Orlando Statutory Rape Defense Attorneys
Were You Charged With Statutory Rape in Orange County or Seminole County?
Statutory rape is unlike rape because it involves a legal adult engaging in sexual activity with a person who is below the age of consent (a minor), even if such acts are consensual. The term "statutory rape” confuses many people due to the inclusion of the word "rape," but don’t be fooled, the consequences for a statutory rape conviction are no less severe than those for a rape conviction .
Each state defines its age of consent differently but in Florida, the age of consent is 18. However, certain exceptions may help get your statutory rape charges drastically reduced or dismissed altogether. Our mission at The Law Office of Carrie L. Rentz, P.A. is to help you get the best possible results in your case. With her prosecutorial insights and 15 years of legal experience, Attorney Carrie Rentz delivers the powerhouse defense that your freedom and future depend on, therefore you should begin fighting your charges with our Orlando statutory rape attorney as soon as possible.
Schedule a consultation online or by calling 407-904-7376. We defend clients across Orange County and Seminole County.
Statutory Rape Laws in Florida
Several laws prohibit sexual activity between people of certain ages in Florida. Florida’s statutory rape laws include the following:
- Under its sexual battery provisions, Florida Statutes Section 794.05 defines unlawful sexual activity with certain minors as a person who is 24 years old or older engaging in sexual activity with a 16 or 17-year-old. If convicted, you will get a second-degree felony charge punishable by up to 15 years in prison and/or $10,000 fines.
- According to Florida Statutes Section 800.04, a person commits lewd or lascivious battery if they engage in sexual activity with a person who is 12-years-old or older but less than 16. This is a second-degree felony offense.
- Lewd or lascivious molestation is defined as a person who intentionally touches in a lewd or lascivious manner the breasts, genitals, genital area, or buttocks, or the clothing covering them, of a person less than 16 years of age, or forces or entices a person under 16 years of age to so touch the perpetrator. The consequences depend on the age of the minor at the time of the offense.
- Statutory rape is treated differently in Florida as compared to many other US states. It is a serious crime that is punished quite harshly, as convicted offenders must enroll in Florida’s Sex Offender and Predator System in most cases. Thus, not only do offenders suffer fines and jail time but also decades of humiliation and restrictions upon their release as labeled sex offenders.
- Lewd or lascivious is when a person intentionally touches a person under 16 years of age in a lewd or lascivious manner or solicits a person under 16 years of age to commit a lewd or lascivious act.
- Section 794.011 of the Florida Statutes concerns sexual relations between an adult and a person who is 12-years-old or younger or does not consent to such sexual relations. Typically, violations of this provision result in first-degree, life or capital felony charges.
"Romeo and Juliet" Law
Unlike many other states, Florida recognized a need to address high school age youth being labeled as sex offenders due to their engagement in consensual sexual relationships. High school students will inevitably enter dating relationships with their peers and participate in sexual activity as a result. As such, Florida passed the "Romeo and Juliet” law to better prevent high school age youth from suffering detrimental consequences such as barriers to employment and higher education.
Under Florida’s "Romeo and Juliet” law, it is illegal for an 18-year-old to have a sexual relationship with a 15-year-old, however, it provides a way for offenders to petition or motion the court to remove the requirement to register as a sexual offender if certain criteria are met.
Even if a defendant met all the criteria, the prosecution might reject their petition for the following reasons:
- defendant’s criminal history
- evidence of similar uncharged/non-arrested behavior
- the situation appeared more coercive than consensual
- offender provided drugs or alcohol to the victim
- prior warning by parents or others to stay away from the victim
- the defendant had multiple charged and uncharged relationships with minors
- the offender "targeted” the under-age victim on a web or chat room
- the offender was in a position of authority over the victim
Essentially, the "Romeo and Juliet” law in Florida gives defendants more options to avoid the devastating outcomes of being labeled as a registered sex offender. As such, this could result in more young people suffering fewer legal punishments upon their statutory rape convictions.
Are You Facing Statutory Rape Charges in Orlando?
When you’re facing statutory rape charges, you do not have the luxury to wait around and see what happens. What may happen is a criminal conviction, which can best be prevented by equipping yourself with proven legal defense right away. When you do, you will soon learn why Attorney Carrie Rentz is right for you.
Contact our Orlando statutory rape defense attorney by calling 407-904-7376! We proudly defend clients in Orange County and Seminole County.