Sexual assault is an attack of a sexual nature brought forth by one person onto another. Sexual assault is any form of sexual activity that falls short of rape or attempted rape, which can include fondling or touching. The consequences for this crime are extensive and can drastically alter a person’s life. If you’ve been arrested for sexual assault, we encourage you to speak with a Florida sexual assault attorney as soon as possible.What is Considered Sexual Assault?
Sexual assault is any non-consensual sexual activity that can include the following:
- Forced vaginal or anal penetration
- Inappropriate touching
- Forced sexual intercourse
- Forced kissing
- Child sexual abuse
- Sexual torture
Registration requirements are a particularly harsh consequence of being convicted of sexual assault and other sex crimes. That is because of the damage it can do to your reputation, personal relationships and ability to find and keep a job. If you are facing sex-related charges, contact a knowledgeable Florida sexual assault attorney immediately.
If you are convicted of sexual assault in Florida, you have to register as a sex offender. Your name and home address will be listed in the state sex offender registry upon your release. Your photo will also be posted on the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, which is available to the general public.
In some situations, a person who has been convicted of sexual assault or other sex crimes can also be tagged as a sexually violent predator. That allows authorities to detain the person after he or she has served any prison sentences.Statutory Rape (Sex with a Minor) in Florida
Statutory rape is a term that is used to refer to consensual sexual intercourse with a minor. Unlike rape, sex with a minor is a criminal offense regardless of whether the minor consented.
There are some important limits on statutory rape charges in Florida. A person up to the age of 24 who has sexual intercourse with someone between the ages of 16 and 17 is not considered to have committed a crime.
The penalties vary based on the circumstances. A person convicted of statutory rape in Florida is looking at up to 15 years behind bars. Repeat offenders face as much as 40 years in prison.Defenses in Rape and Other Sexual Assault Cases
It is important to understand that prosecutors have the burden of proving your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. That means proving each element of the criminal offense with which you have been charged beyond a reasonable doubt. That you probably or more likely than not committed the crime is not enough.
The sooner you seek legal representation the sooner an experienced Florida sex crimes attorney can help you start building a defense. That includes in cases where you are suspected of a crime but have not yet been formally charged.
There are a number of defenses available for people accused of sexual assault in Florida, including:
- Consent: In some cases, the question is not whether the sexual contact happened but whether it was consensual. Because this often comes down to one person’s word against another’s, it is important to fully explore police reports, medical records and other circumstantial evidence to get to the bottom of the consent question.
- Mistaken Identity: If you were somewhere else when the crime occurred, and you can prove it, prosecutors are not going to be able to prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
- Hearsay: This defense can be helpful in keeping certain testimony out of court. The rule against hearsay generally bans one person from testifying in court about what another person, like a witness or victim, said outside of court, if it’s being used to prove a fact.
- Double Jeopardy: A person generally cannot be charged with the same crime twice.
- Statute of Limitations: State law puts time limits on how long after certain crimes have been committed a person can be charged with the crime. These limits vary based on the nature of the crime and other circumstances.
It is vital to seek the help of an experienced Florida sexual assault attorney to consider these and other potential defenses.Your Florida Sexual Assault Attorney Will Try to Minimize the Consequences of a Conviction
A sexual assault accusation alone carries a social stigma that can blacken your reputation for life. Not only can your reputation be tarnished, but you could be facing very serious punishments for what could be a “he said, she said” event. Due to the media and social hypes associated with sex crimes of any kind, harsher penalties have been established by the court system. Punishments of a sexual assault can include:
- Lengthy prison sentences
- Hefty fines
- Probation OR parole
- Court ordered rehabilitation
- Mandatory counseling
- Registration as a sexual offender, predator or both
If you were accused of a sexual assault, you need aggressive attorneys on your side who will fight to make sure you and your legal rights are protected. You also need to act quickly and make sure you do not speak to any law enforcement without the presence of Florida sexual assault attorney. Don’t risk your future, call our firm today at 866-608-5529 or contact us online and see how we can put our legal proficiency to work for you.