Statutory rape differs from the traditional definition of rape in that it is based on the premise that minors do not have the mental and emotional capacity to consent to certain sexual activities, especially if the offender is older than the minor. For example, under Florida law, “[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” regardless of consent.

Categories of Statutory Rape

There is no one “catch all” statute governing statutory rape in Florida, as the nature and penalties for the offense are dependent on the ages of the victim and offender. The following sexual encounters are punishable as felony offenses in Florida:

  • Sexual activities by a person over the age of 24 with a person 16 or 17 years of age: Second-Degree Felony;
  • Sexual activities with a minor under the age of 12 by a person over the age of 18: First-Degree/Life Felony;
  • Sexual activities with a minor under the age of 12 by a person under the age of 18: Second-Degree Felony;
  • Sexual activities with a minor between the ages of 12-15 by a person over the age of 18: Second-Degree Felony; and
  • Sexual activities with a minor between the ages of 12-15 by a person under the age of 18: Third-Degree Felony.

Defenses to Statutory Rape 

Because the offense of statutory rape is based on the victim’s age, consent is not a defense to statutory rape. Lack of consent is presumed by the statute and cannot be rebutted. Further, lack of knowledge as to a victim’s age, even if the victim lied to you about his or her age, is also not a defense to statutory rape. Anytime, as an adult, you have sexual contact with a person under the age of 16 or 18 depending, you are in danger of being convicted of a felony that can follow you throughout the course of your life.

Contact an Experienced St. Petersburg Criminal Defense Attorney Today 

Statutory rape can be a difficult concept to grasp for some offenders, as there are those who did not believe they were committing a crime at the time of the act. Florida’s statutory framework can be confusing, and although a lack of knowledge and consent are not defenses to statutory rape, a qualified criminal defense attorney can analyze your case and assist you in either defeating the charges or achieving the best sentencing result. The Khonsari Law Group has the attorneys you need to answer your questions and protect you throughout the criminal justice process. Contact them today for a free, confidential consultation online or at (727) 269-5300. 

1http://www.leg.state.fl.us/statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&URL=0700-0799/0794/0794.html