The fall football season has been off to a bumpy start criminally speaking. Several National Football League players have been charged with serious crimes since the beginning of the 2014 season and now it appears that the trend has extended onto the collegiate football field.
Yahoo! Sports is reporting this week that the University of Florida, acting swiftly, has indefinitely suspended freshman quarterback Treon Harris from the universitys football team. Harris is being accused of sexually assaulting a female student in a residence hall on the colleges campus over the weekend, although, no formal charges have been filed against the player. The Universitys police department is currently investigating the incident and working with the Gainesville police in the collection of forensic evidence. Harris was considered a contender for the teams starting quarterback position for the game against Louisiana State University.
Florida State University experienced a similiar situation last season with their star quarterback Jameis Winston. Winston had faced felony charges after being accused of sexually assaulting a woman at an off-campus apartment on Dec. 7, 2012. Unlike Harris’s situation, Florida State allowed Winston to stay with the team, eventually winning the Heisman Trophy and leading the Seminoles to the National Championship in 2013.
A sexual battery in Florida is committed when someone engages in either:
Generally, sexual battery in Florida is illegal and punished as a felony. Punishment for the crime of sexual battery will vary by degree depending on both the ages of the offender and the victim and any surrounding circumstances. For example, if the victim is mentally impaired or intoxicated at the time of the battery, the offender may face a harsher penalty if convicted.
Most felonies in Florida are designated a level based on the circumstances and then a penalty based on the statutory Criminal Punishment Code. If convicted of a sexual battery and:
Individuals accused of sexual battery in Florida have several legal defenses available to them in order to establish their innocence. Three of the most common defenses are:
Also, it is important to remember that ignorance of the victims age is never a defense to sexual battery in the state of Florida. And further, in Florida, there is no defense to a sexual battery or rape that occurs within the context of a marriage.
Being accused of sexual battery is a very serious situation. You will need a competent attorney to represent you during your trial or the appeal process. Please contact us if you or someone who know needs further information or help with a criminal appeal in Florida.
Speak with an appellate lawyer.