Flaherty Defense Firm, Fort Walton Beach Criminal Lawyer
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Destin Sexual Battery Attorney

When most people hear that someone has been accused of Rape, they assume the worst and immediately look at you differently. Forget about presumption of innocence, or innocent until proven guilty. In the court of public opinion, a person is considered guilty until proven innocent.

Fortunately, we still have a court system that treats people more fairly than the public. Under our system, you ARE presumed innocent and you DO have rights. One of those rights is the right to be defended in court by a professional criminal defense attorney of your choosing.

If you have been charged with Sexual Battery in Destin, it is normal to feel like no one is on your side; that it is pointless to fight back. Do not make that mistake.

My name is Tim Flaherty. I am a criminal defense attorney and I’ve been defending Destin locals, vacationers, and military members since 2001.

Over the years, I have learned a few things about how to give yourself the best chance of success against such a serious accusation. I have learned that the following two things will have the greatest impact on the result in a Sexual Battery prosecution:

  • Your choice of defense counsel, and
  • Whether you agree to talk to the police.

How will you defend me against a Sexual Battery charge in Destin?

The two most common defenses in Sexual Battery cases are Consent and False Accusation.

I have successfully argued both of these to secure Not Guilty verdicts at trial.

Consent

Consent is defined as “intelligent, knowing, and voluntary consent and does not include coerced submission. Consent does not mean the failure by the alleged victim to offer physical resistance to the offender.”

One thing to point out is that consent is never a defense if the alleged victim was under the age of 18. Children cannot legally consent to sexual activity.

False Accusation

In order to make this argument at trial, I will need to be able to give the jury a reason why the alleged victim would make such a terrible accusation against you. What motive does the accuser have to put you through this?

I’ve had cases in the past where one spouse makes up an allegation when the couple is going through a divorce and is in a nasty custody dispute.

I have had other cases where the alleged victim was caught having sex with my client, but claimed it was rape so that her boyfriend didn’t find out she was cheating.

These are just a couple examples. The bottom line is that I will need to dig into the alleged victim’s life to find their motivation. I will need to talk to their family and their friends. I need to find out everything I possibly can about their life, so that I can make a credible argument in court that the alleged victim is lying.

If the evidence doesn’t support making that argument, I won’t make it. But I will leave no stone unturned.

What should I do if the police want to question me about a sexual assault in Destin?

I can’t make it any clearer than this: Do not talk to the police without an attorney with you.

Police investigators who are assigned to sex crimes are well-trained in building cases against a person suspected of sexual battery. They know who to question suspects in a way that makes the suspect look guilty. They know how to make someone incriminate themselves.

If the police call you, or show up at your home or job, politely tell them that you will not make any statement without your lawyer present.

Then, pick up the phone and call me right away, day or night, at (850) 243-6097.

Are there different levels of Sexual Battery in Destin?

Yes, there are. The main focus of this page is to explain Sexual Battery without any additional enhancements. Below, I’ve listed a few of the possible enhancements that can be added to a Sexual Battery charge in Destin:

Sexual Battery

Without any enhancements or aggravating factors, Sexual Battery is a second degree felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison.

Sexual Battery with a Deadly Weapon or Great Force

Pursuant to Florida Statute 794.011(3), if a deadly weapon was used, or if serious personal injury was caused, during the commission of the sexual battery, the charge is enhanced to Sexual Battery with a Deadly Weapon or Great Force. This charge is a 1st degree felony punishable by up to LIFE in prison.

Sexual Battery with Multiple Perpetrators

The Florida legislature decided to create this enhancement with the passage of Florida Statute 794.023. The legislature found that “an act of sexual battery, when committed by more than one person, presents a great danger to the public and is extremely offensive to civilized society.”

The potential penalty for Sexual Battery with Multiple Perpetrators is LIFE in prison.

Sexual Battery with Victim Helpless to Resist

Florida Statute 794.011(1)(e) defines this category as “a victim is helpless to resist if they are unconscious, asleep, or unable for any other reason to communicate that they are unwilling to perform a sexual act.”

This charge is a first degree felony punishable by up to 30 years in prison as long as the alleged victim was 18 years old or older.

If the alleged victim was under the age of 18, the potential penalty is LIFE in prison.

Sexual Battery on Victim Less Than 12 Years Old

A sexual battery committed against a child under the age of 12 will be charged as Capital Sexual Battery. The penalty, if you are convicted, is a mandatory LIFE sentence in prison.

Sexual Battery by a Person in Familial or Custodial Authority

Pursuant to Florida Statute 794.011(8)(b) and 794.011 (8)(c), if the State can prove that the sexual battery was committed by someone who was in a position of custodial or familial authority with the alleged victim, the potential penalty is LIFE in prison.

How are Florida’s sentencing guidelines used to calculate a possible sentence for Sexual Battery in Destin?

We already know that the maximum potential penalty for Sexual Battery ranges from 15 years to Life in prison. Using the sentencing guidelines in the Florida Punishment Code, the minimum sentence can also be calculated. Click for information on how felony sentences are calculated in Florida.

Below are some examples to show how a sentence is calculated:

Sexual Battery is a level 8 offense with 74 points and a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison. The minimum sentence, with no points added for sexual contact/penetration is 34.5 months in prison.

Sexual Battery against victim helpless to resist is a level 9 offense with 92 points and a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison. The minimum sentence, without any added points for sexual contact or penetration, is 48 months in prison.

Sexual Battery with a deadly weapon is a level 10 offense with 116 points and a maximum sentence of life in prison. The minimum sentence, without any extra points for sexual penetration or sexual contact, is 66 months in prison.

Call a Destin Sexual Battery Attorney

The stakes of this fight are clear. If you win, you put your life back together and move forward. If you lose, you go to prison, and when you come out, you’re a convicted sex offender for life. Everything you have worked for will have been lost.

If you’re looking for someone to take on this fight with you, you have come to the right place.

If you have been charged with Sexual Battery in Destin, call me at (850) 243-6097 for a free, confidential consultation.

Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, Inc.
NORML
National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
9.8Tim Michael Flaherty
The National Trial Lawyers