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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.

Defenses to Rape Charges

  • 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.  

Penalties and Sentences

The punishment for rape comes from the Florida crime laws regarding sexual battery. The potential punishment depends on the ages of the victim and the defendant, the use of any weapons, and the personal injury suffered by the victim.

  • Sexual battery committed on a victim under the age of twelve by an adult over the age of eighteen is a capital felony, punishable by the death penalty or life imprisonment without parole. If the defendant was under the age of eighteen, the crime is a life felony, punishable by a term of imprisonment for at least thirty 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 a term of imprisonment for up to fifteen 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 thirty 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.

Florida Rape Statute

Florida Statutes Sections 794.005-794.09

Note: State laws are constantly changing -- please contact a Florida criminal defense attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

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