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Forcible Rape Crimes in Florida

In the state of Florida, the legal term for the crime of forcible rape is one type of “sexual battery.” In other states, the crime of rape might be called “sexual assault.”

Under Florida Statute Chapter 794), the term “sexual battery” means 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 committed without that person’s consent (if that person is an adult and otherwise able to consent).

The type of force allegedly used might include physical violence, coercion, or a threat of harm to the victim. The victim is not required to physically fight back. The term “forcible rape” is used regardless of whether the accused is a stranger or a non-stranger.

In Florida, crimes for forcible rape can be charged regardless of the gender of the person accused or the alleged victim, although the vast majority of accusations are a man being accused of raping a woman.

When the alleged victim is 18 years and older, many rape allegations involve a lack of consent because of “special circumstances” because of being mentally incapacitated, asleep, physically helpless, or unconscious due to the consumption of alcohol or controlled substances.

At least in Hillsborough County, FL, the crime of rape involving two adults is usually entered into the system as “SEXUAL BATTERY BY PERSON 18 OR OLDER UPON VICTIM 18 OR OLDER (SPECIFIED CIRCUMSTANCES)” which is a first-degree felony. The charge code is listed as SEXU4901. The crime might also be listed as “110A- 2 SEXUAL BATTERY-FORCIBLE RAPE.”

Attorney for False Allegations of Rape in Tampa, FL

The attorneys at Sammis Law Firm represent men who are falsely accused of rape and other sexually motivated crimes. Many of these allegations occur on college campuses or for people in a dating relationship.

After the alleged victim comes forward, the detective might ask the alleged victim to call the person being accused so that the conversation can be secretly recorded. This type of recorded phone call is known as the “control call.”

Although secretly recording a phone conversation is normally a crime under Florida’s two-party consent wiretap statute, an exception exists if the recording is made at the request of law enforcement in order to gather evidence in a criminal investigation.

The “controlled call” is often the most important piece of evidence because it helps law enforcement establish that the sexual contact actually occurred, even if the person on the call denies that the contact was without consent. The detective might also ask the alleged victim to text message with the person being accused or use other platforms such as social media to communicate.

After the controlled call, the person being accused might not realize that an investigation has begun until they receive a knock on the door by a detective.  Sometimes the detective will ask the person being accused to come to their office.

In a rape case, the detective’s goal during the interrogation is getting the accused to admit to as many elements of the crime as possible, including:

  • being alone with the alleged victim during a certain time period;
  • having intimate contact with the alleged victim that included penetration;
  • using physical force during the contact;
  • acting without the alleged victim’s express consent;
  • explaining what was said on the controlled call.

Even if you are completely innocent of any wrongdoing, you always right to remain silent and to have an attorney represent you at every stage of the investigation. People who are completely innocent and facing such a serious allegation should exercise those rights. It makes no sense to try and represent yourself or answer questions. Instead, remain silent until you can obtain an attorney to represent you.

For this reason, if you believe a false allegation of rape was made against you, then seek out the services of an experienced criminal defense attorney at Sammis Law Firm in Tampa, FL.

Call 813-250-0500.


Penalties for Forcible Rape Charges in Florida

The most common rape charges include “SEXUAL BATTERY BY PERSON 18 OR OLDER UPON VICTIM 18 OR OLDER (SPECIFIED CIRCUMSTANCES)” which is a first-degree felony punishable by up to 30 years in jail. The charge code is listed as SEXU4901.

The penalties are enhanced if the perpetrator of the sexual battery is in a position of authority over the victim such as a law enforcement officer, corrections officer, or probation officer.

Under Section 984.011(10), F.S., if a person falsely accuses any person of authority listed in the statute of sexual battery, then the person making the false allegation can be charged with a felony of the third degree punishable by five years in Florida State Prison.


Consent in Rape Cases in Florida

Consent means intelligent, knowing, and voluntary consent and does not include coerced submission. Florida law provides that consent does not mean the failure by the alleged victim to offer physical resistance to the offender.

If the victim is under 16 years of age, consent cannot be used as a defense to a sexual crime. Additionally, a 16-year old or a 17-year-old young person cannot legally consent to sexual activity with a person in a position of familial or custodial authority or to a person 24 or older.

When the alleged victim is 18 years old or older, the prosecutor might allege that the lack of consent occurred because the alleged victim was “mentally incapacitated,” “physically helpless,” or “physically incapacitated.”

Under Florida law, the definitions of those special circumstances related to a lack of consent include:

  • “mentally incapacitated” means temporarily incapable of appraising or controlling a person’s own conduct due to the influence of a narcotic, anesthetic, or intoxicating substance;
  • “physically helpless” means unconscious, asleep, or for any other reason physically unable to communicate consent or lack of consent; and
  • “physically incapacitated” means bodily impaired or handicapped and substantially limited in the ability to resist or flee.

Allegations of Rape on College Campuses in Florida

The number of allegations of sexual battery has risen dramatically on college campuses throughout Florida including the University of Tampa (UT) and the University of South Florida (USF) in Hillsborough County, FL. Many of these cases involve Title IX disciplinary actions by the college or university to expel the student from campus.

Allegations of “date rape” are shockingly common, especially since college students might drink to excess or use narcotics or both. At Sammis Law Firm, our attorneys have represented college students accused of rape.

We understand the special procedures used in these Title IX actions by the college or university.


The Rights of the Alleged Victim in a Rape Case

A victim of sexual battery can report the crime to law enforcement and can ask a prosecutor with the State Attorney’s Office to file a criminal complaint against the offender.

A victim has the constitutional right to be informed, to be present, and to be heard at all crucial stages of a criminal or juvenile proceeding, to the extent that this right does not interfere with the constitutional rights of the accused. Additionally, protections are provided under Marsy’s Law in Florida.


History of the UCR Program Definition of “Rape”

In 2013 the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reports (UCR) program began using a new definition of “rape” that includes incidents previously reported as sodomy.

Beginning with the data from 2013, Florida began complying with that definition. That same year, Florida modified the collection of rape data to include rape, attempted rape, and sodomy.  Additionally, the 2000-2012 UCR Offense numbers include sodomy to better reflect the new rape definition.

For the entire state of Florida in 2018, 8,105 rape cases were reported and 331 attempted rape offenses were reported. Of those cases of rape reported in 2018, law enforcement officers made 1,937 arrests for 1,684 were adults and 253 were juveniles.


Additional Resources

UCR Definition of Rape – Visit the website of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. Florida’s Uniform Crime Reports (UCR) program defines the term “rape” to mean the penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object, or oral penetration by a sex organ of another person or object, without the consent of the victim.  Rape also includes instances where the victim is incapable of giving consent because of temporary or permanent mental or physical incapacity (including due to the influence of drugs or alcohol) or because of age. Finally, the term rape, for purposes of the Uniform Crime Reports program also includes attempts to commit rape. Physical resistance is not required on the part of the victim to demonstrate lack of consent.


This article was last updated on Monday, September 21, 2020.

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