Home Laws US State Laws What is Sexual Battery? – Definition, Charges and Sentence

What is Sexual Battery? – Definition, Charges and Sentence

sexual battery

Sexual battery definition by law varies by state, but generally considered a serious sex crime that involves oral, vaginal or anal penetration of another by a person using their sexual organ or an object against the victim’s will. The heinous act is also known in lay parlance as Rape, an act which constitutes a violation of a persons right to their body.

Beside the physical harm, sexual battery also leaves a person with psychological trauma that may stick with a victim for life. A guilty verdict carries a mandatory prison sentence, the duration of which is dependent on the degree of the charge and the aggravating factors, if any.

In this article, we will discuss the definition of battery in law, what is sexual battery, the aggravating circumstances, the degrees of charges and the sentencing. Keep reading to know more.

Definition of battery in law

Battery definition in law refers to a criminal offence involving the unsolicited and unwanted physical contact of another person. Unlike assault which involves a threat of physical force, actual physical contact is required for a charge of battery to stick.

Sexual battery sentence

sexual battery meaning

The definition of sexual battery according to the Florida Penal Statute s. 794.011 refers to the “oral, anal, or vaginal penetration by, or union with, the sexual organ of another or the anal or vaginal penetration of another by any other object; however, sexual battery does not include an act done for a bona fide medical purpose

Sexual Battery definition Ohio

Sexual battery definition Ohio Revised Code ORC states that, a person is guilty if they engage in sexual conduct with another who is not their spouse and:

  1. The offender forcefully restricts the victim such that they can’t resist their unwanted sexual conduct.
  2. The offender knows the victim is intoxicated or substantially impaired know or control what is going on.
  3. When the victim is mentally incapacitated to know the offense being perpetrated against them.
  4. when the victim is physically impaired such as severely disabled to resist
  5. sexual battery by an authority figure: When the victim is a minor and the offender has supervisory role or authority over the victim. e.g. when victim is in legal custody or offender is victim’s teacher etc.
  6.  When victim is a minor and the offender is the victim’s athletic coach or instructor.
  7.  When the victim is a minor and the offender is cleric whose congregation the victim belongs.
  8. The victim is in a detention facility and the offender is worker at the facility.
  9.  When the offender is a mental health professional and the victim is a patient.
  10. When the offender is a peace officer and the victim is a minor and has an age difference exceeding two years.
  11. when the offender is the victim’s natural or adoptive parent, or a stepparent, or guardian, custodian of the victim.
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Definition of sexual battery terms


means intelligent, knowing, and voluntary consent and does not include coerced submission. “Consent” shall not be deemed or construed to mean the failure by the alleged victim to offer physical resistance to the offender.

Mentally defective

means a mental disease or defect which renders a person temporarily or permanently incapable of appraising the nature of his or her conduct.

Mentally incapacitated

means temporarily incapable of appraising or controlling a person’s own conduct due to the influence of a narcotic, anesthetic, or intoxicating substance administered without his or her consent or due to any other act committed upon that person without his or her consent.


means a person accused of a sexual offense in violation of a provision of this chapter.


helpless means unconscious, asleep, or for any other reason physically unable to communicate unwillingness to an act.


includes, but is not limited to, threats of future physical punishment, kidnapping, false imprisonment or forcible confinement, or extortion.

Serious personal injury

means great bodily harm or pain, permanent disability, or permanent disfigurement.

Physically incapacitated

means bodily impaired or handicapped and substantially limited in ability to resist or flee.

Sexual battery charge

A charge of sexual battery without an aggravating factor is a felony of the third degree. If the victim is less than thirteen years of age, SB is a felony of the second degree in Ohio. In Florida, same crime on victim less than 12 years constitutes a first degree felony.

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Sexual battery Ohio sentencing

The sentence for a sexual battery conviction depends on the degree of the felony charged with and whether or not an aggravating factor exists. The minimum charge is usually a third degree felony and the highest being a capital felony charge.

Third degree felony sexual battery

For a third degree felony, a minimum sentence of 9 months and up to three years in prison applies, according to the Ohio Revised Code Definite prison terms guideline.

Second degree felony

A person faces an indefinite prison term with a stated minimum of between two years and eight years if found guilty of SB of the second degree in Ohio.

In Florida, second degree felony for SB is punishable by up to 15 years in prison and fines.

As is the case in most sex crime convictions, offenders will also be required to register as sex offender on the registry, an indelible record that follows offender for the rest of their life.

What is aggravated sexual battery?

Aggravated sexual battery

A sexual battery is said to be aggravated when the offender, in the commission of the crime, used force, coercion or a weapon, resulting in serious physical harm or injury to the victim.

Typical aggravating factors include:

  • Possessing a firearm during the commission of the crime,
  • Displaying the firearm, brandishing the firearm or using it to facilitate the commission of the crime,
  • Coercing victim by use of force or threat of physical force, retaliation,
  • Causing injury to the genitals of the victim,
  • Causing other bodily harm to the victim,
  • When victim is a minor,
  • When victim is a child under 12 years of age,
  • Repeat offenders, among others.
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Aggravated sexual battery sentence

In Florida, aggravated sexual battery is classified as either a first degree, life felony or capital felony depending on the aggravating conditions.

The sentence for aggravated sexual battery ranges from 8 years to life imprisonment. In extremely aggravating circumstances where a capital felony charge is applied, the death penalty can be sought by prosecution.

Is sexual battery a felony or misdemeanor?

In many US states, sexual battery is the most serious form of sex crime and constitutes a felony.

Sexual battery vs Rape

Sexual battery and rape refers to the same sex crime. Both involves the oral, vaginal or anal penetration of another without consent, or in the case of minors and the mentally incapacitated or impaired, inability to give consent.

Sexual imposition vs Sexual battery

Sexual imposition differs from sexual battery in that, sexual imposition involves the unwanted touch of another in a sexual manner while sexual battery involves sexual penetration with a sex organ or an object without consent.

The main difference between the two is that, sexual battery involves penetration while sexual imposition involves unwanted touching.

Sexual battery vs Sexual assault Ohio

Sexual battery refers to the sex crime involving the oral, vaginal or anal penetration of the another without consent. Sexual assault on the other hand is a blanket term that describes several sex crimes such as rape, sexual imposition, groping, Gross sexual imposition, among others.


Sexual battery is a very serious sex crime which is punishable by up to life imprisonment and in some circumstances, by death in the US. If found guilty, offenders will permanently be on the sex offenders register, which will affect future opportunities and even quality of life.

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