Florida Crime on Decline, Rape on Rise
Despite the overall crime rate dropping across Florida, rape is still on the rise, according to the first half of the state crime data compiled on 2017. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement found that 6,000 fewer crimes had been reported across Florida in the first half of 2017 than in 2016, which represents a two percent decrease. However, individual counties had a wide variation; some counties experienced small decreases in crime while other saw overall crime increase. Crimes, throughout the state, that were on the decline include robbery, homicide, aggravated assault, larceny, domestic violence, and burglary. Rape, simple stalking and aggravated stalking, however, rose by 8.1 percent, 12.6 percent, and 2.4 percent respectively. Furthermore, rape with use of a firearm rose by 15.1 percent from the first half of 2016.
Rape (Sexual Battery)
Rape, or sexual battery, is defined in Florida statute 794.011 as any nonconsensual oral, vaginal, anal penetration or union of a sex organ with another. Sexual battery is a felony, and the degree of felony and punishment depends on the age of the victim, the age of the defendant, the physical injuries caused to the victim, and the use of a weapon. For example, sexual battery is a capital felony when the defendant is 18 years or older, the victim is under 12 years old, and the sexual organs of the victim are damaged, while an adult who commits sexual battery on another adult is a first degree felony. Punishment for a capital felony can be life in prison or the death penalty, while the penalties for a first degree felony are up to 30 years in prison.
Simple Stalking Vs. Aggravated Stalking
Simple stalking, also called stalking, according to Florida Courts, is willfully, maliciously, and repeatedly following, harassing or cyberstalking another person. Aggravated stalking, on the other hand, is:
- Willfully, maliciously, and repeatedly following or harassing another person with credible threats and the intent to place that person in reasonable fear of death or bodily injury;
- Willfully, maliciously, and repeatedly following or harassing a minor under the age of 16; or
- Knowingly, willfully, maliciously, and repeatedly following or harassing another person after an injunction for protection or any court-imposed prohibition of conduct has been issued.
Simple stalking is a first degree misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in jail, while aggravated stalking is a third degree felony, punishable by up to five years in prison. After a violation of an order for protection, a penalty for a minimum of 21 months in prison can be imposed. Aggravated stalking and simple stalking are both serious offenses, and need to be addressed by an attorney.
You Need to Call a West Palm Beach Criminal Defense Lawyer Today
Whether you have been charged with simple stalking, aggravated stalking, sexual battery, or sexual battery on a minor, you need an experienced criminal defense immediately. We encourage you to reach out to our West Palm Beach criminal defense attorneys of the Skier Law Firm today to set up a consultation at once.