Sex Crimes: Definitions and Penalties
Florida

Last Updated: March 2020
Sexual Battery Answer

How is it defined?

Sexual battery means 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; however, sexual battery does not include an act done for a bona fide medical purpose. 

What are the punishments for this crime?

  • 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, which is punishable by death or life imprisonment, with no possibility of parole. (§§ 775.082, 921.141)
  • 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, which is punishable by imprisonment for life or by a term of imprisonment not exceeding life imprisonment, as well as a fine of no more than $15,000. (§§ 775.082, 775.083, 775.084 and 797.0115)
  • A person who commits a 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, which is punishable by imprisonment for life or by a term of imprisonment not exceeding life imprisonment, as well as a fine of no more than $15,000. (§§ 775.082, 775.083, 775.084 and 797.0115)
  • Each of the following is considered a felony in the first degree, punishable by a term of years not exceeding life or as provided in §§ 775.082, 775.083, 775.084, or 775.0115:
    • 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 **listed circumstances**
    • A person who commits a sexual battery upon a person 12 years of age or older without that person’s consent, under any of the **listed circumstances**, and such person was previously convicted of a violation of certain enumerated offenses (see § 794.011(4)(d))
  • Each of the following is considered a felony in the first degree, punishable by a term of imprisonment not exceeding 30 years, as well as a fine of no more than $10,000 (§ 775.082, § 775.083, § 775.084 and § 797.0115):
    • 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 **listed circumstances**
    • A person younger than 18 years of age who commits a sexual battery upon a person 12 years of age or older without that person’s consent, under any of the **listed circumstances**
  • **Listed Circumstances**
    • The victim is physically helpless to resist.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • The victim is mentally defective, and the offender has reason to believe this or has actual knowledge of this fact.
    • The victim is physically incapacitated.
    • The offender is a law enforcement officer, correctional officer, or correctional probation officer as defined in §§ 943.10(1), (2), (3), (6), (7), (8), or (9), who is certified under § 943.1395 or is an elected official exempt from such certification by virtue of § 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.
      • Note:  acquiescence to a person reasonably believed by the victim to be in a position of authority or control does not constitute consent, and it is not a defense that the perpetrator was not actually in a position of control or authority if the circumstances were such as to lead the victim to reasonably believe that the person was in such a position.
      • Note:  a person who falsely accuses a person in this subparagraph or other person in a position of control or authority as an agent or employee of government of violating § 794.011(4), commits a felony of the third degree punishable by a term of imprisonment not exceeding 5 years, as well as a fine of no more than $5,000 (§§ 775.082, 775.083, 775.084, and 797.0115).
  • Each of the following is considered a felony in the first degree, punishable as provided in §§ 775.082, 775.083, 775.084, or 775.0115:
    • 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.
    • A person who commits a 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 such person was previously convicted of a violation of certain enumerated offenses (see § 794.011(5)(d)).
  • Each of the following is considered a felony in the second degree, punishable by a term of imprisonment not exceeding 15 years, as well as a fine of no more than $10,000 (§§ 775.082, 775.083, 775.084, and 797.0115):
    • 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.
    • A person younger than 18 years of age who commits a 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.
  • A person who is in a position of familial or custodial authority to a person less than 18 years of age and who:
    • Solicits that person to engage in any act which would constitute sexual battery commits a felony of the third degree, punishable by a term of imprisonment not exceeding 5 years, as well as a fine of no more than $5,000 (§§  775.082, 775.083, 775.084, and 797.0115);
    • 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 commits a felony of the first degree, punishable by a term of years not exceeding life or as provided in §§ 775.082, 775.083, 775.084, or 775.0115;
    • Engages in any act with that person while the person is less than 12 years of age which constitutes sexual battery, or in an attempt to commit sexual battery injures the sexual organs of such person commits a capital or life felony, punishable pursuant to § 794.011(2).
  • Note:  A person who is convicted of committing a sexual battery on or after October 1, 1992, is not eligible for basic gain-time under § 944.275.
  • Note:  See also enhanced felony degrees under § 775.0862 applicable to sexual offenses committed by authority figures in a school against a student.
  • Note:  Under § 794.023, a violation of § 794.011 shall be reclassified if it is charged and proven that, during the same criminal transaction or episode, more than one person committed an act of sexual battery on the same victim.  In these situations, a felony in the second degree is reclassified as a felony in the first degree, and a felony in the first degree is reclassified as a life felony. This section does not apply to life felonies or capital felonies.
  • Note:  See enhanced mandatory sentencing for dangerous sexual felony offender under § 794.0115 subject to a mandatory minimum term of 50 years imprisonment up to, and including, life imprisonment, if the offense was committed on or after October 1, 2014.
  • Note: Under § 775.082(10), if a defendant is sentenced to a third degree felony (excluding a forcible felony and a violation under chapter 810) and if the total sentence points are 22 points or fewer, the court must sentence the offender to a nonstate prison sanction; however, if the court makes written findings that a nonstate prison sanction could present a danger to the public, the court may sentence the offender to a state correctional facility. The Supreme Court of Florida held that this provision, to the extent requiring the court, not the jury, to find the fact of dangerousness to the public necessary to increase the statutory maximum nonstate prison sanction, was unconstitutional as a violation of the Sixth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.  Brown v. State, 260 So.3d 147 (Fla. 2018).

Anything else I should know?

The following definitions are relevant to this crime:

  • Consent:  intelligent, knowing, and voluntary consent and does not include coerced submission.  “Consent” shall not be deemed or construed to mean the failure by the alleged victim to offer physical resistance to the offender.
  • Mentally defective:  a mental disease or defect that renders a person temporarily or permanently incapable of appraising the nature of his or her conduct.
  • Mentally incapacitated:  temporarily incapable of appraising or controlling a person's own conduct due to the influence of a narcotic, anesthetic, or intoxicating substance administered without his or her consent or due to any other act committed upon that person without his or her consent.
  • Physically helpless:  unconscious, asleep, or for any other reason physically unable to communicate unwillingness to an act.
  • Retaliation”:  includes, but is not limited to, threats of future physical punishment, kidnapping, false imprisonment or forcible confinement, or extortion.
  • Serious personal injury:  great bodily harm or pain, permanent disability, or permanent disfigurement.
  • Sexual battery:  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; however, sexual battery does not include an act done for a bona fide medical purpose.
  • Physically incapacitated:  bodily impaired or handicapped and substantially limited in ability to resist or flee.

Statutory citation(s):

Fla. Stat. § 794.011






Statutory Rape Answer

How is it defined?

  • Sexual penetration involving a youth. Consent is immaterial. While Florida does not expressly penalize statutory rape, the offense of sexual battery targets this conduct.
    • (A) If defendant is 18 years of age or older and commits sexual battery upon, or during an attempt to commit sexual battery injures the sexual organs of, a person less than 12 years of age;
    • (B) If defendant is less than 18 years of age and commits sexual battery upon, or during an attempt to commit sexual battery injures the sexual organs of, a person less than 12 years of age;
    • (C) If defendant is in a position of familial or custodial authority to a person less than 18 years of age and who:
      • (1) Solicits that person to engage in any act which would constitute sexual battery; or
      • (2) Engages in any act of sexual battery with that person while the person is 12 years of age or older but less than 18 years of age; or
      • (3) Engages in any act of sexual battery with that person while the person is less than 12 years of age, or in an attempt to commit sexual battery injures the sexual organs of such person;
  • Under § 794.05, a person 24 years of age or older who engages in sexual activity with a person 16 or 17 years of age.
    • Note:  The victim’s prior sexual conduct is not a relevant issue.
    • Note:  If an offense under § 794.05 directly results in the victim giving birth to a child, paternity of that child shall be established as described in chapter 742.  If it is determined that the offender is the father of the child, the offender must pay child support pursuant to the child support guidelines described in chapter 61.
    • Note:  Under § 794.021, where the criminality of the conduct depends on the victims age, ignorance of the age is not a defense. Neither is misrepresentation of age by such person, or a bona fide belief that such person is over the specified age. 

What are the punishments for this crime?

  • A defendant convicted of (A) commits a capital felony, which is punishable by death or life imprisonment, with no possibility of parole.
  • A defendant convicted of (B) commits a life felony, which is punishable by imprisonment for life or by a term of imprisonment not exceeding life imprisonment, as well as a fine of no more than $15,000.
  • A defendant convicted of (C)(1) commits a 3d degree felony, which is punishable by a term of imprisonment not exceeding 5 years, as well as a fine of no more than $5,000.
  • A defendant convicted of (C)(2) commits a 1st degree felony, which is punishable by a term of imprisonment not exceeding 30 years, as well as a fine of no more than $10,000.
  •  A defendant convicted of (C)(3) commits a capital or life felony, which is punishable by death or life imprisonment, with no possibility of parole, or imprisonment for life or by a term of imprisonment not exceeding life imprisonment, as well as a fine of no more than $15,000.
  • A defendant convicted of the offense under § 794.05 commits a felony of the second degree, which is punishable by imprisonment for up to 15 years (§§ 775.082, 775.083, or 775.084).

Anything else I should know?

The following definitions are relevant to this crime:

  • Mentally defective:  a mental disease or defect that renders a person temporarily or permanently incapable of appraising the nature of his or her conduct.
  • Mentally incapacitated”:  temporarily incapable of appraising or controlling a person's own conduct due to the influence of a narcotic, anesthetic, or intoxicating substance administered without his or her consent or due to any other act committed upon that person without his or her consent.
  • Physically helpless”:  unconscious, asleep, or for any other reason physically unable to communicate unwillingness to an act.
  • Retaliation”:  includes, but is not limited to, threats of future physical punishment, kidnapping, false imprisonment or forcible confinement, or extortion.
  • Serious personal injury:  great bodily harm or pain, permanent disability, or permanent disfigurement.
  • Sexual battery”:  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; however, sexual battery does not include an act done for a bona fide medical purpose.
  • Sexual activity”:  oral, anal, or vaginal penetration by, or union with, the sexual organ of another; however, sexual activity does not include an act done for a bona fide medical purpose.

Statutory citation(s):

Fla. Stat. § 794.011 and Fla. Stat. § 794.05






Sodomy Answer

How is it defined?

A person who commits any unnatural and lascivious act with another person, requiring an intentional act of sexual indulgence or public indecency “when such act causes offense to one or more persons viewing it or otherwise intrudes upon the rights of others.”  See Conforti v. State, 800 So.2d 350, 351 (Fla. 4th DCA 2001). 

Note:  Any state law that outright prohibits sodomy is unconstitutional under Lawrence v. Texas, 539 U.S. 588 (2003).

What are the punishments for this crime?

A defendant convicted of committing an unnatural or lascivious act with another person commits a misdemeanor of the second degree, which is punishable by imprisonment for up to 60 days (§ 775.082 or § 775.083).

Anything else I should know?

Note:  Public masturbation is not a violation of this offense and it must be an act “with another person.”  See U.S. v. Scott, 479 Fed. App. 259 (11th Cir. 2012).

Note:  A mother's breastfeeding of her baby does not under any circumstance violate this section.

Statutory citation(s):

Fla. Stat. § 800.02









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