Statutory rape is a serious offense in the United States. According to the United States Department of Justice, approximately one statutory rape occurs for every three forcible rapes that involve a juvenile victim, and these are only taking into account the rapes that victims report to law enforcement.
Every state has its own variations on statutory rape laws, and it is important to understand the local laws, as well as what may happen if a judge finds you guilty of the offense. You could face harsh penalties, including jail time, and the subsequent criminal record can impact the rest of your life.
If you are facing charges for statutory rape, contact Leader & Leader P.A. for advice. Michael D. Leader is an experienced Fort Lauderdale criminal lawyer who is renowned for his ability in the courtroom. Leader & Leader, P.A. has nearly eight decades of combined legal experience; we can evaluate your charges and construct your defense.
Call us today at 954-523-2020 to schedule an appointment, and we will discuss what you can expect given your specific criminal charges. Read on for more information regarding statutory rape in Florida.
Definition of Statutory Rape
There is a specific Florida Statute that defines statutory rape in the state. Generally speaking, statutory rape happens when an individual who is of or older than the legal age of sexual consent engages in intercourse with someone who is not. Additionally, any contact that is sexual in nature can give rise to criminal charges without actual intercourse!
Most states designate the age of consent in an arbitrary fashion, and it varies widely across the country. It is important to keep in mind that the legal age of consent in your state may not be the same as in a neighboring state. Statutory rape is also a strict liability crime, which means that it is not an adequate defense to claim that the victim consented to the intercourse or that you were not aware of the victim’s age at the time of the incident.
The Age of Consent
According to federal laws in the United States, it is a criminal offense to engage in a sexual act with someone between the ages of 12 and 16 years old if they are four or more years younger than you. Each state also takes its own approach to the age of consent, and most states consider the relative ages of both people when defining statutory rape laws. In the state of Florida, the age of consent is 18, and it is illegal for anyone who is older than 24 years old to have sexual intercourse with someone who is under 18 unless the two are married. The applicable ages of the individuals involved and severity of the offense can change depending upon the circumstances, mental capacity, the accused being in a position of care of authority over the alleged victim as well as other factors.
The best way to avoid statutory rape charges is to be sure that the individual is above the legal age of consent in your state. Even if the underage person shows you a false identification demonstrating they are of legal age it is not a defense. In Florida and most jurisdictions, statutory rape is a strict liability offense meaning if it occurred, there is no defense! Despite that, we have had successful outcomes in this area for our clients including dismissal. In our most recent case, we were able to prevent an arrest or any criminal charges being pursued because our client was wise to retain us early before any formal allegations had been made. If you are unsure about the severity of your criminal charges or have questions pertaining to statutory rape, call Leader and Leader P.A. for advice.
We are available to help you understand the severity of your charges and prepare your defense. Call Fort Lauderdale criminal attorney Michael D. Leader today at 954-523-2020 or e mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.