Defending a College Student Against Sexual Battery Charges
Spring Break in Florida has been a college tradition for decades. Every year, thousands of young people converge on the state’s beaches for a week of sun, fun and inhibition. But sometimes, the excitement of the season turns into a negative, as excessive alcohol and other substances lead to bad decision-making by males and females. What may result is a situation where the future of a young college student is placed in jeopardy.
Several news outlets are currently reporting about an alleged gang-rape that occurred in the middle of a crowded Spring Break beach. CNN reports that the incident came to light when a young woman recognized her tattoos in a video posted by authorities. According to law enforcement officials, the alleged assault involved three assailants, who are accused of drugging the 19-year-old woman and raping her as members of the crowd witnessed the incident. According to authorities, these types of incidents are a common occurrence during Spring Break, with numerous cases going unsolved.
Two of the accused parties were recently arrested and charged with sexual battery. Though their guilt or innocence has yet to be determined in a court of law, their pictures are plastered across national news outlets and they were reportedly suspended from their university, where one was a student athlete.
The Law in Florida
Sexual battery and rape are synonymous within the state of Florida. The statute defines the crime as “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.” An important aspect of the Spring Break case is the allegation that the woman was drugged. Under Florida law, this condition would fall under the classification of mental incapacity, which the state defines as being “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…”
Sexual battery is felony and the penalties vary, depending on the circumstances surrounding the case.
If the victim is under the age of 12 and the offender is under the age of 18, it is considered a life felony and penalties may include a fine and up to life in prison.
If the victim is over the age of 12 and the offender is over the age of 18, with violence, a threat of force or incapacitation of the victim, it is considered a first degree felony and penalties include a fine and up to 30 years in prison.
These hefty penalties, along with the collateral damage of a sexual battery charge, exemplify the importance of presenting an adequate defense for your college student. When defending these types of charges, the attorney may argue that the sexual encounter was consensual or that accused lacked mental capacity to control his or her behavior, which is often the case when alcohol and substance abuse is involved.
If your college student is facing sexual battery charges, our Miami attorneys can help ensure his or her rights are protected throughout each step of the way. Contact Ratzan & Faccidomo, LLC today at (305) 330-3905 for a confidential and free consultation.