I Was Catfished By a Minor, Will I Get Charged With Statutory Rape?

Catfishing is a relatively new concept, gaining more notoriety as social media has become more prevalent. With online interactions playing a large role in our day-to-day activities, it has become even more important to discern any potential legal issues.

Furthermore, an individual who is being catfished is still going to be held legally responsible for any sexual encounters that occur between the parties. If you have been catfished by a minor, immediately reach out to a rape defense attorney in Tampa with The Rickman Law Firm to get skilled legal protection and representation.

What Is Catfishing?

Catfishing is the creation and usage of false and deceptive online personas to interact with unsuspecting individuals. This can involve anything from using fake photos to creating entire life stories. Sometimes, an individual may catfish to seem more attractive than how they perceive themselves to be when they are offline. 

While the act of catfishing itself can seem relatively harmless, it can bear intensely severe legal implications when it results in sexual activity with a minor – regardless of what the minor said their age was.

Does Consent Play a Role?

While verifying the age and identity of individuals can sometimes be challenging, individuals interacting with minors online can face serious legal consequences. In Florida, the age of consent is 18 years old, and engaging in sexual intercourse with a minor could end up resulting in a statutory rape charge, even if the minor claims to be of legal age. 

Working with a felony defense attorney in Tampa with The Rickman Law Firm can help position you to receive the most favorable outcome possible for your case. As outlined in Florida Statute 794.05, the individual who is of age could face a felony of the second degree, which could result in up to 15 years of prison, heavy fines, and mandatory registration on the sexual offender list.

What Are the Next Steps?

If a minor has catfished you, the first thing you should do is seek skilled legal representation from a rape defense attorney in Tampa with The Rickman Law Firm. They will take the time to meticulously look through the evidence to create as strong of a defense strategy as possible. Lack of knowledge about the minor’s age, demonstrating due diligence in verifying identity, and considering the role of parental consent can all be potential legal defenses that your felony defense attorney with The Rickman Law Firm may choose to use in the courtroom.

As soon as you find out that you have been catfished, it is also important to preserve anything that can be used as potential evidence to help your attorney build your defense strategy. This can include any digital message, calls, or any other piece of evidence that could help your case.

With over 40 years of experience, The Rickman Law Firm has the top felony defense attorneys in Tampa. Reach out to our office 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We are here for you.

Call our office at (813) 370-1185 or fill out the consultation form on our website. Get the strong legal representation you deserve with The Rickman Law Firm today. 

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.

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