Sexual Battery

Experienced Tampa Attorney for Sex Crime Charges

In Florida, the crime known as “rape” in many other states is called “sexual battery.” A conviction of the criminal offense of sexual battery may lead to harsh punishments under Florida law. If you are currently facing a sexual battery charge or believe that you are being investigated for this type of crime, you need knowledgeable legal counsel. Tampa sex crime lawyer Will Hanlon represents people accused of sexual battery and other crimes in the Tampa Bay area. With 20 years of experience in the Florida courts, he knows how important it is to move quickly to protect a client’s legal rights.

The State has the burden of proof in a sexual battery case, just as in any criminal prosecution. This means that the prosecuting attorney has the obligation to prove each element of the offense with which the defendant is charged. This usually involves introducing a combination of different types of evidence, including both physical evidence and the testimony of witnesses. The defense also will present evidence that tends to show that the crime did not happen or that someone other than the defendant committed the crime. The burden of proof in a criminal case is much higher than in a civil case. Since the defendant’s liberty is at stake, the State must be able to convince the jury of the defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

Ways to Fight a Sexual Battery Charge

Each crime has certain “elements” or parts that the prosecution must prove in order to secure a conviction. For sexual battery, these elements include penetration (or union) between certain body parts of the defendant and the alleged victim, as well as a lack of consent or a lack of capacity to provide consent. “Penetration or union” may be oral, anal, or vaginal and may involve either the defendant’s sexual organ or another object. Depending upon the age of the victim, consent may be a possible defense. However, in order to be effective, “consent” must be intelligent, knowing, and voluntary. If the victim consented due to coercion, this does not equate to legal consent. Consent is not deemed to have occurred based solely on the alleged victim’s failure to physically resist the alleged offender.

Another defense may involve an alibi. If the defendant can show that they likely were in another location when the alleged rape occurred, the prosecution will not be able to obtain a conviction. These cases often hinge on the credibility of the witnesses who testify for each side.

The potential punishment for an act of sexual battery is dependent upon several factors, two of the most important of which are the victim’s age and the perpetrator’s age. The most serious offense is a sexual battery committed on a victim under the age of 12 by a person over the age of 18. This is a capital felony, which is punishable by either the death penalty or life in prison without the possibility of parole. At a minimum, a person convicted of sexual battery faces a second-degree felony charge, punishable by up to 15 years in prison. Fines and other penalties may also apply. The severity of the consequences make it critical to enlist legal counsel without delay.

Talk to a Knowledgeable Sex Crime Attorney in Tampa

If you are facing a possible sexual battery charge, you need to know your legal rights. It is quite possible that your constitutional rights may have been violated during the investigation or arrest phase of the case, or that there are holes in the prosecution’s evidence with regard to one or more elements of the offense. Tampa attorney Will Hanlon is not afraid to hold police or prosecutors accountable for overstepping the bounds of the law. He can work with you to investigate every possible defense in your sexual battery case, taking the matter to a jury trial if appropriate. To schedule a case evaluation, call us at 813-228-7095 or contact us online. Our firm also handles other sex crime cases, assisting people who need a statutory rape lawyer or counsel in cases involving lewd and lascivious conduct, prostitution, or other charges.