What is Statutory Rape in Florida?
Laws that prohibit sexual activity with a minor, even when the minor is a willing participant are referred to as “Statutory Rape” laws. These provisions make it illegal to have certain types of sexual activity with minor’s a crime even if the underage person was a willing participant, even an initiator to the activity.
Florida 16 to 24 Law
Florida has crafted such a provision so that if an adult under the age of 24, has consensual sexual activity with a 16 or 17-year-old, then that activity is no longer illegal. Specifically, Fla. Stat. §794.05 allows for an adult between the age of 18 and less than 24, to legally have consensual sexual activity that includes, oral, vaginal or anal penetration with a 16 or 17-year-old.
This age protection against prosecution for consensual activity with 16 and 17-year old’s does not apply to any non-consensual activity against the 16 and 17-year old, including but not limited to, Sexual Battery pursuant to Fla. Stat. §794.011, or Lewd and Lascivious Conduct pursuant to Fla. Stat. §800.04.
Any adult 24 years or older who has sexual activity with a 16 or 17-year-old commits a 2° Felony that is punishable by up to 15 years in prison. Consent is not a defense under this section, nor is any previous sexual activity even admissible under this provision, if the offender is over 24.
Furthermore, if the 16 or 17-year-old becomes pregnant, then child support will also be determined and ordered.
This statute that bans consensual sexual activity of a 16 or 17-year-old with anyone over the age of 24 does not apply to 16 or 17-year old’s who are emancipated (legally considered an adult) pursuant to Fla. Stat. §743.
A person who is of the protected age group (18 – under 24) will not be prosecuted, and will not have to register as a sex offender under Fla. Stat. §943.0435, as long as the sexual activity is consensual. Nor will the qualified adult have to be concerned about applying for exemption for registering under Florida’s Romeo & Juliet provisions of Fla. Stat. § 943.0454
Defense for Statutory Rape Charges
Throughout our experience, we have unfortunately seen cases where a scared 16 or 17-year-old who is discovered to be sexually active, and out of fear, embarrassment or other motives says the conduct was not consensual. We have been successful by discovering other facts that circumstantially indicate that the sexual activity was consensual despite the initial report. This type of defense requires experience, subtlety and discretion to be effective.
If you are between the ages of 18 and 24, and you are facing an allegation of sexual activity with a 16 or 17-year-old, contact the experienced Tampa sex crime attorney at Taracks & Associates.