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Understanding statutory rape under Florida law

When it comes to sexual conduct in the state of Florida, age isn't just a number.

The state has a statutory rape law on the books which sets the age at which a person can consent to intercourse with another person at 18. However, minors who are aged 16 or 17 can consent to intercourse with individuals under the age of 24, and adults in that situation cannot be charged with statutory rape, unless the minor is disabled.

Who can be charged with statutory rape?

A person over the age of 24 who has intercourse with a minor can face statutory rape charges, even if the intercourse was consensual.

Individuals 18 to 24 can also face statutory rape charges for having non-consensual intercourse with minors ages 16 or 17. Minors under the age of 16 cannot provide consent; their parents have the authority of consent on their behalf.

When can statutory rape charges be filed?

In the state of Florida, statutory rape charges must be filed within three years of the incident. If more than three years have passed, criminal charges cannot be filed.

Who files statutory rape charges?

Oftentimes, these charges are pressed by the parents of minors who are in relationships with adults that the parents disprove of. In other cases, a minor may press statutory rape charges against an ex after a relationship has ended.

What are the potential penalties for a statutory rape conviction?

Individuals who are convicted of statutory rape face up to 15 years in prison. Penalties get even more severe if it was not the individual's first statutory rape offense. For example, someone with two or more past convictions can face up to 30 years in prison.

As you can see, this is not a situation to take lightly. The outcome of the charges depends on the specific facts of the case and how effective the defense strategy is.

Of course, someone who was in a committed relationship with a minor will typically face a less severe outcome compared to someone who appeared to have taken advantage of a minor.

It is up to the defense lawyer to make sure the court knows when an actual relationship existed, even if it was against the parents' wishes or it ended in a breakup.

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