Statutory Rape | Fort Lauderdale Criminal Attorney

Statutory Rape:

Statutory Rape is a serious criminal offense resulting from nonconsensual intercourse or other sexually explicit contact between an adult 18 years or older and a minor.

Sexual battery on a minor is regarded as one of the most egregious criminal acts. As such, Florida has adopted stringent criminal procedure laws that, in many cases, limit the defenses available to a criminal defendant on trial for sexual battery. Florida Statute §794.021 prevents a criminal defendant on trial for statutory rape from testifying that they did not know the victim was a minor, or even that the minor misrepresented their age to the defendant. Essentially, any adult 18 years or older who engages in sexual conduct with another may be held strictly liable for statutory rape, regardless of any reasonable belief that the person was not a minor.

Florida has adopted the “Romeo and Juliet” exception to the Statutory Rape laws. Under the narrow exception, the law permits sexual relations between an adult and a minor over the age of 13; however, for this exception to be triggered, the adult cannot be more than 4 years older than the minor. For all other circumstances, statutory rape occurs as soon as the sexual contact happens, whether or not the alleged victim physically resisted the contact, or even welcomed it. This happens because, in the eyes of the law, a minor has not yet reached the age of consent.

Laws dealing with sexual assaults are specially written to try and level the playing field for the prosecution and defense. Traditionally, many criminal defendants charged with sexual assault claim that the encounter was consensual. For Statutory Rape, the prosecution does not need to hurdle this defense because inherently, the victim could not have consented due to their age.

The State of Florida has taken a bold stance on sexual offenses against minors, although cases can sometimes be difficult to prosecute. Essentially, the Statutory Rape laws have a dual purpose; this law places the blame squarely on the adult actor and holds them responsible for failing to take all precautions to prevent sexual contact with a minor, and second, the law seeks to protect the rights of victims, especially those of minors. Because the statutory rape laws are intended to protect minors from unwelcomed sexual contact by adults, contact between minors is not itself unlawful.

Fort Lauderdale Criminal Defense Attorney

These laws can be complicated and were drafted to prohibit a wide range of conduct. If you are facing a charge of Statutory Rape, a negative outcome of the case can be life altering. If you are facing State or Federal criminal charges, contact Kenneth Padowitz, P.A. for a free consultation to discuss this important matter. Fort Lauderdale criminal attorney Kenneth Padowitz, Esq. is aggressive in his representation. We provide a strategic criminal defense to those accused of Statutory Rape.

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