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Sexual Battery 

Being accused of sexual battery can be a trying ordeal for an individual, especially if there was no intent to harm or cause injury to the alleged victim. An individual accused of sexual battery in the state of Florida can face harsh prison sentences and hefty fines if convicted, in addition to the public embarrassment of having to register as a sex offender.

Sexual Battery Defense Lawyer in Gainesville, FL

If you have been charged with sexual battery, contact the Galigani Law Firm. Criminal defense attorney Dean Galigani is experienced in defending individuals who have been charged with sexual battery offenses from the most serious penalties. For college students, this also means representation in the separate student disciplinary hearing. The Galigani Law Firm represents individuals who have been charged with sexual battery throughout Florida in Alachua, Levy, and Marion counties. Contact the Galigani Law Firm at (352) 375-0812 today for a free consultation.

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What is a Sexual Battery Charge in Florida?

Sexual battery is the legal term in Florida used to describe rape, also known as sexual assault in some other states. The statute for sexual battery can be found under section 794.011 of criminal code, which states a person is guilty of sexual battery if they:

  • Orally, anally, or vaginally penetrate or have union with the sexual organ of another; or
  • The anal or vaginal penetration of another by any object;
  • Without their consent or committed the act when the person was unable to resist 

Under Florida law, to “give consent” is to give another permission to commit a sexual act on you without coercion. Prosecutors must prove that the alleged victim either wasn’t able to give proper consent or never gave their consent to the act in the first place. What’s complicated about consent is that it’s not always direct, and in some cases one party may think consent was given when in reality it wasn’t. These situations often depend on such nuanced facts that it can be incredibly difficult to tell anyone’s true intentions.  

If the alleged victim was physically or unable to consent during the act, it’s still considered sexual battery even if you weren’t aware of the victims physical or mental state. The following are different scenarios where a person is unable to give consent under Florida law.

  • They are mentally defective, which under Florida law means a mental disease or defect has rendered them temporarily or permanently unable to understand the full extent of the sexual act. For example, people with untreated severe paranoid schizophrenia would not be considered able to give consent according to Florida law.
  • The victim is considered to be mentally incapacitated. A person is considered mentally incapacitated under Florida law if they are unable to appraise or control their own conduct due to a narcotic, anesthetic or intoxicating substance that was administered to them without their consent or due to any other committed upon the victim that would cause them to be unable to give consent.
  • During the act, the victim was physically helpless by being either asleep, unconscious or is unable to communicate their consent for any other reason.
  • If the victim was physically incapacitated, then they cannot give consent. A person is considered to be physically incapacitated if they are bodily impaired or handicapped to the point it has substantially limited their ability to resist or flee.

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Florida Penalties of Sexual Battery

The penalties of a sexual battery conviction can vary depending on the circumstances of the offense, such as:

  • The victim’s age,
  • If the victim was handicapped,
  • If a weapon or force was used during the commission of the offense, and/or
  • If the offender was a law enforcement officer.

A charge of sexual battery upon a person 12 years of age or older can result in a felony of the second-degree conviction, which is punishable by up to 15 years in prison and/or a fine up to $10,000, according to Fla. Stat. § 775.082 and 775.083. If a deadly weapon or physical force is used in the commission of the offense, the charge can severely increase to a life felony, which is punishable by life in prison under Fla. Stat. § 775.082.

A conviction of sexual battery by a minor under the age of 18 upon a person less than 12 years of age can result in a life felony which is punishable by life in prison consistent with Fla. Stat. § 775.082.

A parent or guardian charged with sexual battery upon a person in their care who is under the age of 18 can be convicted of a life felony, a felony of the first degree or a felony of the third degree, depending on the age of the victim and the extent of the battery.

An individual who is charged with sexual battery can be convicted of a felony of the first degree depending on certain details of the alleged crime. These certain details can include, but are not limited to:

  • If the victim was physically helpless to resist,
  • If the offender threatened to use force or violence,
  • If the offender threatened retaliation,
  • If the victim was drugged,
  • If the victim was mentally or physically handicapped or
  • If the offender was a law enforcement officer.

A felony of the first degree is punishable by up to 30 years in a Florida state prison and/or a fine up to $10,000, as stated in Fla. Stat. § 775.082 and Fla. Stat. § 775.083.


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What is Capital Sexual Battery?

In Florida, if you’re convicted of a crime, you’ll face penalties based on whether your crime was a misdemeanor or a felony. The highest felony crime in Florida is considered a capital felony, which is above a first-degree felony. The penalties for a capital felony won’t just impact your life but will drastically change it for the rest of your days. A conviction for a capital felony can result in either life in prison or the death penalty. 

Since children under the age of 12 cannot consent to sexual encounters, the state of Florida has reserved the highest penalty for these cases. Sexual intercourse or injury to any sexual organs of a child under the age of 12 while you’re over the age of 18 is a capital felony. With so much at stake, it’s imperative you secure legal representation if you’ve been charged with capital felony sexual battery in Florida.


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Florida Definition of Dangerous Sexual Felony Offender

Under Fla. Stat. § 794.0115, an individual charged with sexual battery can be considered a dangerous sexual offender and can face a mandatory minimum of 25 years in prison up to life if they have:

  • Caused serious personal injury,
  • Used or threatened to use a deadly weapon,
  • Committed the offense to more than one person, and/or
  • Was previously convicted of a felony or sex crime.

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Enhanced Sentencing in Gainesville

The state of Florida can impose an enhanced sentence for any individual that the court deems is a habitual felony offender, habitual violent felony offender, three- time violent felony offender, or a violent career criminal, as outlined in Fla. Stat. § 775.084. The enhanced sentence can range from five years without the eligibility of parole to life in prison. Factors that can influence the court’s decision can include but are not limited to:

  • A previous felony or violent felony conviction,
  • If the offense was committed within 5 years of prison release or release from a court-ordered supervision, or
  • If the offense was committed while an individual was serving time for a previous conviction.

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Statute of Limitations for Sexual Battery in Florida

Both state and federal law abides by a statute of limitations when it comes to dealing with criminal cases. Florida determines their statute of limitations based on how the crime was classified. So, your statute of limitations for sexual battery will depend on the charges you’re currently facing.

The statute of limitations for sexual battery are listed as follows 

  • If you’re being charged with a capital felony, then there is no statute of limitations
  • If you’re facing a first-degree felony, then the prosecution must file charges against you within four years of the commission of the crime
  • If you’re facing any other felony, then prosecution must file charges within three years

The statute of limitations for sexual battery may be terminated if certain factors were present during the commission of the crime. These factors include: 

  • If first-degree sexual battery was committed against a victim under 18, then there is no limitations period for the prosecution
  • There is no limitations period if the crime was a first or second-degree felony against a victim who is 16 or older and the offense is reported within 72 hours after it’s commission

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Additional Resources

Florida Council Against Sexual Violence – Visit the official website for the statewide nonprofit organization FCASV, also known as the Florida Council Against Sexual Violence. Access the site to learn how FCASV serves to be a resource on sexual violence issues, their facts and statistics on sexual abuse, brochures on different types of sexual violence, and learn how you can get involved with the FCASV mission.

Sexual Battery Florida Statute – Visit the official website for Online Sunshine, which houses all legislation and laws that have passed in the state of Florida. Access the site to learn more about the elements of sexual battery, important legal definitions for the crime, enhanced penalties based on aggravating factors, and other relevant information.


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Gainesville Sexual Battery Attorney in Florida

The Galigani Law Firm represents individuals who have been charged with the most serious sexual battery offenses throughout the state of Florida. Dean Galigani is a Florida criminal defense lawyer who will fight to achieve the best possible outcome to your specific situation. Contact the Galigani Law Firm today at (352) 375-0812 for a free consultation about your alleged sexual battery offense in the cities of Gainesville, Alachua and Ocala.


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Florida Counties

Galigani Law Firm proudly serves Gainesville and surrounding areas of
North Central Florida.