Florida Court Explains the Elements of Sexual Battery Offenses

Under Florida law, certain acts that are sexual in nature constitute crimes. While many sex offenses require the state to establish a specific intent, others merely demand that the state show the defendant committed the acts that constitute the crime. Recently, a Florida court clarified that the crime of sexual battery is a general intent offense in a matter in which the defendant appealed his conviction. If you are accused of a sex crime, it is in your best interest to talk to a Sarasota sex crime defense attorney to discuss what evidence the state must offer to demonstrate your guilt.

The Facts of the Case

It is alleged that the defendant met a man at a bar, after which she agreed to go to his apartment. They then walked to a store where they encountered the defendant, who was the man’s roommate, the defendant’s brother, and another individual. Their accounts differed as to the nature of their interaction; the defendant stated the victim was flirtatious and repeatedly touched him while she denied speaking to or engaging in contact with him.

Reportedly, the victim returned to the man’s apartment and engaged in consensual intercourse with him, after which the defendant entered the bedroom and began engaging in intercourse with the victim. The victim testified that the defendant did not speak to her, and she did not know he was not the other man until after the act was complete. The defendant was subsequently charged with and convicted of sexual battery. He appealed, arguing that he believed the victim consented to the act and, therefore, he lacked the specific intent to commit the charged offense.

Elements of Sexual Battery Offenses

On appeal, the court affirmed the defendant’s conviction. In doing so, it clarified that sexual battery is a general intent offense, not a specific intent crime. In other words, the state does not need to establish that the defendant knew or should have known that the victim did not consent to sexual intercourse in order to demonstrate a defendant’s guilt.

The court explained that the clear language of the statute defining the crime of sexual battery supported its interpretation of the elements of the offense and that it was an established standard that had not been questioned for decades. Thus, the court affirmed that the trial court correctly determined that the defendant’s mistaken belief that he had the victim’s consent was not a defense to the offense of sexual battery.

Meet with a Capable Sarasota Criminal Defense Attorney

A conviction for a sex crime can irreparably harm a person’s rights and reputation, but the state faces a high burden of proof in sex crime cases, and if it cannot meet that burden, it should not be able to obtain a conviction. If you are charged with a sex offense, it is wise to confer with an attorney regarding your potential defenses. The capable Sarasota criminal defense lawyers of Hanlon Law have ample experience defending people charged with sex crimes, and if you hire us, we can advise you of your options for seeking a favorable outcome. You can reach Hanlon Law via the online form or by calling 941-462-1789 to set up a meeting.

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