victim to believe they were in a position of authority, like a police officer, teacher, parent, guardian, etc.
- The individual made threats of physical harm to the victim and their family members.
- Using force resulted in great bodily harm or physical injury, leading to disfigurement or permanent disability.
- The sexual battery was committed against a child under 12 years of age or a child between 12 to 18.
- The victim was mentally or physically incapacitated. They may have been asleep, drugged, or otherwise incapacitated or had a mental defect or disease.
Florida Statutes Section 794.011
Sexual battery law is outlined under Florida Statute Section 794.011. It defines sexual battery as any nonconsensual sexual conduct involving any anal, vaginal, or oral penetration with another person’s sexual organ. The law also considers sexual battery as anal or vaginal penetration with an object. Other sexual battery offenses like statutory rape and date rape are also listed under this Florida statute.
Penalties for Sexual Battery Charges in Florida
Anyone arrested for sexual battery will be charged with a felony offense in Tampa. However, the specific penalties you may be charged with will vary based on extenuating circumstances like prior criminal charges, the ages of both the alleged victim and perpetrator, and if there were aggravating factors.
The penalties for different sexual battery crimes are as follows:
- Sexual battery: Considered a second-degree felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison and a maximum fine of $10,000.
- Sexual battery with aggravating factors: A first-degree felony with a maximum prison sentence of 30 years and up to $10,000 in fines.
- Sexual battery where the victim is 12 to 18 years old: Considered a life felony with life imprisonment and $15,000 in fines.
- Sexual battery where the offender is 18 years or older and the victim is under 12: A capital felony that results in life in prison with no possibility of an early release.
Additional Restrictions You May Face
In addition to serving time in prison and paying fines, individuals charged with sexual battery will be left with a lifetime of consequences following their conviction. Florida law requires all individuals convicted of sexual battery to register as sex offenders for the rest of their life. Once you’ve been on the sex offender registry for 25 years, you may petition the court to be removed.
Unfortunately, if you’re conviction also resulted in being listed as a sexual predator, you will not be able to petition for removal.
A convicted sex offender will also struggle with finding employment and housing. In some cases, the judge may restrict the areas where a sex offender can live and work, being forced to avoid certain areas like schools and daycares.
Not only can you be charged with substantial prison sentences and fines, but you can also face restrictions that will follow you for the remainder of your life. That’s why, following your arrest for any sex offenses, it’s crucial to contact an experienced Tampa criminal defense attorney right away.
How a Criminal Defense Attorney Can Help
Sex crimes are harshly punished in Florida and require a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney to fight against the charges. If you’re convicted of any sex crime in Florida, you’ll be forced to register as a sex offender, affecting your life and the options available to you forever. This criminal offense is not one to take lightly, given the harsh penalties that can follow from a conviction.
Tampa sex crime attorney Andrew Buda worked as a prosecuting attorney for the Hillsborough and Pinellas County courts, so he understands how harshly they go after those accused of these sex crimes. You can depend on our legal team to build a strong sex crimes defense that will result in your charges being lowered, dropped, or dismissed.
To fight against your sex crime charges, attorney Andrew Buda may use any of the following defenses:
- Mistaken identity: The alleged victim may have wrongly identified the perpetrator.
- Consent: The sexual activity was done so with consent, and the alleged victim was old enough and had the mental and physical capacity to provide consent.
- Insanity: Depending on the circumstances of the crime, the defense attorney may be able to prove that the alleged victim was temporarily or permanently insane at the time of the offense based on a mental evaluation.
- Violation of rights: At some point during the arrest, a law enforcement officer violated the accused’s rights which can result in evidence being suppressed.
- False accusations: The sex crime allegations were false and may have been done to get revenge on the accused, or the alleged victim was too embarrassed to admit consent.
Sexual battery is a serious criminal offense and needs to be handled with the utmost urgency. Don’t take your chances with an unseasoned criminal defense attorney or representing yourself against these charges. Attorney Andrew Buda has years of experience as both a prosecutor and criminal defense attorney and knows what it takes to fight against sexual battery and other sexual offenses.
Other Sex Crime Charges We Handle at Buda Law
Crimes that involve any offenses of sexual nature are harshly punished in Florida and require an aggressive defense against those charges. At Buda Law, our criminal defense attorney Andrew Buda handles a number of other sexual offenses in addition to sexual battery, including:
Any type of sexual offense can have severe repercussions and can follow an offender for the rest of their life. Even if the offense is considered a misdemeanor, it still warrants an aggressive defense against the charges. If you’ve been charged with any of the above sex crimes, contact Andrew Buda at Buda Law today.
What to Do When You’ve Been Accused of a Sex Crime
When you’ve been arrested for any type of sex crime, the moments following your arrest and leading up to your trial are crucial. We’ve listed essential steps below that you should follow once you’ve been arrested. Following these steps can increase your chances of having a successful case against sexual battery charges.
- Do NOT talk to the police without your attorney: You have the right to remain silent and to an attorney. If you provide police with a statement without your attorney present, it can be harmful to your case.
- Do NOT talk to the victim: Ceasing communication with the victim is extremely important for your criminal case. Any type of communication can give the prosecution more evidence to use against you.
- Collect evidence: Your defense attorney will gather evidence that can help your case, like emails, photos, and more.
- Potential witnesses: Create a list of potential witnesses that may be able to aid in your defense by providing beneficial information for your case.
- Make a timeline: Make notes on anything you believe would be relevant for your case while it’s still fresh on your mind. When making these notes, include potential witnesses, locations, and any other information that you think would be useful.
Call Tampa Sex Crimes Attorney Andrew Buda at Buda Law Today
Unfortunately, sex crimes are often falsely reported and can cause irreparable damage to one’s livelihood. When facing sex crime charges with such harsh penalties, you need an experienced criminal defense attorney representing you. Attorney Andrew Buda understands the severity of sex crime charges and will fight relentlessly to prove your innocence.
As a former prosecuting attorney, Andrew Buda knows how the other side will build their case against you. Using this knowledge, your attorney will create an aggressive defense strategy against the charges and protect your rights. If you’ve been charged with sexual battery, distributing child pornography, statutory rape, or other sexual offenses, contact Buda Law.