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Statutory rape cases are not like rape cases because the victim cannot consent to sexual activity. Age of consent rules can be confusing in Florida if you are not familiar with the law. Florida law has exceptions to the age of consent of persons who are disabled and those who are between the ages of consent and the legally defined age of consent. The legal age of consent in Florida is 18 years of age. A person within the age of consent can have a sexual relationship with someone no older than 24 years of age. Florida law will not charge a person 24 or under with statutory rape for a sexual relationship or encounter with a minor of consenting age unless that minor is disabled.

Statutory Rape Charges in Florida

According to state law in Florida Code §794.05, statutory rape is defined as sexual encounters with a person under the legal age of consent. A child cannot consent to a sexual encounter, and anyone under the age of 16 is considered a child for the purposes of this law.

794.05 Unlawful sexual activity with certain minors. —

(1) A person s24 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, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084. As used in this section, “sexual activity” means oral, anal, or vaginal penetration by, or union with, the sexual organ of another or the anal or vaginal penetration of another by any other object; however, sexual activity does not include an act done for a bona fide medical purpose.

(2) The provisions of this section do not apply to a person 16 or 17 years of age who has had the disabilities of nonage removed under chapter 743.

(3) The victim’s prior sexual conduct is not a relevant issue in a prosecution under this section.

(4) If an offense under this section directly results in the victim giving birth to a child, paternity of that child shall be established as described in chapter 742. If it is determined that the offender is the father of the child, the offender must pay child support pursuant to the child support guidelines described in chapter 61.

Statutory Rape Fines and Penalties

Statutory rape is a serious crime in Florida. It is categorized as a second-degree felony. If convicted, a defendant could face 15 years in prison and fines of up to $10,000. If this isn’t a first offense or conviction, the penalties are harsher, and those convicted could face up to 40 years in prison. If the victim dies during the crime and it can be attributed to the statutory rape charge, the penalties could rise to the level of a death penalty case.

Statutory Rape is a Serious Crime Requiring a Serious Defense

If you’ve been charged with statutory rape, you don’t have any time to waste. You need to start working with legal representation immediately to mount a defense. If you’ve been charged with statutory rape, you need a Florida criminal defense attorney capable of creating an executable strategy for your case. The lawyers at Mitchell & West LLC have more than 100 years of combined experience. Our team can work to help you develop a strategy to fight your sexual assault charges. Call us today at (305) 783-3301 to schedule a consultation, or you can use our online contact form to request more information.