Florida Sexual Assault Lawyer

Florida Sexual Assault Lawyer

Florida Sexual Assault Attorney

Sexual assault cases are harshly prosecuted in Florida. Sexual assault is a set of sexual battery and rape crimes relating to unwanted and non-consensual contact. These crimes result in criminal penalties, as well as lifelong personal and reputational consequences. If you or a loved one is facing charges this severe, you need a Florida sexual assault lawyer by your side. You require a strong defense against the legal and social impacts you face.

Sexual assault crimes are charged as felonies. Not only will this result in years of incarceration and thousands of dollars in fines if you are convicted, but it will also result in a criminal record, registration as a sex offender, and the severe social stigma that comes with those charges. It is crucial that you find an experienced and compassionate attorney who will help you understand your situation and what can be done to safeguard your future.

Effective Criminal Defense Against Sexual Assault Charges in Florida

If you have been investigated, arrested, or charged with any offenses related to sexual assault, it is important to secure the support of a defense attorney as soon as possible. Facing these charges is scary, and your legal team should be compassionate and understanding of the situation you are in by providing legal support without judgment.

The team at the Law Offices of Nellie L. King represents our clients with diligent and personalized care. We evaluate your situation and determine the ideal way to protect your rights and your future. Our firm has decades of experience in criminal defense law in both state and federal courts.

We understand how to navigate criminal cases involving sex crimes and the importance of protecting our client’s legal rights and their reputation. We work to find a solution that effectively lowers or limits the penalties and charges you face.

Understanding Sexual Assault Laws in Florida

Under state law, there are several sex crimes that are considered to be sexual assault and other related sex crimes. The charges involved rely on the severity of the crime committed, the age of both parties and other aggravating factors.

Sex crimes related to sexual assault include offenses such as:

  • Rape and attempted rape
  • Statutory rape
  • Sexual battery
  • Sexual harassment
  • Indecent exposure
  • Non-consensual physical contact
  • Uninvited sexual contact
  • Child molestation
  • Sexual misconduct

Some of these crimes are misdemeanors, but many are charged as felonies. Sexual assault tends to refer to the charges of sexual battery, which are all charged as varying degrees of felonies.

What Is the Minimum Sentence for Sexual Assault in Florida?

Sexual assault or battery, when there are no aggravating factors, is charged as a second-degree felony. Statutory rape is also charged as a second-degree felony. If someone is convicted of a second-degree felony, they face up to 15 years in prison and/or up to $10,000 in fines.

The severity of the charges an individual faces relies on factors like injuries to the victim, the defendant’s criminal history, and other factors.

Penalties for Sexual Assault Crimes in Florida

More serious crimes of sexual assault can result in life in prison or even the death penalty. The criminal consequences of sexual assault crimes include:

  • Second-Degree Sexual BatterySexual battery in its least severe form is a second-degree felony. It is charged when one person commits sexual battery against another person without their consent and without physical force or violence. Both parties must be 18 or older, or the offender must be younger than 18, and the victim must be 12 or older. A second-degree felony results in up to 15 years in prison.
  • First-Degree Sexual BatterySexual battery can also be charged in the first degree, which results in up to 30 years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines.First-degree sexual battery may be charged for many situations, including sexual battery when both parties are 18 or older or sexual battery committed by someone older than 18 to someone between the ages of 12 and 17. These factors include coercion through the threat to use force or violence, the use of any intoxicating substance to incapacitate the victim mentally or physically, or the threat of retaliation.First-degree sexual battery may also be charged if someone commits a second-degree sexual battery offense but has been previously convicted of specific sexual criminal offenses.
  • Life Felony Sexual BatteryA life felony results in penalties such as life in prison and $15,000 in fines. Sexual battery may be charged as a life felony if the offender is under 18, the victim is under the age of 12, and the sexual organs of the victim were injured during the crime.A life felony is also charged if sexual battery is committed against an individual 12 years or older through the use or threat of a deadly weapon or the actual use of physical force that would likely result in serious injury.
  • Capital Felony Sexual BatteryIf an individual over the age of 18 commits sexual battery against a victim under the age of 12, resulting in the injury of the victim’s sexual organs, this is charged as a capital crime. This may result in life imprisonment or the death penalty. There are specific steps the prosecutor has to follow to request the death penalty.
  • Statutory RapeMinors under the age of 18 are younger than the age of consent, and anyone 24 years or older who engages in sexual activity with an individual that is 16 or 17 is charged with statutory rape. This is charged as a second-degree felony. The Romeo and Juliet exception in the state limits the consequences for high school-age consensual relationships.If an individual qualifies for this exception, they may be able to avoid the long-term consequences of sex offender registration.

Other Direct Consequences of Criminal Conviction

Fines and prison time are very serious consequences, but they are not the only penalties that face those who are convicted of sexual assault crimes. Other penalties include:

  • Mandatory sex offender registration
  • The cost of court fees and attorney fees
  • Involuntary commitment to a mental treatment facility
  • Probation following a prison sentence
  • Court-order rehabilitation, counseling, or sex offender classes

These long-term consequences of a criminal conviction can affect many aspects of the rest of your life, impacting your financial and personal freedom. The most effective way to avoid or limit criminal consequences is to work with a criminal defense attorney with the conviction and dedication needed to protect your rights.

Sex Offender Registration

For many criminal sex offenses, conviction requires you to register as a sex offender. This may be required for the remainder of your life. Registering as a sex offender is part of the public record, and the list is available to the public to protect people’s safety. This can result in a long-term impact on your social life. Additionally, it means your address, face, and name are public information.

Registration as a sex offender also has practical restrictions. Law enforcement will frequently monitor you. There are limitations on where you can live and restrictions on the types of jobs you can hold. Sex offender registration can also affect your housing and employment outside of these restrictions.

Long-Term Collateral Consequences of Criminal Conviction

A sexual assault conviction can affect your current employment, depending on where you work. It can also impact your immigration status, as non-citizens are likely to be deported after a sex crime conviction.

The biggest long-term consequence of any criminal conviction is your criminal record. A criminal record affects many personal and professional opportunities in your life. This includes:

  • Limitations to educational opportunities, such as applications to higher education
  • Limitations on the types of housing you can apply for
  • Refusal of housing applications
  • Refusal of job applications
  • Limitations on the types of jobs you are allowed to hold
  • Refusal of certain loans
  • Restrictions on travel

These consequences can financially and socially affect the rest of your future. The most effective way to avoid the numerous consequences of a criminal conviction is to work with an attorney who will do what is possible to protect your future. The sooner you begin working with a defense attorney, the sooner they can begin investigating the allegations against you and building your defense.

What Is the Most Effective Defense Against Sexual Assault?

The strongest defense against sexual assault will rely on the type and severity of charges being brought against you. Every unique criminal case requires a unique defense. In sex crime and sexual assault cases, charges are often based on witness testimony, DNA, and other forensic evidence. Some common defenses in these cases may include:

  • Consent: This is a form of affirmative defense where the defendant states the encounter did occur, but it was consensual. Individuals may later regret their actions or have been under the influence and file for sexual battery charges as a result. This defense does not apply when the individual filing the charge is under the age of consent. These cases can be difficult to prove, as they rely on competing testimony.
  • Innocence: This defense claims that the alleged crime did not occur, and recent evidence, such as DNA evidence or an alibi to prove the innocence of the defendant.
  • Mistaken Identity: Another defense at trial that claims innocence is the defense that the victim incorrectly identified the defendant as the offender. Sexual assault cases are more common among those with close relationships, so this defense usually only works in a small number of cases.
  • Constitutional Violations: During the arrest and questioning of the alleged offender, the police officers must follow procedure and respect the individual’s rights. Violations of rights are illegal, such as coercing a confession, unlawful search and seizure, failing to read arrest rights, or entrapment. Evidence, testimony, or even the charges could be dismissed if your rights were violated.

Your defense attorney can help guide you through this process, ensuring your rights are respected and that the case against you is thoroughly investigated.

How Long Does Someone Have to Press Charges for Sexual Assault in Florida?

A statute of limitations is a time limit on a case. For criminal cases, this means that if the prosecution does not file charges before this statute of limitations deadline, the criminal case cannot be filed. This deadline is not the amount of time that a victim has to file charges but the amount of time the state has from the date of the incident to prosecute the defendant.

In Florida, the length of the statute of limitations depends on the crime being charged. More severe crimes have a longer statute of limitations, with some crimes having no statute of limitations. If the crimes are charged as federal offenses, there may be different statutes of limitations. Depending on the crime being charged, the statute of limitations is:

  • For capital felonies and life felonies, there is no statute of limitations.
  • For first-degree felonies, criminal charges must be pressed within four years after the crime was committed.
  • For second- and third-degree felonies, criminal charges have to be pressed within three years of the date the crime was committed.

If the victim of the crime is filing a civil claim, the statute of limitations is different. It’s important to understand how the severity of your charges impacts the statute of limitations and when the state is able to file charges against you.

How Can a Criminal Defense Attorney Help?

Criminal charges can be terrifying. An attorney is likely to have a full understanding of the state and federal criminal laws that apply to your case. Your attorney can help you understand the prosecution’s case against you and ensure you have an informed and straightforward view of your options.

Your attorney can also fully investigate the case against you and find necessary resources, such as expert witnesses and professionals. This may provide clearer forensic evidence or medical evidence. A criminal defense attorney can negotiate with the prosecution outside of court for a beneficial resolution or defend your interests in court when necessary. You have a much better chance at dismissal of the case or a mitigation of the charges with an attorney.

The Law Offices of Nellie L. King: Sexual Assault Defense Law Firm in Florida

Sex crimes are incredibly difficult charges to address, defend, and litigate. Navigating this process alone would likely result in severe and life-long consequences. Do not take these charges lightly. It is crucial to your future that you find the right attorney.

At the Law Offices of Nellie L. King, we want to help you deal with the stressful process of criminal court, determining the right option to defend you against charges and protect your future. Contact our team today.

Contact the Law Offices of Nellie L. King, P.A. at (561) 833-1084 or by filling out a form online to schedule your free initial consultation today.

Get to Know Nellie L. King

Our Reviews

Contact Us Today

Request Your Free Consultation

Fields marked with an * are required
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.