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Sexual assault crimes are terrible for victims, and they are also terrible for the community. These types of crimes make residents feel uncomfortable and unwell. New laws are being put into place each year to strengthen sexual assault penalties and protect victims. Governor DeSantis is scheduled to sign HB 1189, which provides additional support for sexual assault victims in the state. The new law stipulates that health department professionals receive additional training as part of a more efficient response team coordinated by the county or regional rape crisis center.

The new law requires the creation of a minimum standard of uniform skills and continuing education by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE.) The Criminal Justice Standards and Training Commission and the Council Against Sexual Violence will provide better responses to sexual assault victims that are informed. The FDLE requires minimum standards for training officers regarding how to handle every aspect of sexual assault investigations properly and more effectively. The new law's goal is focused on providing victims with greater access to empathetic and compassionate investigators who will be trained with response techniques. The department has until July 1, 2022, to meet these requirements. The additional skills will be taught in a certification course that includes cultural sensitivity training that is informed and provides examples and procedures for interviewing victims of sexual assault. Better training will lead to better outcomes for victims of sexual assault in Florida and more sound evidence for prosecution.

Sexual Assault and Florida Law

If a person is convicted of sexual assault in Florida, the penalties can range, but they start at 15 years in prison with fines of as much as $10,000. The worst sexual assault crimes can carry a penalty of life imprisonment, the death penalty, and fines as high as $15,000. Sexual assault crimes are increasing in Florida, and the result is a state crackdown on prosecution and laws providing better resources to victims. According to Florida Statute 794.0115, a person who has been charged with sexual assault or battery may be determined to be a dangerous criminal with a proclivity for pursuing and committing sexual crimes. Repeat offenders or those who are accused of a serious personal injury using a deadly weapon in the process of committing a crime categorized as a sexual offense will face a mandatory minimum of 25 years in prison. Florida has also imposed enhancements for repeat offenders so that a sexual crime will carry the standard penalty with an additional imprisonment period of five or more years without parole.

Sexual Crimes in Florida Require a Strong Defense Team

The State of Florida is working hard to prosecute sex crimes and ensure the safety of its citizens. Aggressively pursuing crime can lead to broad charges and cases that may not stand up in court. If you have been charged with a sexual crime in Florida, you will need a serious legal defense team. It’s imperative to start formulating your defense strategy today. The lawyers at Mitchell & West LLC have more than 100 years of combined experience. Our team can work to help you develop a strategy to fight your sexual assault charges.

Call us today at (305) 783-3301 to schedule a consultation or to request more information.