Victims of sexual exploitation may find some relief in the knowledge that sex abuse and assault laws in West Palm Beach support them. In addition to criminal penalties such as jail time and fines, a convicted assailant could be ordered to pay damages to their victim at the conclusion of a successful civil case.
If an abuser sexually abused you or someone you love, you should be informed of your legal rights and options for recovery. The best way for you to learn more about what could be possible in your circumstances may be to contact a seasoned sexual abuse attorney.
Criminal Law Regarding Sexual Abuse
West Palm Beach adheres to several Florida state laws which criminalize sex abuse and assault. Their applicability depends on circumstances such as the ages of the victim and perpetrator, the type of abuse that was inflicted, and whether the assailant has any prior convictions on their record.
According to Florida Statutes §775.082, a perpetrator of sexual battery upon a person under the age of 12 who injures their sexual organs could be charged with a capital felony. This is punishable by the death penalty or life in prison with no chance of parole under Fla. Stat. §921.141.
Additionally, those who commit sexual battery by using or threatening to use a deadly weapon or physical force likely to cause serious personal injury on a victim who is 12 years of age or older could face charges for a life felony. Fla. Stat. §775.083 makes this punishable by life in prison or a shorter term in addition to a fine of up to $15,000.
Civil Laws for Sexual Assault
If a sexual assault survivor pursues civil damages, Florida’s civil codes apply. For example, Fla. Stat. §768.73 allows plaintiffs to ask a judge or jury to assign punitive damages in addition to general and specific damages for things such as pain and suffering and medical bills. Furthermore, Fla. Stat. §95.11 gives plaintiffs four years from the date their abuse or assault took place to file a civil lawsuit.
A defendant on trial for criminal charges may attempt to make a plea deal with the prosecution in order to avoid a trial and whatever penalties a court might impose on them. Similarly, the defendant of a civil sex abuse case could reach a monetary settlement with the plaintiff, which can be a preferred resolution that saves a victim from enduring an emotionally taxing trial.
However, a plaintiff is not obligated to settle their case before trial if they do not want to. Claimants should discuss their case and settlement offers with a skilled lawyer to determine the best course of action for their particular situation.
Learn More from an Attorney about Sex Abuse and Assault Laws in West Palm Beach
If you suffer sexual assault or abuse from someone else, you could turn to an experienced and compassionate attorney to assist you with filing a civil case regardless of any concurrent criminal charges. Find out more about sex abuse and assault laws in West Palm Beach by scheduling a consultation with qualified legal counsel today.