In Florida, it is illegal for a person age 18 or older to have sex with someone under the age of 18, even if the sex is consensual. The reason for this is that minors are not capable of giving informed consent to sex in the eyes of the law. Those who break this law have committed the crime of statutory rape. However, Florida has what is called a “Romeo & Juliet” law which removes the requirement of registry as a sex offender or sexual predator in certain situations.
The Romeo & Juliet Law applies when the following criteria is met:
- The victim is between the ages of 14 and 17
- The victim was no more than four years younger than the offender
- The victim must have been a willing participant in the sexual activity
- The offender does not have any previous sex crimes on their record
Statutory rape is still a serious offense that requires an experienced criminal defense attorney. The law does not make sex with a minor legal; it simply stops the accused person from having to register as a sex offender. If convicted, a person may still be subject to fines and imprisonment, so it is important to seek help with your charges to potentially avoid maximum penalty.
If you have been accused of statutory rape or another sex crime, you need to put a qualified attorney on your side. At Perlet, Shiner, Melchiorre & Walsh, P.A., our West Palm Beach sex crime attorneys aggressively defend the rights of the accused and never back down from a fight if it means protecting our clients’ futures. Although you may be going through a stressful and frightening time, you are not alone in your fight. Our former prosecutors are ready to guide you and keep you informed about the status of your case from start to finish.
Call today to schedule a free and confidential case evaluation: (561) 349-4856.