Fort Lauderdale Statutory Rape Attorney

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In the state of Florida, It is illegal for an adult over the age of 18 to have sexual relations or engage in any form of sexual conduct with a minor. To do so constitutes the crime of statutory rape. However, it's also possible to be found guilty of a sex offense even if you don’t engage in sexual intercourse; sexual activity alone is enough to warrant an offense in many cases according to Florida law.

At Hager & Schwartz, P.A., we recognize the stress and emotional turmoil you are likely experiencing if you are facing statutory rape or "sex with a minor" charges. We firmly believe that everyone facing the harshness of the criminal justice system deserves experienced and proven representation through every step of their case to give them the best possible chance at an ideal outcome.

At Hager & Schwartz, P.A., we understand the social stigma these charges often carry, and aren’t afraid to go up against prosecutors who seek the heaviest possible penalties. Call us at (954) 840-8713 for your FREE consultation.

Statutory Offenses in Florida

When most people hear the term “statutory offense,” they almost always think of statutory rape. However, this is just one of many different statutory offenses found in Florida law.

Some other statutory offenses can include:

  • Unlawful sexual activity with certain minors: When an adult over the age of 24 engages in “sexual activity” (including penetration) with a victim who is either 16 or 17 years old.
  • Lewd or lascivious offenses: When a perpetrator over the age of 18 intentionally engages in sexual activity with a victim who is under the age of 16 but at least 12 years old.
  • Traveling to meet a minor: When a person travels to engage in unlawful sexual conduct with a minor, after using an electronic device to entice them into engage in said conduct.
  • Soliciting a minor: When a person uses an electronic device capable of sending or storing data to seduce or entice a person they believe to be a child to engage in sexual conduct.
  • Sexual battery: When a person over the age of 18 “batters” a victim under the age of 12.

A statutory sexual offense in Florida is almost always considered a felony, with the only varying factor being what classification of felony. As such, those who are accused could face years in prison if they are found guilty. A felony of the third degree can carry up to five years in prison, a felony of the second degree can carry up to 15 years in prison, and a felony of the first degree can carry life in prison.

Penalties for Statutory Rape in Florida

In the state of Florida, the age of consent is 18. Anyone caught engaging in sexual acts with someone who is younger than 18 can be charged with statutory rape. What makes this charge different from other types of sex crimes, such as rape, is that minors are legally incapable of providing consent.

Statutory rape carries many consequences, which can include the following:

  • Second-degree felony charge
  • At least 15 years and up to 40 years in prison
  • Habitual offenders may receive life imprisonment
  • Death penalty if someone died as a result of the act

Statutory rape laws can be quite complicated. Cases can involve minors and their parents or other family members. Defendants can feel confused and taken aback by the accusation. There are so many provisions in the law, but there are also weaknesses that the defense can use to help their case.

Florida’s “Romeo and Juliet” Law

Named after Shakespeare’s classic play, the “Romeo and Juliet” law refers to an exemption which protects those who are close in age from being subjected to criminal accusations. To put it simply, minors who are 16 or 17 years old can legally engage in consensual sexual activity with anyone between the ages of 16 and 23. This is also often referred to as a “close in age” exemption.

Get Your Free Consultation: (954) 840-8713

If you are facing a charge as serious as statutory rape, you will need an experienced statutory rape lawyer in Fort Lauderdale to help you form a solid defense. Our attorneys have previously worked as prosecutors for the state, and have also practiced at different levels of Florida’s state courts.

We are prepared to fight your charges and protect your reputation. Call us now to schedule your FREE consultation. Available days, nights, and weekends.

Additional Resources:

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