If you have been accused of Sexual Battery or Rape in Crestview, it may feel like you have already been judged guilty. It may seem like it doesn’t even matter what actually happened because people jump to conclusions and assume the worst if you are accused of raping someone.

Do not make the mistake of thinking your situation is hopeless. Under the law, you are presumed innocent and you have the right to fight back with the help of professional Crestview rape defense lawyers.

Should I talk to the police about a Sexual Battery accusation in Crestview?

If the police contact you about a Sexual Battery allegation, that means they have already talked to the alleged victim. It also means that they believe the alleged victim’s story and they think you are guilty.

If you are contacted by the police, pick up the phone and call Flaherty & Merrifield at (850) 398-8098.

My name is Tim Flaherty. I have been defending Sexual Battery and other sexually related cases in Crestview since 2001. My partner’s name is Brandy Merrifield. She has worked with me since 2007. Over the years we have learned that the #1 reason people go to prison for Sexual Battery is they talked to the police and incriminated themselves.

Do not talk to the police without your attorney present.

If you have already given a statement, the police will usually try to get a second statement from you in hopes of tripping you up or getting you to say something different. Do not fall into their trap.

What is Sexual Battery Under Florida Law?

Sexual Battery is defined under Florida Statute 794.011 as:

“the 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.”

How will an attorney defend me against a Sexual Battery allegation in Crestview?

No two cases are the same, so we will need to talk about the specifics of your case before we can develop a defense strategy that is customized to your situation.

There are a couple issues that are common in Sexual Battery cases that I will explain below. We have secured not guilty verdicts at trial with these defenses.


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.”

If we can argue to the prosecutor or the jury that the alleged victim consented to sexual activity, and we can show evidence of that, the prosecutor may decide to drop the charges, or you may have a good chance of winning at trial.

It is important to remember that once we allege that there was consent, we have to be able to back that up with evidence or proof. The burden is on us to show consent, so if the facts don’t support that argument, we won’t make it.

False Accusation

When we meet with clients accused of Sexual Battery, Brandy or I will usually ask them, “why would this person make this up?” We don’t ask that question because we don’t believe our client. We ask that because we need to know if the alleged victim has a reason or motive for making a false accusation.

This can be a highly effective defense if we are able to weave it into our overall strategy.

A quick example:

We defended a young man at trial a few years ago who was accused of Sexual Battery against a girl at a party. After an extensive investigation that included interviewing over 20 of their friends, ex-boyfriends, and ex-girlfriends, we learned that the alleged victim’s boyfriend had caught her with our client in a compromising position. He had caught her cheating in the past and had told her that if he ever caught her cheating again, he would break up with her. In her mind, she didn’t want to lose her boyfriend by admitting she had cheated, so she claimed it was rape.

After a very hard-fought trial, our client was found Not Guilty by a jury right here in Crestview.

I do not offer this example to brag, or to guarantee we can get the same result for you. I don’t know enough about your case to give you that assurance. However, the example above does give you an idea about what level of representation you should expect from whomever you decide to hire. We will put in the time that it takes to find the right angle of attack that can lead to victory.

Are there different levels of Sexual Battery? What is the penalty?

There are several levels of Sexual Battery. All of them are felony and all of them are punishable by at least 15 years in prison and a lifetime designation as a sexual offender.

Sexual Battery

Under Florida Statute 794.011, without any additional enhancements, Sexual Battery is a second degree felony with a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison.

Sexual Battery with Multiple Perpetrators

This charge is punishable by LIFE in prison.

Florida Statute 794.023 explains that the legislature intended to enhance the charge of Sexual Battery if multiple perpetrators were involved because, “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.”

Sexual Battery by a person in Familial or Custodial Authority

This charge is punishable by LIFE in prison.

This charge requires the State to prove the additional element of the offender being a family member, or having custody, of the victim.

Capital Sexual Battery

Capital Sexual Battery is a capital offense punishably by a mandatory sentence of life in prison if the crime was committed against a child younger than the age of 12.

Sexual Battery with Deadly Weapon or Great Force

According to Florida Statute 794.011(3), the maximum sentence is LIFE in prison if a person commits sexual battery, and in the process, uses or threatens to use a deadly weapon, or uses actual force likely to cause serious personal injury.

Sexual Battery with Victim Physically Helpless to Resist

This charge is a first degree felony with a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison if the victim was 18 years old or older. If the victim was younger than 18, the maximum sentence is life in prison.

Florida Statute 794.011(1)(e) defines physically helpless as “unconscious, asleep, or for any other reason physically unable to communicate unwillingness to an act.”

Sexual Battery with Coercion

The maximum sentence is 30 years in prison if the offender coerced the victim into submitting by threatening to retaliate against them, or by threatening to use force or violence likely to cause serious personal injury to the victim, and the victim reasonably believes that the offender has the ability to carry out the threat or the retaliation.

If the victim was under the age of 18, the maximum sentence is LIFE in prison.

Sexual Battery with Victim Physically Incapacitated

This enhanced level of Sexual Battery has a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison.

Florida Statute 794.011(1)(j) defines physically incapacitated as, “bodily impaired or handicapped and substantially limited in ability to resist or flee.”

If the victim was under the age of 18, the maximum sentence is LIFE in prison.

How do the sentencing guidelines affect a possible sentence for Sexual Battery?

The previous section discussed the different enhanced levels of Sexual Battery, and how the maximum sentence is affected. Another thing to keep in mind is determining the applicable minimum sentence under the Florida Punishment Code Scoresheet. Here are a few examples:

Sexual Battery without harm, threat, or coercion is a Level 8 offense which score 74 points. The sentence would be calculated as follows:

  • 74 points – 28 = 46. 46 x 0.75 = 34.5 months in prison.

If additional points for sexual penetration are added:

  • 74 points + 80 penetration points = 154. 154 – 28 = 126. 126 x 0.75 = 94.5 months in prison.

If additional points for sexual contact are added:

  • 74 points + 40 contact points = 114. 114 – 28 = 86. 86 x 0.75 = 64.5 months in prison.

Sexual Battery with a Deadly Weapon is a Level 10 offense that scores 116 points. The sentence would be calculated as follows:

  • 116 points – 28 = 88. 88 x 0.75 = 66 months in prison.

If additional points for sexual penetration are added:

  • 116 points + 80 penetration points = 196. 196 – 28 = 168. 168 x 0.75 = 126 months in prison.

If additional points for sexual contact are added:

  • 116 points + 40 contact points = 156. 156 – 28 = 128. 128 x 0.75 = 96 months in prison.

Contact a Crestview Sexual Battery Attorney

If you or a loved one have been charged with Sexual Battery Crestview, call Flaherty & Merrifield today at (850) 398-8098 for a free consultation.

Tim Flaherty
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Florida Criminal Defense Attorney