What is the punishment for sexual assault in Florida?

On Behalf of | Jul 2, 2024 | Other Sexual Abuse

Sexual assault is often an umbrella term that covers both aspects of rape (penetration) and sexual battery (contact). Regardless of the varying terminology and definitions, it is a serious crime that involves any non-consensual sexual act or behavior. The illegal behavior includes unwanted touching, groping and other non-consensual actions. It can also involve unwanted sexual acts done without their consent, ranging from physical acts to verbal ones. Consent is often a vital issue in these cases, particularly if the parties know each other.

Punishments based on different factors

In Florida, the severity of the crime and its punishment can vary based on several factors. Examples include:

  • If the victim is under the age of twelve and the defendant is over the age of eighteen, the crime is considered a capital felony, punishable by the death penalty or life imprisonment without parole.
  • If the defendant was under eighteen at the time of the crime, it’s considered a life felony, punishable by imprisonment for at least 30 years or life imprisonment.
  • The minimum charge for sexual battery committed on a victim over the age of twelve is a second-degree felony, punishable by imprisonment up to 15 years.
  • If certain circumstances can be established by the prosecutor, such as the defendant’s threats or coercive acts, the victim’s physical incapacity, or the victim’s physical inability to resist the sexual battery, the charge can be increased to a first-degree felony, which can result in a sentence for a term of imprisonment lasting up to 30 years.
  • If the defendant used a deadly weapon or physical force likely to cause serious bodily injury to a victim over the age of twelve during a sexual battery, the offense becomes punishable as a life felony.

The circumstances of each case are different, so charges and penalties will vary.

Hold them accountable

The consequences of sexual assault can be traumatic and life-altering. Victims can hold these predators accountable with such punishments as long-term imprisonment, mandatory registration as a sex offender and other non-legal issues like reputational harm, future employment and housing challenges. Given the gravity of these charges, anyone who accuses someone of sexual assault needs a legal advocate with experience handling these types of cases. A skilled attorney can provide legal guidance and representation to navigate the legal system and protect the victim’s rights.