Florida’s Statutory Rape Laws & The Age of Consent
“Statutory rape” refers to the illegal sexual relations between a minor – or someone below the age of consent – and an individual of age. In Florida, the age of consent is 18. Persons below the age of consent cannot legally consent to having sex, which means that anyone over the age of consent who engages in sexual relations with someone below the age of 18 – even if the minor gives his or her consent – is in violation of the law, and may be charged with statutory rape. An individual charged with statutory rape in Florida faces several harsh punishments, and must deal with additional consequences for the rest of his or her life.
However, there are exceptions to the “18 as age of consent” law under Florida law. At The Baez Law Firm, our Orlando sex crimes lawyers can help you form a defense to statutory rape charges and ensure that they do not follow you around for the rest of your life.
Florida’s Age of Consent Laws
While the age of consent is 18 in Florida, the state has several provisions that allow and disallow sexual conduct between certain aged individuals. For instance:
- Florida Statute 794.05 is Florida’s provision on sexual battery, and states that any sexual activity between two individuals – one aged 16 or 17 and the other aged up to 23 – is not illegal. However, if an individual aged 24 and up should engage in sexual activity with a person who is 16 or 17-years of age commits a felony of the second degree;
- Florida Statute 800.04 is Florida’s provision on lewd and lascivious behavior, and states that any person who is over 18-years of age who engages in any sort of sexual conduct with an individual who is 12-years of age or older but younger than 16-years of age, commits a felony of the second degree; and
- Florida Statute 794.011 deals with the laws regarding sexual relations between a person over the age of 18, and either a person 12-years of age and younger or a person of any age who does not give his or her consent. If a person violates any aspect of this statute, they may be found guilty of a felony of the first degree, a capital felony, or a life felony.
“Ignorance of age” is not a valid defense to statutory rape charges, according to Florida Statute 794.021, no matter how “mature” a victim may appear to the average observer.
“Romeo & Juliet”
Florida has what is known as the “Romeo & Juliet” law, which is a law that is applied to Florida statutory rape cases in which the individuals are close in age. Under Florida Statute 943.04354, an individual is not guilty of statutory rape if a) the “victim” was between the ages of 13 and 17, and b) the perpetrator was no more than four years older than the victim. Furthermore, any individual convicted of statutory rape prior to the law’s enactment in 2007 – and if their case meets the provisions set forth in Statute 943.04354 – may remove their name from the mandatory registration as a sexual offender or predator.
Your Defense to Statutory Rape Charges in Orlando, FL
If you have been charged with statutory rape in Florida, the Orlando sex crimes lawyers at The Baez Law Firm will evaluate every aspect of your case and gather as much evidence as is available in order to form a solid defense on your behalf. There are many avenues to explore in statutory rape cases, and we are willing to explore every single one until we have a strong defense to the charges brought against you. Do not hesitate, and contact the Orlando sex crimes lawyers at our criminal defense firm at 800-588-BAEZ right away.