Statutory Rape or Unlawful Sexual Activity with Certain Minors

Sex Crime Lawyer Advocating for Clearwater Defendants

Each state has its own rules about when a child comes of age, such that they can consent to participating in sexual activity. In Florida, the age of consent is 18. Having sex with someone under the age of consent can result in charges of statutory rape or unlawful sexual activity with certain minors. However, there is an exemption for people who are close in age. If you are charged with statutory rape, you should take the charges quite seriously. In some cases, they can result in a requirement that you register as a sex offender and affect the rest of your life. At Hanlon Law, Clearwater statutory rape defense lawyer Will Hanlon strongly believes in the rights of the accused, and he provides tenacious defenses for his clients.

Statutory Rape or Unlawful Sexual Activity with Certain Minors

Statutory rape laws are based on the idea that it is not possible for a person under a particular age to give true consent to sexual activity. Statutory rape can be charged even if the minor did not tell you their age, told you a false age, or seemed genuinely interested in having sex. There are four different types of age of consent violations, and any of them can be used to prosecute a violation of the age of consent law as statutory rape. How serious the charge is depends on which sex acts were involved (whether there was penetration, touching, or simply plans to meet for sexual purposes), as well as the ages of both the perpetrator and the victim.

A prosecutor does not need to prove assault or injuries. Instead, statutory rape can be prosecuted as either sexual battery or lewd and lascivious sexual battery. Lewd and lascivious battery can be charged when the prosecutor alleges that you were an adult who engaged in sexual penetration with a minor who was 13, 14, or 15 years old. The penalties for a conviction that you may face depend on the circumstances, but they can include a maximum of 15 years’ imprisonment. However, a statutory rape defense attorney in the Clearwater area can help you try to avert or minimize the penalties.

When a minor with whom you engaged in sexual penetration is 16 or 17, and you are at least 24 years old, you can be charged with unlawful sexual activity with certain minors. This charge carries a possibility of 15 years’ imprisonment, $10,000 in fines, and 15 years’ probation.

In some cases, it is possible to plead to a lesser charge. For example, lewd and lascivious conduct includes any sexual touching between someone over the age of consent and a minor who is younger than 16. When there is no actual sexual contact, it is possible that a Clearwater statutory rape defense attorney can help you get probation for a first offense, rather than imprisonment. However, another possible charge that may be charged along with statutory rape is contributing to the delinquency of a minor. This carries a penalty of 2-6 years in prison.

When statutory rape does not actually occur, you may still be charged with traveling to meet a minor if you arrange to meet with a minor for sex over the Internet or by phone. This is a third-degree felony, for which you can face up to 15 years.

You can be required to register as a sex offender for statutory rape except when you fall into what is known as the Romeo and Juliet exception. This exception was developed to protect a teenager who engages in consensual sex with another teenager close in age from being stigmatized for that choice for the rest of their life. The exception applies if the minor victim is 14-17 years old, and you are at most only four years older than the victim.

Often, people argue that they did not know that the victim was underage. However, in Florida, not knowing the victim's true age is not a defense.

Retain an Experienced Statutory Rape Defense Lawyer in Clearwater

Like other criminal charges, statutory rape must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. There may be ways to attack the charge with the help of an experienced attorney. If you are being investigated for statutory rape or unlawful sexual activity with certain minors, it can be helpful to retain an attorney even before formal charges are filed. Our founder, Clearwater criminal lawyer Will Hanlon, has been providing criminal defense representation since 1994. You can call Hanlon Law at 727-897-5413 or complete our online form.

Client Reviews
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As a practicing attorney, I was shocked to hear that a family member of mine was alleged to have committed a sex crime. Knowing full well the consequences this type of allegation can have on anyone and their future, I immediately reached out to William Hanlon for help. I had every confidence that Mr. Hanlon had the knowledge, expertise, and experience to handle this problem. Approximately 4 weeks from an initial conference with Mr. Hanlon, we received a call with the news that a letter of release was being issued and the case was being dropped. Now my family member can finally exhale, take a deep breath, and go on with his life. Thank you, William!
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Was on the ball. Remembered names, events, places, situations. Never need to re explain the situation. Keeps in touch through out the entire experience and keeps you feeling safe, comforted and protected. Fights hard. Worth every single penny. Would never settle for anything less than Will. Carrie
★★★★★
I was facing a charge that if convicted would carry two years in prison minimally. Not only was he empathetic and listening to what I had to say but he arranged with the prosecutor for my charges not to be filed under terms of a pre trial investigation. Would highly recommend. Alec
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I am very happy for what he did for me. Always there when I needed him. Explained everything well. He Fights for his clients. He got me what I needed. Hes an excellent lawyer. Mutaz
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Mr. Hanlon did what no other lawyer could do. Not only did he turn my criminal history into a thing of the past so I could move on, he was a loyal associate. No matter how bad the situation is, he has miraculously cleared me on every charge since he became my lawyer 5 years ago. I have the best lawyer that the legal system has to offer. I have had other really good lawyers try to get my business, but I know that no one can do a better job than William Hanlon. Jesse