She Said She Was 22

  • Mar 27 2019

You met at an over-21 club… It doesn’t matter.

She told you she was in college… It doesn’t matter.

She looked older… It doesn’t matter.

She hit on you… It doesn’t matter.

She said she was 22… It doesn’t matter.

In Florida, you will be charged with statutory rape if you have sexual relations with someone under the age of 18. If you don’t put up a strong defense, you might be branded a sex offender for the rest of your life.

There is no such thing as “consensual” sex with a minor.

In today’s #metoo culture there is a big emphasis on consent. And for good reason. Too many people have been pressured to take a relationship further than they would like by a partner who wants more. But all the talk about what consent looks like often skips over an important fact — some people are legally unable to give their consent, no matter how emphatically or often they say yes.

People under the age of 18 are legally unable to consent to sexual relationships with adults. This means a person under the age of 18 can want to have sex, seek out a partner, and lie about their age, but the law will still treat them as if they did not consent.

Because the law is what prevents someone under the age of 18 from giving consent, engaging in sexual activity with a person under the age of 18 is known as statutory rape.

Statutory Rape Is A Serious Offense

If you are convicted of statutory rape, you may have to serve time in prison and will have to register as a sex offender for the rest of your life. This makes it extremely difficult to find housing, get a job, and move on with your life once you get out of prison.

Working with an experienced criminal defense attorney to try and get the charges against you thrown out or downgraded is the best shot you have for salvaging your dignity and your future.

Available Defenses

There are several ways to defend yourself against a charge of statutory rape.

Florida’s “Romeo and Juliet” exception to our state’s statutory rape law is intended to protect young lovers from being branded sex offenders for the rest of their lives. If a 14 to 17 year old minor had a “consensual” sexual encounter with someone no more than 4 years their elder, the adult will not be required to register as a sex offender, but may still be charged with a crime.  

You may also be able to put up a strong defense by attacking the evidence the state has against you.

A he said-she said situation, with no other evidence is a weak case for the state to take to trial, and they know that. At Valiente, Carollo and McElligott PLLC we have had success getting charges dropped or reduced under these circumstances.

We also aggressively attack evidence that was unconstitutionally obtained. No matter how serious the charges, we believe the government must respect the rights of defendants.

If you have been charged with statutory rape, and you don’t know where to turn for help, please reach out to our office to schedule a free meeting and case evaluation.

Posted in: Sex Crimes