If you or a family member have been accused of a sex crime, this is an urgent matter that requires the immediate attention of an experienced sexual assault defense attorney in Tampa. Sex crime charges are extremely serious and often result in a lengthy prison sentence. In this two-part article, we will discuss Florida’s age of consent laws and several of the most common criminal charges stemming from sex crimes.
The Age of Consent in Florida
Throughout the United States, the age of consent ranges anywhere from 16 to 18 years of age. However, the age of consent always applies to the state the crime transpired in. For Florida, the minimum age of consent is 18 years old. In other words, individuals younger than 18 are not lawfully permitted to consent to participate in sexual conduct.
Statutory rape is the crime that transpires when an adult that meets the age of consent engages in sexual activity with an individual that does not meet the age of consent. Depending on the circumstances of the crime, in Florida, an individual charged with unlawful sexual activity with a minor can be charged with a second degree felony and serve up to 15 years in prison.
Legal Defenses for Statutory Rape
In statutory rape cases, there are few legal defenses that are permissible in court. For example, the argument of consensual sex cannot be applied nor can the defense of being unaware of the victim’s age. However, there are some exceptions including if the couple is married or qualify for a close-age exemption. Known as the “Romeo and Juliet law,” close-age exemption lawfully establishes that an underaged couple, or a young couple close in age, can engage in sexual conduct and not face prosecution. In Florida, this law applies to individuals that are 23 years of age and under that engage in consensual sexual activity with a person 16 years of age or older.
For more information on sex crimes in Florida, please read the second section.
For a free consultation with one of our experienced sex crime defense attorneys in Tampa, please contact 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.