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Sexual Battery

Sexual Battery crimes are charged under § 794.011, F.S. The term "sexual battery" is generally defined to include oral, anal, or vaginal penetration by, or union with, the sexual organ of another or the anal or vaginal penetration of another by any other object without consent.

Sexual battery is considered to be the main statute for sexual violence. The statute is broad enough to cover the crimes of rape, attempted rape, and other forms of non-consensual sexual contact. In other states, the same crimes are often called "sexual assaults."

In Florida, the courts have found that sexual battery is classified as a general intent crime. These crimes generally require proof beyond a reasonable doubt that the victim did not consent to the contact and that penetration occurred.

Attorney for Sexual Battery Crimes in Pasco County, FL

If you were charged with any type of sexually motivated crime in Pasco County, FL, including sexual battery in Pasco County, FL, then your case will be prosecuted at the courthouse in New Port Richey or Dade City, FL, depending on where the crime allegedly occurred.

Call an attorney at the Sammis Law Firm to discuss the facts of your case. We fight a variety of sexually motivated crimes including sexual battery and lewd and lascivious conduct.

We understand the best defenses that can be used to fight false accusations.

Call 813-250-0500 today.


Definitions within Florida's Sexual Battery Statute

The definition of consent is “intelligent, knowing, and voluntary consent.” Under § 794.011(1)(a), consent does not include coerced submission, although it is not deemed or construed to mean the failure by the alleged victim to offer physical resistance to the offender.

Crimes of sexual battery require proof that “penetration” occurred. The Florida Legislature in § 794.005 explained that it was never intended that the sexual battery offense described in § 794.011(5) require any force or violence beyond the force and violence that is inherent in the accomplishment of "penetration" or "union."

Likewise, the courts have held that “[t]he state need not prove that the defendant used more physical force than merely the physical force necessary to accomplish sexual penetration in order to convict a defendant under section 749.011(5).” State v. Sedia, 614 So. 2d 533 (Fla. 4th DCA 1993).

Of course, sexual battery does not include an act done for a bona fide medical purpose as explained in § 794.011(1)(h).

Consent means intelligent, knowing, and voluntary consent and does not include coerced submission. Florida law says that consent does not mean the failure by the alleged victim to offer physical resistance to the offender.

Some sexual battery crimes used the term “physically helpless” which has been defined to include being unconscious, asleep, or for any other reason physically unable to communicate unwillingness to an act.

If the victim is under 16 years of age, consent cannot be used as a defense to a sexual crime. Additionally, a child who is 16 or 17 years old is not able to legally consent to sexual activity with a person in a position of familial or custodial authority or to a person 24 or older.


Status Categories in Sexual Battery Crimes

Some sexual battery crimes are defined by the familial or custodial authority relationship between the accused and the victim. In these cases, the state must provide the status element beyond a reasonable doubt.

The Florida Supreme Court has held that “[t]he relationship must be one in which there is a recognizable bond of trust with the defendant, similar to the bond that develops between a child and her grandfather, uncle, or guardian.” State v. Rawls, 649 So. 2d 1350 (Fla. 1994)(superseded on other grounds).


Types of Sexual Battery Offenses under Florida Law

Below is a list of the offenses that fall under the general term “sexual battery.”

Section 794.011(2)

a. A person 18 years of age or older who commits sexual battery upon, or in an attempt to commit sexual battery injures the sexual organs of, a person less than 12 years of age commits a capital felony.

b. A person less than 18 years of age who commits sexual battery upon, or in an attempt to commit sexual battery injures the sexual organs of, a person less than 12 years of age commits a life felony.

Because these sexual battery offenses are classified as either a capital felony or a life felony, neither of them have any statute of limitations and the prosecution can be commenced at any time.

Section 794.011(3)

A person who commits sexual battery upon a person 12 years of age or older, without that person’s consent, and in the process thereof uses or threatens to use a deadly weapon or uses actual physical force likely to cause serious personal injury commits a life felony.

Because these sexual battery offenses are classified as a life felony, no statute of limitations applies and the prosecution can be commenced at any time.


Section 794.011(4)

a. A person 18 years of age or older who commits sexual battery upon a person 12 years of age or older but younger than 18 years of age without that person’s consent, under any of the circumstances listed in paragraph (e), commits a felony of the first degree. A person 18 years of age or older who commits sexual battery upon a person 18 years of age or older without that person’s consent, under any of the circumstances listed in paragraph (e), commits a felony of the first degree.

b. A person 18 years of age or older who commits sexual battery upon a person 18 years of age or older without that person’s consent, under any of the circumstances listed in paragraph (e), commits a felony of the first degree.

c. A person younger than 18 years of age who commits sexual battery upon a person 12 years of age or older without that person’s consent, under any of the circumstances listed in paragraph (e), commits a felony of the first degree.

d. A person commits a felony of the first degree, punishable by a term of years not exceeding life or as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, s. 775.084, or s. 794.0115 if the person commits sexual battery upon a person 12 years of age or older without that person’s consent, under any of the circumstances listed in paragraph (e), and such person was previously convicted of a violation of:

1. Section 787.01(2) or s. 787.02(2) when the violation involved a victim who was a minor and, in the course of committing that violation, the defendant committed against the minor a sexual battery under this chapter or a lewd act under s. 800.04 or s. 847.0135(5);

2. Section 787.01(3)(a)2. or 3.;

3. Section 787.02(3)(a)2. or 3.;

4. Section 800.04;

5. Section 825.1025;

6. Section 847.0135(5); or

7. This chapter, excluding subsection (10) of this section.

e)  The following circumstances apply to paragraphs (a)-(d):

1. The victim is physically helpless to resist.

2. The offender coerces the victim to submit by threatening to use force or violence likely to cause serious personal injury on the victim, and the victim reasonably believes that the offender has the present ability to execute the threat.

3. The offender coerces the victim to submit by threatening to retaliate against the victim, or any other person, and the victim reasonably believes that the offender has the ability to execute the threat in the future.

4. The offender, without the prior knowledge or consent of the victim, administers or has knowledge of someone else administering to the victim any narcotic, anesthetic, or other intoxicating substance that mentally or physically incapacitates the victim.

5. The victim is mentally defective, and the offender has reason to believe this or has actual knowledge of this fact.

6. The victim is physically incapacitated.

7. The offender is a law enforcement officer, correctional officer, or correctional probation officer as defined in s. 943.10(1), (2), (3), (6), (7), (8), or (9), who is certified under s. 943.1395 or is an elected official exempt from such certification by virtue of s. 943.253, or any other person in a position of control or authority in a probation, community control, controlled release, detention, custodial, or similar setting, and such officer, official, or person is acting in such a manner as to lead the victim to reasonably believe that the offender is in a position of control or authority as an agent or employee of government.

Because these sexual battery offenses are classified as a first-degree felony punishable by life, a four (4) year statute of limitations applies.


Section 794.011(5)

a)  A person 18 years of age or older who commits sexual battery upon a person 12 years of age or older but younger than 18 years of age, without that person’s consent, and in the process does not use physical force and violence likely to cause serious personal injury commits a felony of the first degree.

b)  A person 18 years of age or older who commits sexual battery upon a person 18 years of age or older, without that person’s consent, and in the process does not use physical force and violence likely to cause serious personal injury commits a felony of the second degree.

c)  A person younger than 18 years of age who commits sexual battery upon a person 12 years of age or older, without that person’s consent, and in the process does not use physical force and violence likely to cause serious personal injury commits a felony of the second degree.

d)  A person commits a felony of the first degree if the person commits sexual battery upon a person 12 years of age or older, without that person’s consent, and in the process does not use physical force and violence likely to cause serious personal injury and the person was previously convicted of a violation of:

1. Section 787.01(2) or s. 787.02(2) when the violation involved a victim who was a minor and, in the course of committing that violation, the defendant committed against the minor a sexual battery under this chapter or a lewd act under s. 800.04 or s. 847.0135(5);

2. Section 787.01(3)(a)2. or 3.;

3. Section 787.02(3)(a)2. or 3.;

4. Section 800.04;

5. Section 825.1025;

6. Section 847.0135(5); or

7. This chapter, excluding subsection (10) of this section.

As a first degree felony, sexual battery offenses prosecuted under Section 794.011(5)(a) and (5)(d), as first degree felonies, have a four (4) year statute of limitations, while offenses prosecuted under Section 794.011(5)(b) and (5)(c), as second degree felonies, have a three (3) year statute of limitations.


Section 794.011(8)

Without regard to the willingness or consent of the victim, which is not a defense to prosecution under this subsection, a person who is in a position of familial or custodial authority to a person less than 18 years of age and who:

a)  Solicits that person to engage in any act which would constitute sexual battery under paragraph (1)(h) commits a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.

b)  Engages in any act with that person while the person is 12 years of age or older but younger than 18 years of age which constitutes sexual battery under paragraph (1)(h) commits a felony of the first degree, punishable by a term of years not exceeding life or as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.

c)  Engages in any act with that person while the person is less than 12 years of age which constitutes sexual battery under paragraph (1)(h), or in an attempt to commit sexual battery injures the sexual organs of such person commits a capital or life felony, punishable pursuant to subsection (2).


This article was last updated on Friday, August 10, 2017.