It is sadly common for adults to mistake a teenager to whom they are attracted as someone older. In some instances, minors obtain identification stating that they are older than they are for the purposes of engaging in adult activities, such as going to nightclubs. However, Florida laws protecting minors are harsh. You can be charged and convicted of statutory rape, even if you genuinely believed that a minor was an adult, since a minor cannot give meaningful consent to sex. In Florida, the age of consent is 18. If you are accused of having sex with someone under the age of 18, Bradenton statutory rape defense lawyer Will Hanlon can fight for your rights. He also can assist people charged with sexual battery or other sex crimes.Fighting Allegations of Statutory Rape
In Florida, if the State becomes aware of a sexual relationship between a minor and an adult, the State can prosecute the adult if it has enough evidence to do so. These charges can be brought even when the minor and the minor’s parents do not want the adult to be prosecuted. If the court convicts an adult perpetrator of statutory rape, the result can be substantial prison time and the requirement of registering as a sex offender.
Statutory rape may be charged as sexual battery or as lewd or lascivious battery, which is a type of lewd or lascivious crime. It can also be charged as unlawful sexual activity with certain minors. There are certain provisions of the law that permit sexual conduct between people of certain ages, while disallowing sexual conduct between people of other ages. A statutory rape defense attorney in the Bradenton area can explain these nuances to you. Under Florida Statute section 794.05, sexual activity between someone who is 24 or older and someone who is 16 or 17 can result in the older person facing second-degree felony charges. Under Florida Statute 800.04, anybody who is over 18 is committing a second-degree felony when they have any sort of sexual conduct with a person who is 12-16 years old.
There are also other charges that may take the place of or accompany statutory rape charges. When a minor is impregnated due to statutory rape, the adult can also be charged with contributing to the delinquency of a minor. If you filmed or photographed an interaction with the minor, you may face a child pornography charge.
Sometimes a statutory rape conviction can result in a requirement that the adult register as a sex offender. People who fail to register when required to do so can face additional criminal charges. However, there are certain situations in which a Bradenton statutory rape defense attorney can help you request the removal of the requirement that you register as a sex offender, such as the Romeo and Juliet exception. This allows you to remove this requirement in a situation in which the victim was 14-17, and you were older than the victim by at most 4 years. For example, if you were charged with statutory rape of a 15-year-old when you were a 16-year-old, even though the sex seemed to both of you then to be consensual, you may be able to get the registration requirement removed.
Unlike with other rape charges, you cannot defend against statutory rape charges by claiming that the minor consented. Minors are considered legally unable to provide consent for sexual activities. However, like other charges, statutory rape must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. In some cases, we may be able to raise a reasonable doubt as to one or more elements of the charge. Certain witnesses may not be credible. There may also be issues that can be raised in connection with medical evidence.Consult an Experienced Statutory Rape Defense Lawyer in Bradenton
Statutory rape is a charge that is aggressively pursued in and around Bradenton. Many people are surprised to learn that ignorance of the victim's true age is not a defense. You cannot even raise this defense if a minor tricked you about his or her age. This is one reason why it is so important to seek counsel. If you believe that you are being investigated, you should consult a skillful trial attorney as soon as possible. Will Hanlon has provided strong legal representation to people accused of sex crimes since 1994. Contact Hanlon Law at (941) 462-1789 or via our online form.