How Is Sexual Battery Different From Assault and Battery?

We hear a lot about assault and battery cases in the news, but can assault and battery be associated with sexual battery and assault? You may be surprised to learn that these charges, although often occurring separately, may go hand-in-hand in some instances. 

In this brief article, we spoke to a criminal defense lawyer in Tampa at The Rickman Law Firm who shared some of the major differences between sexual battery and assault and battery, and a few examples of when they might occur together.

What Is Sexual Battery?

Florida Statute Chapter 794 defines sexual battery as what occurs when one party forces another person to engage in sexual intercourse without consent, in a manner that is against their will. If the victim is mentally incapacitated or passed out and is unable to give consent, it is also classified as sexual battery in Florida.

In other words, sexual battery is a broad term for rape. 

Punishments may become more severe if the victim was or is currently a minor, if there were multiple perpetrators, or if the offender was an officer of the law or in another position of power. These are all felony offenses, and may be punishable by a minimum of 25 years and a fine to all the way up to life in prison.

Definitions of Assault and Battery

The definitions of assault and battery may vary slightly between jurisdictions, and the punishments may vary as well. However, the following definitions may be used:

  • Assault is commonly defined as a threat of bodily harm that, according to the Cornell Law School, “Intentionally [puts] another person in reasonable apprehension of an imminent harmful or offensive contact.” To qualify as an assault, the aggressor doesn’t need to express intent to cause harm or follow through with inflicting physical harm on another person. For example, telling someone in a credible way “I am going to cut you!” may qualify as assault. 
  • Battery, on the other hand, is usually defined as the physical impact being inflicted on another person. In other words, assault becomes battery once an actual, physical altercation has taken place. Therefore, when a victim is threatened but not touched, the crime is categorized as assault. If the victim was touched in a painful, harmful, violent, or otherwise offensive or dangerous way, they are likely committing battery.

These differ greatly from sexual battery or sexual assault because these are more general crimes rather than specifically sexual. However, if you threaten someone by stating “I am going to rape you” then you have committed assault, and if you follow through, you have also committed sexual battery.

How to Defend Against Battery Charges

If you’ve been charged with battery, assault, sexual battery, or any combination of these, you’ll need a team of criminal defense law attorneys in Tampa to help. Contact The Rickman Law Firm today to understand each of your charges and find out the best way to defend yourself. 

For a free consultation with criminal defense law attorneys in Tampa, please contact The Rickman Law Firm today. 

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.


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