How to Build a Defense to a Statutory Rape Charge

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Statutory rape is a serious offense. If charged it is important that you start building a statutory rape defense. It is a felony crime in all states. Conviction will result in a prison term.

Statutory Rape

Rape is defined as a non-consensual sexual intercourse with another person. Statutory rape is defined as non-forcible sexual intercourse with a person who is below the statutory age of consent. Even if the person has consented to the sexual relationship, it will still be considered statutory rape. Statutory age of consent is determined by state law and ranges from 16 to 18 years of age. If convicted, you can face severe penalties including prison term, rehabilitation, fines and probation. An adult convicted of statutory rape must register his or her name in the state sex offender registry. In many states adults convicted of statutory rape can be prohibited from voting and owning a fire arm.

Affirmative Defense

Statutory rape is considered a heinous crime. The principle of presumed innocent until proven guilty will not hold true in the case of a statutory rape charge. The prosecution in a statutory rape case does not have the burden of proof. So you must prove your innocence. Consent cannot be a defense to a statutory rape charge. The defenses to a statutory rape charge will depend on the state law. In some states if the age gap between the victim and the accused is less than a prescribed limit, then the accused can use affirmative defense. However the burden of proof is on the accused to prove that the age difference is within the prescribed limit.

Mistake of Age

In some states you can plead mistake of age. If you were under the impression that the person with whom you had consensual sexual intercourse is over the statutory age of consent, then you can plead mistake of age as a defense. However the burden of proof is on you. Sometimes you can also argue that the victim was sexually experienced even before your encounter.

Getting Legal Help

Statutory rape is a criminal offense. Having consensual sex with a person under the statutory age of consent is a strict liability crime in most states. As the prosecution does not have the burden of proof, most statutory rape charges result in a conviction. If you are charged with statutory rape, consult an experienced child molestation attorney to build a defense.

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