Florida’s Statutory Rape Law
In the United States, the age of consent is the minimum age at which a person is considered legally old enough to consent to participate in sexual activity. In Florida, the age of consent is 18 years old, which means individuals aged 17 or younger are not legally able to consent to sexual activity, and such activity may lead to statutory rape charges.
Statutory rape is prosecuted under Florida’s sexual battery, as well as lewd and lascivious conduct, laws. The penalties depend on the ages of the defendant and victim.
The following are the types of sex crimes considered as statutory rape in Florida:
Unlawful sexual activity with certain minors – Sexual penetration between a minor who is 16 or 17 and an adult who is at least 24 years old, punishable by a maximum prison sentence of 15 years and/or a fine of up to $10,000.
Lewd and lascivious molestation – Sexual touching between a minor and an adult. If the victim was 15 or younger and the defendant was 18 or older, penalties include a maximum prison sentence of 15 years. If the victim was younger than 12 and the defendant was 18 years or older, penalties include at least 25 years (and up to a life sentence) in prison.
Lewd and lascivious conduct – Sexual touching between a minor younger than 16 and an adult, punishable by a maximum prison sentence of 15 years.
Lewd and lascivious battery – Sexual penetration between a minor who is 13, 14, or 15 years old and an adult, punishable by a maximum prison sentence of 15 years.
Keep in mind, sexual activity between an individual who is 16 or 17 and another who is at most four years older is not considered illegal under Florida law, due to the state’s “Romeo and Juliet Law.” Since many cases of statutory rape involve people who are close in age, this law allows offenders to remove their names from mandatory registration as a sexual offender.
If you have been arrested for statutory rape in Florida, request a free case evaluation with our St. Augustine criminal defense attorneys at Albaugh Law Firm today.