Florida Rape Laws

Overview of Florida Rape Laws

Florida state laws currently include rape under the offense of "sexual battery." The relevant statutes no longer give a separate legal definition for rape.

To prove a rape offense, a prosecutor must establish each of the elements for sexual battery given by state law. As required by the Florida statute on sexual battery, the prosecutor must show that the defendant engaged in oral, vaginal, or anal penetration of the victim with a sexual organ or another object. Alternatively, the prosecutor must prove a union by the defendant's sexual organ with the victim's mouth, vagina, or anus.

If the rape victim is under the age of twelve, the prosecutor does not have to show the victim's lack of consent; the victim's young age presumes the lack of consent. If the rape victim is over the age of twelve, the prosecutor must show that the victim did not consent voluntarily. Under Florida state laws, the prosecutor needs to show a lack of consent, but does not need to show resistance or protest.

Below you will find key provisions of Florida's rape laws.

Statute

Florida Statutes Sections 794.005-794.09 (Rape)

 

Penalties

 

The punishment for rape comes from the Florida crime laws regarding sexual battery. The potential punishment depends on the following:
  • The ages of the victim and the defendant
  • The use of any weapons
  • The personal injury suffered by the victim.
  • The rape victim is under the age of twelve and the defendant is over the age of eighteen (captial felony,punishable by death penalty or life imprisonment without parole); If defendant was under age of eighteen (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 (second degree felony, punishable by imprisonment up to 15 years)
  • If the prosecutor can establish one of the circumstances established by Florida law, the state can increase the charge to a first degree felony, which can result in a sentence for a term of imprisonment lasting up to 30 years.
  • These circumstances include: the defendant's threats or coercive acts, the victim's physical incapacity, or the victim's physical inability to resist the sexual battery.
  • If the defendant used a deadly weapon or physical force likely to cause a serious bodily injury to a victim over the age of twelve during a sexual battery, the offense becomes punishable as a life felony.

Possible Defenses

Voluntary consent given by the victim.

Note: Florida state laws prevent the use of certain defenses in a case for sexual battery. Specifically, the defendant cannot use the victim's "unchastity" or discuss the victim's prior sexual conduct. In cases where the victim's age affects the criminal charges, mistake or lack of knowledge regarding the victim's age cannot serve as a rape defense.

Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

Florida Rape Laws Related Resources:

Free Case Review from a Florida Attorney

If you have been accused of rape in Florida, you are facing serious charges. You should act in your best interests and hire an attorney who can analyze your options and put up a solid defense on your behalf. The first thing to do is to get a free case review from a Florida attorney. Then you can assess the next steps for your case.

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