In the era of the #MeToo movement, allegations of sexual assault and battery are being taken more seriously now than ever. That is a good thing in many cases, but if you stand falsely accused, especially if you’re a student living on a college campus where the court of public opinion can make a swift judgement, it can be frustrating and difficult to know where to turn for help.
In this brief article, we spoke with a sexual assault defense attorney in Tampa with the team at The Rickman Law Firm to understand the possible consequences of a false accusation while in college, and how to defend yourself if you stand falsely accused.
In Florida, various acts can be considered sexual assault, sex crimes, and abuse. These include (but aren’t limited to):
Sexual battery, which is included in the list above, is defined by Florida Statute Chapter 794 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.
According to research, in an analysis of sexual-assault cases at a large university for a 10-year period, a study found that only 35.3% of cases led to formal charges or discipline against the accused. But that doesn’t mean you’re out of the woods, the odds may not always be in your favor.
On the legal end, 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, you’ll face felony charges punishable with a minimum of 25 years in prison. Even if the victim doesn’t fit within this criteria, you may be facing serious jail time which can ultimately lead to financial hardship and loss of future opportunities.
At the university level, you may be faced with multiple semesters of suspension or even expulsion, loss of credits earned, and an inability to transfer to another university or college. You may also be excused from extracurricular activities, such as participating in sports, which could impact your ability to qualify for scholarships. You also may face loss of financial aid.
As if that weren’t enough. you may also face a civil lawsuit from the victim or the victim’s family. It’s of the utmost importance that you hire a sexual battery attorney in Tampa if you’ve been wrongfully accused to help you prevent these possible outcomes.
If you’re facing accusations of sexual assault of any kind, but especially if you’re a student on a college campus, contact The Rickman Law Firm. Your attorney will help you understand the best possible defense if you are charged and will help you navigate how to defend yourself both legally and at the university levels. They will also discuss legal questions you may have, help you understand the statute of limitations, and help you prove your innocence.
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.