What is Statutory Rape?

Statutory rape is a broad term which refers to an age difference where the law says that one person involved in what would otherwise be a consensual sexual encounter is not old enough to legally consent. Typically, anyone who is 18 years of age or older is deemed old enough to consent to sex with someone also 18 years of age or older unless one person claims it is nonconsensual. This is the common law definition of rape. Statutory Rape refers to the age of the alleged victim where they are deemed too young to consent. Usually, this age is under 18 years old. These may be so-called “Romeo and Juliet” relationships that most people do not report. It is common for the parents of an underage female to report this kind of sexual activity and it is possible for there to be a criminal prosecution.

It’s important to consult an attorney if law-enforcement contacts you regarding alleged incidents where you have had sexual contact with a minor even if you were in a relationship with that minor. Often times, where the age disparity is not so great and there was an ongoing relationship, an attorney can assist in helping to persuade the State to not file felony charges. Do not think that this can never happen to you. If the parents of the minor are persistent in pushing for prosecution, the State is under an obligation to go forward with the laws regarding sexual battery, investigate, and possibly prosecute.

Written by

Ray Lopez has practiced since 1990, with prior experience as a Hillsborough County assistant State attorney and lawyer for the Tampa Police Department. He handles all criminal charges, from traffic violations and misdemeanors to serious felonies and federal drug charges. He practices in all state and federal courts of the Tampa Bay area and throughout Florida, as well as criminal appeals, juvenile court, administrative hearings, and civil forfeiture proceedings.

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