Sex with a Minor: Statutory Rape Laws

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Statutory rape is not a petty crime. Although it originated from old English law, it is an offense which still tends to carry serious social stigma and severe criminal consequences. Having sexual relations with a minor who cannot consent is an offense that excludes some of the most common defenses for sex crimes, which can make the charges difficult to beat.

Age Of Consent

Statutory rape is a sexual violation that does not take consent into consideration. The law defines an age of consent, which can vary from one state to another. When people reach this age, they can decide whether or not they want to engage in sexual behavior. The law, however, disregards the possibility that people below this age can volunteer their bodies for sexual purposes.

A common misconception about statutory rape is that the crime applies only to adults who have sex with minors. State laws vary in their treatment of this situation but consensual sex between two people who are both below the age of consent can result in the prosecution of one or both of them. It is also possible for a minor who is above the age of consent to be charged for having sex with a minor who is not.

Sexual Acts

Many people also fail to understand that it is possible to be charged with statutory rape even if there is no intercourse. Laws commonly include other sexual acts that involve minors, such as oral stimulation that is provided or received.

Gender

Statutory rape laws are not gender specific. Either males or females can be prosecuted. It is often found, however, that males are charged more and given harsher punishments than females.

Punishment

Age often factors into the severity of the crime. The younger a child and the older the adult, the more severe the crime will be in many states. These offenses are also commonly judged more harshly if the accused was in a position of authority over the minor, such as a teacher or a clergy member.

Those found guilty of statutory rape become convicted felons. Individuals can be ordered to serve decades in prison, and in some states there is a possibility to receive a life sentence. Furthemore, many become sex offenders, thereby requiring enlistment on the sex registry.

Taking It Serious

If you or your child have statutory rape charges, it is imperative that you consult with a sex offense attorney. Lack of a strong legal defense can equate to not have a defense at all. Do not be fooled into underestimating the seriousness of these charges or the difficulty involved in fighting such a case.

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