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Columbus Sexual Battery Attorneys

Accused of Sexual Battery in Ohio? Call LHA Right Away. Free Consults: (614) 500-3836.

Sexual battery is a serious crime with penalties that can impact every aspect of your life. The term itself can refer to sexual assault or rape. In Ohio, sexual battery is a felony, and the circumstances in each case will determine the degree.

If you have been charged with sexual assault or battery, you don’t have to face the accusations or the justice system alone. A Columbus sex crimes attorney from Luftman, Heck & Associates will review your case and provide counsel on how to proceed.

Call LHA at (614) 500-3836 or contact us online 24/7 for a free and confidential consultation.

Sexual Battery Charges in Columbus, Ohio

Ohio law defines sexual battery as sexual conduct with another person who isn’t the offender’s spouse without consent. This includes unsolicited sexual touching or misconduct involving specific individuals.

Some Ohio sexual battery statutes overlap with rape, the most extreme form of sexual battery. Specifically, rape occurs when a victim is compelled to participate in sexual intercourse against their will. Statutory rape is when the victim is below the age of legal consent, which in Ohio is 16.

Unlike many states, Ohio allows marriage as a defense to sexual battery. Nonconsensual sexual relations between married people can still be charged under specific categories of rape or other sexual offenses, but not sexual battery. This distinction can mean facing a felony or a lesser charge.

Examples of Sexual Battery

Ohio has 13 categories of sexual battery:

  • Coercion: When the offender “knowingly coerces” the other person to submit by any means that would keep another person from resisting
  • Substantial Impairment: If a victim is mentally or physically incapacitated due to alcohol or drug use, unconsciousness, or another impairment, they cannot consent to sexual activity.
  • Mistaken Identity: When the victim submits to sexual relations because they mistakenly identified the offender as their spouse, the offender was aware of the error.
  • Sexual Relations with a Legal Guardian or Caretaker: When the offender is the victim’s adoptive parent, biological parent, stepparent, guardian, custodian, or caretaker.
  • Sexual Relations with Other Persons with Supervisory Authority: When the offender is a figure of authority, like a teacher, college professor (when the victim is under 18), coach, counselor, medical professional, member of the clergy, a police officer, or peace officer.

Many of these sexual battery categories depend on whether the victim is a minor and/or placed in the offender’s care. Therefore, per the ORC definition, many do not consider consent as a factor when the offender is charged.

Sexual Battery Penalties

By default, sexual battery in Ohio is a third-degree felony. When the sexual battery involves anyone younger than 13, it is charged as a second-degree felony. The potential penalties also increase for repeat offenders and when other aggravating factors apply.

Although mandatory prison time might come with a sexual battery conviction, the precise consequences depend on the circumstances and the offender’s status.

Consequences of a Sexual Battery Conviction

  • Second-Degree Felony – Two to eight years in prison, a fine of up to $15,000, and registration on the Ohio sex offender list.
  • Third-Degree Felony– One to five years in prison, a fine of up to $10,000, and registration on the Ohio sex offender list.

Collateral Effects

The criminal penalties for sexual battery are harsh, but you also face long-term repercussions that will impact every area of your life, including:

  • Loss of reputation in your community
  • Negative opinions from friends and family
  • Difficulty obtaining or maintaining employment
  • Inability to find affordable housing
  • Loss of financial assistance for school
  • Loss of professional licenses

What Happens in a Sexual Battery Case?

As soon as you find out you face sexual battery charges, it is crucial to act quickly and enlist the help of a lawyer. A sexual battery attorney can work with you to gather evidence supporting your account of the incident and begin to raise doubt concerning the prosecution’s case.

If you act early, you can avoid forgetting important details or losing evidence that could prove your innocence.

When the Investigation Begins

Once a sex crime is reported to law enforcement, it is usually the first time the responding officer has contact with the victim. Most of the preliminary information about the incident will come from the victim’s point of view.

Your First Interview

Once an investigator believes you could be a suspect in a sexual battery case, they will probably reach out to schedule a formal interview. They’ve likely had time to investigate your background, looking over your criminal history or any other pertinent information. And even if they should be keeping an open mind, investigators may be biased during interviews with a sexual battery suspect.

During this interview, investigators check to see how closely your answers align with the alleged victim’s story. They will need to prove what happened. Remember, you don’t have to answer their questions without your lawyer present.

What Evidence Can Be Used Against Me?

Suppose you’ve been accused of sexual battery. In that case, the prosecuting attorney will need to prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt to a jury, and they’ll use a variety of evidence to accomplish this.

Some of that evidence can be DNA samples from hair or body fluids at the scene, messages between you and the victim, witness statements, medical records, photographs or videos, or other evidence gathered at the location of the crime.

What To Do if I’ve Been Accused of Sexual Battery?

If you’ve been accused of sexual battery, there are steps you need to take. Start keeping a record of everything, like keeping a record of any interactions between yourself and the alleged victim before the incident or any subsequent communications. You should also keep a list of witnesses who saw you interact with the victim. If you can, write a timeline of the incident’s events.

It’s essential to stay quiet: don’t talk to police or investigators without a lawyer, don’t publish anything on social media, and most importantly, stay away from the victim and their family. You’re more likely to get into more hot water than improve your case if you talk too much, so it’s best to turn to a knowledgeable lawyer.

A Sexual Battery Attorney in Ohio Can Help

Aside from highlighting flaws in the evidence, a defense lawyer can shield you from making things worse by handling all communication with law enforcement. Many people who don’t feel as though they did anything wrong will try to explain away sexual battery accusations themselves. However, they often incriminate themselves or make statements that are misinterpreted and used against them. Having a lawyer assist with any statement is best, so your rights are respected.

Your lawyer will also work to find gaps,  cast doubt on the prosecution’s case, or find defenses that can help. Some of the defenses include:

  • Marriage: If you and the alleged victim are married, you cannot be charged with sexual battery in most cases. An Ohio House Bill introduced in 2021 seeks to eliminate marital exemptions for crimes such as a sexual battery, but it is still under consideration.
  • False Allegations: False allegations can arise for several reasons, such as if the accuser seeks revenge against you or regrets the sexual encounter. It can be tough to prove false allegations of sexual battery.
  • Consensual Sexual Activity: You can claim that the sexual activity between you and the accuser was consensual. However, this defense only applies to adults and cannot be used in cases of statutory rape if the alleged victim is under 16.

How To Deal With False Allegations of Sexual Battery?

If you’ve been accused of sexual battery and believe the allegations are false, you should immediately contact an experienced sexual battery attorney. While proving false accusations can be difficult, you will have a better chance of building a case with an attorney’s assistance.

Some allegations result from cases of mistaken identity, a false memory, or the victim simply claiming you committed sexual battery. Sometimes, false allegations are used in contentious custody battles after a divorce, or the victim may be seeking financial compensation.

Your attorney will work to disprove these claims with your help, so keep track of anything that can prove you weren’t near the alleged victim at the time of the crime.

For any sexual battery case, you must retain all interactions, like text messages, voicemails, or social media posts, between yourself and the victim. Deleting them will not only make you seem guilty, but you could lose valuable evidence for your case.

Contact a Columbus Sexual Battery Attorney

At Luftman, Heck & Associates, we will determine if the charges against you have been fabricated. We will also investigate if the police investigating the case made any errors. Our work will focus on building you the most vigorous defense possible from start to finish.

LHA is here for you. A Columbus attorney from our team can evaluate your case and provide you with solid representation to defend your rights and fight to minimize or eliminate adverse outcomes.

Call us at (614) 304-3404 for a free consultation.

I can FINALLY breathe easy now. I want to thank Mr. Bowen and all the attorneys that helped me with this case.

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