Florida’s Laws on Statutory Rape
Many people have misconceptions about statutory rape laws. In Florida, if you are 24 or older, and you engage in sexual activity with someone who is under the age of 18, then you are guilty of statutory rape. Even if both of you were willing participants in the sex, and there was no force involved, you are still guilty of statutory rape. Even if the person you had sex with lied about his/her age, and you genuinely believed that you were having sex with another adult, you are still guilty of statutory rape.
Florida’s statutory rape laws can apply even when both parties are under the age of 24. Individuals under the age of 16 are considered too young to legally consent to sex with anyone. This means that even individuals younger than 24 can face charges for statutory rape if they have engaged in sexual activity with someone 15 years old or younger.
If you are wondering what the definition of “sexual activity” is, Florida’s statutory rape statute defines it as “oral, anal, or vaginal penetration by, or union with, the sexual organ of another or the anal or vaginal penetration of another by any other object” – with the exception of acts done for a bona fide medical purpose.
Another important piece of information to know is that the statute of limitations in Florida for statutory rape is three years. This means that if three years have passed since an alleged incident of statutory rape, and no charges have been filed, then the accused party cannot face charges for the incident going forward.Different Types of Criminal Offenses
Under Florida law, there are five specific criminal offenses that are considered forms of statutory rape. These are:
- Unlawful Sexual Activity With Certain Minors – this term refers to sexual activity between an individual who is at least 24 years old, and another individual who is 16 or 17 years old.
- Lewd or Lascivious Conduct – this term refers to an individual intentionally touching someone under 16 years old in a lewd or lascivious manner, or solicits a person under 16 years old to commit a lewd or lascivious act.
- Lewd or Lascivious Battery – this term refers to an individual engaging in sexual activity with an individual who is 12, 13, 14 or 15 years old; or an individual encouraging, forcing or enticing someone who is less than 16 years old to engage in an act involving sexual activity.
- Lewd or Lascivious Molestation – this term refers to individual touching in a lewd or lascivious manner the breasts, genitals, genital area, or buttocks – or the clothing covering those areas – of a person who is less than 16 years old; or to an individual forcing or enticing someone less than 16 years old to touch them in such a manner.
If you have been arrested for statutory rape, or accused of it – or if you believe you may have committed statutory rape – it is extremely foolish to talk to anyone other than your attorney about your situation. Fort Lauderdale criminal law attorney Mark S. Lowry has years of experience with sexual assault cases, and you can call or contact his offices today.