If you are accused of sexual assault, your future hangs in the balance. Your decisions can have severe repercussions for the rest of your life. You might wonder if it’s too late or if anything can be done to protect your rights and help fight against the accusations. In times like these, you need legal support to help sort out any resulting charges.
Finding a qualified, knowledgeable, experienced defense lawyer can mean all the difference if you face allegations of sexual assault or other related crimes in Clearwater, FL. Fortunately, a reputable Clearwater Sexual Assault Defense lawyer from Smith & Eulo has all the knowledge and expertise to ensure you exercise your rights while creating the best solution for your case.
What Does Sexual Assault Mean?
Sexual assault means any unwarranted and unwanted sexual contact made by the accused with another person. In Florida’s statute, sexual assault includes oral, vaginal penetration, or anal made by the accused or a foreign object used by the accused. These circumstances arise when the person tries or forces the victim to do sexual acts against their will.
Some common forms of sexual assault include the following:
- Sexual touching or fondling that the victim doesn’t want
- Attempted rape
- Penetration of the person’s body, AKA rape
- Forcing the victim to do any sexual acts, such as oral or penetrating the body of the offender
- Disrobing or exposure
- Sexual acts perpetrated without the victim’s consent
- Sexual intimidation; Stalking, cyber-stalking, threatening to commit sexual acts, etc.
- Indecent exposure
Sexual violence includes sexual assault, rape, and sexual abuse. It’s a non-legal term that’s often used interchangeably with sexual assault. On the other hand, sexual battery is the same as sexual assault, but it involves using threats or force to perform the sexual act.
What is Force in Sexual Assault?
Force doesn’t only mean physical. It also means psychological force or coercion, emotional force, or manipulation to force the victim to perform non-consensual sex with the perpetrator. Some offenders will threaten to hurt their families for the victim or the victim to comply.
The accused is almost always known to the victim. For instance, eight out of ten sexual assaults are committed by someone familiar to the victim, such as an intimate partner or acquaintance.
The term “date rape” is also called acquaintance rape, but it doesn’t have to be the victim’s date. It can be a neighbor, classmate, or another role in the victim’s life.
However, there are also instances where the victim doesn’t know the perpetrator. It’s called stranger rape, which occurs in several ways.
The different ways stranger rape occurs:
- Blitz sexual assault: It’s when the perpetrator quickly attacks the victim with no prior contact, usually in public places and at night.
- Home invasion sexual assault: It’s when the stranger breaks into the victim’s home to commit the offense.
- Contact sexual assault: This type of assault happens when the perpetrator tries to gain the victim’s trust through contact by flirting, luring the victim, or coercing the victim into a situation where the sexual assault will occur.
If you’re known to the victim, and they accuse you of committing sexual assault, acting quickly is necessary. Start by hiring a Sexual Assault Defense Lawyer in Clearwater, FL. They will give you the best advice to prove your innocence while working on your case.
Penalties for Sexual Assault
The penalties for sexual assault have increased over time due to the consequences that the victim faces. It’s considered a felony, even if the act was only attempted and no contact has been made. Some face imprisonment for many years up to life once they’re convicted.
For instance, sexual assault is a second-degree felony conviction, already equal to 15 years of imprisonment with up to $10,000 fines. However, depending on the severity of the crime, the accused can be charged with capital felony, which means life imprisonment and up to $15,000 in fines.
If sexual battery is committed against a child, the accused is penalized heavily. If the victim is under 12 years old and the perpetrator is a minor, the perpetrator is charged with a life felony and can be imprisoned for up to 25 years. But if the perpetrator is 18 years old and above, the death sentence is possible for them. If the victim is over 12 years old, the adult offender is given a 15-year prison sentence.
Additionally, the perpetrator is registered as a sex offender. Furthermore, convicted offenders are asked to pay significant fines. At the same time, they must follow specific probation rules and wear a tracking device.
How is the Sentence Imposed?
The sentence is imposed based on numerous factors. The judge will base it on the victim’s age, the offender’s age, and the circumstances surrounding the offense. For example, suppose the victim is under 12 years old, and the offender is 18 years old.
In that case, the sexual charges may be considered a capital felony with 25 years of state prison before becoming eligible for parole. But if the offender used a weapon, it’s a felony with life imprisonment and hefty fines.
Life imprisonment will be considered if the victim is under 12 and the offender is under 18. A mandatory 25-year prison sentence is imposed against the offender if they’re considered a dangerous sexual offender. It’s when they caused serious injury, threatened, or used a deadly weapon, or if they committed the act on multiple victims before the conviction.
With the help of a Sexual Assault Defense Lawyer Defense in Clearwater, you can get lesser charges or have the charges dropped if you prove your innocence. They can also make a deal to lessen the punishment if you’re found guilty.
Work with a Sexual Assault Defense Attorney to Fight for Your Rights
A good Sexual Assault Defense Lawyer defense attorney in Clearwater can help you form a strong defense. Whether mistaken identity, self-defense, innocence, consent, false accusations, procedural errors, or diminished capacity, they can develop a winning solution as the case progresses.
If you or your loved one find themselves in a situation where you are being accused of Sexual Assault? Call us right away at 727 250-0857 to speak with a qualified legal professional or fill out the contact form on this page. We’re available 24/7, we offer free initial consultation and payment plans. In addition to our Clearwater office, we have offices in the following cities across the state of Florida:
*Additional Orlando Florida & Orange County Legal Resources