Florida’s Statutory Rape Laws
Charges for unlawful sexual activity with certain minors, otherwise known as statutory rape, occur more often than you might think. While this offense may include acts such as an elderly man engaging in sexual activity with a 16-year-old, it’s quite common for someone in their mid-20’s to learn that the person they’re dating is under 18. People lie about their age all the time and a common misconception is that if both people consent, then there’s no problem.
However, that’s false. Statutory rape is an unforgiving charge that carries life-changing penalties. If convicted of this second-degree felony, you may suffer up to 15 years imprisonment and/or up to $10,000 fines.
Further, you may be required to register as a sex offender, meaning you’ll not only experience shame and embarrassment from your loved ones but also limited opportunities for employment, housing, financial aid and privacy. Florida’s Sex Offenders and Predators Search website allows all members of the public to access your personal information, including:
- Full name
- Criminal status
Thus, your livelihood may change for years following your release from jail. It’s devastating what a statutory rape charge can do, therefore it’s vital to defend yourself as soon as you’re aware of your charge and contact (407) 708-9127 to retain our Orlando sex crime defense attorneys.
Understanding Unlawful Sexual Activity with Certain Minors
Florida’s laws regarding unlawful sexual activity with certain minors state:
A person 24 years of age or older who engages in sexual activity with a person 16 or 17 years of age commits a felony of the second degree. “Sexual activity” means 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 activity does not include an act done for a bona fide medical purpose.
This law does not apply to a person 16 or 17 years of age who has had the disabilities of nonage removed under chapter 743.
- The victim’s prior sexual conduct is not a relevant issue in a prosecution under this section.
- If an offense under this section directly results in the victim giving birth to a child, the paternity of that child shall be established. If it is determined that the offender is the father of the child, the offender must pay child support according to the State’s child support guidelines.
FL Romeo & Juliet Law
High schoolers in Florida were once at risk of being deemed criminals for engaging in a consensual sexual relationship with their peers. For example, before 2007, a high school senior who dated a sophomore was at risk for facing sex crime charges.
Thankfully, that changed.
According to the state Senate, Florida’s “Romeo and Juliet” law was created during the 2007 Legislative Session to address concerns about high school age youth being labeled as sexual offenders or sexual predators as a result of participating in a consensual sexual relationship.
Florida’s “Romeo and Juliet” law does not make it legal for an 18-year-old to have a sexual relationship with a 15-year-old; however, it does provide a mechanism for the offender to pursue removal from the sex offender registration requirement.
Most importantly, the victim must be at least 14 years old, the offender no more than 4 years older than the victim at the time of the offense, and the victim must have consented to the sexual conduct.
Get Started on Your Legal Defense Today
Statutory rape charges can result in destructive outcomes for your future. You may have been tricked into believing your partner was 18 or older when in reality, they were 15. With social media being so prevalent these days, it’s easy for people to believe someone is older than they are. Catfishing is a common online phenomenon that fools people into thinking they’re talking to someone who, in reality, is faking their online presence.
As a result, you must protect yourself from sex crime charges and retain an attorney who obtains a proven track record for successful results and prosecutorial experience. At The Wiseman Law Firm, our founding lawyer has both attributes and more. We welcome you to contact us at (407) 708-9127 to learn how we can defend your charges!