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Statutory Rape

Florida statute § 794.05 states it is illegal for an adult to have sex with a (a person younger than 18). This applies even if the sex was consensual. An adult who has had sex with a minor has committed the unlawful offense of statutory rape. Anyone charged with statutory rape should contact a criminal defense attorney.

Under Florida law, the prosecutor does not have to prove there was any sort of assault. It is also not a viable defense under Florida law to declare that the defendant was ignorant of the victim's age, the victim's misrepresented his or her age, or the defendant having a bona fide belief of the victims age.

The age of consent in Florida is 18. However, things can be complicated when you have a relationship between two young teenagers who are above or below that age or other circumstances. If you have been charged with statutory rape in Florida, it is essential that you contact an practiced criminal defense attorney.

Gainesville Attorneys for Statutory Rape Charges, FL

Statutory rape charges can land you with heavy penalties and a negative social stigma. Situations and circumstances can be complex and the courts may not always interpret that. This is why it is important to get legal representation as soon as possible if you've been charged with statutory rape.

Our attorneys at Galigani Law Firm are qualified in Florida criminal defense laws. Galigani Law Firm has over twenty years of experience in criminal defense and has reduced or diminished many Florida statutory rape cases. We are understanding of our client and want to protect your rights. We have handled many cases throughout the greater Alachua County area and surrounding counties including Baker County, Marion County, Bradford County, Gilchrist County, Levy County, Union County, and Marion County.

Every plan has a first step. Take that first step with us. Dial (352) 375-0812 or schedule an online contact form today.

Overview for Statutory Rape Charges in Florida


Statutory Rape Defined under Florida Statute § 794.05

The term "statutory rape" is defined under Florida Statute § 794.05 as an adult performing any sexual activity with a minor. The following are elements that the prosecution must prove beyond all reasonable doubt to convict the accused of statutory rape.

  • At the time, the defendant was 24 years of age or older;
  • The victim was 16 or 17 years of age;
  • The defendant committed an act with the victim in which either;
    • The sexual organ of the defendant penetrated or had union with the mount, anus, or vagina of the victim;
    • The sexual organ of the victim penetrated or had union with the mouth, anus, or vagina of the defendant.
  • The committed an act with the victim in which the vagina or anus of the victim or defendant was penetrated by a foreign object.

Florida Statute § 794.05(1) states that sexual activity does not include an act done for a bona fide medical purpose.

The statute of limitations for statutory rape is three years. Meaning the victim of statutory rape must file a claim or press charges within three years of the statutory rape for the charges to remain valid.


Penalties for Statutory Rape Charges in Florida

Statutory rape is classified under Florida's sexual battery, and lewd and lascivious conduct laws. The penalties for statutory rape are dependent on the ages of the defendant and victim. The following are some possible penalties that a person could face if they are charged with statutory rape.

Any person found guilty of statutory rape may face a second-degree felony conviction. The penalty for a second-degree felony conviction includes:

  • Up to 15 years in prison;
  • Up to 15 years of probation; and
  • A fine up to $10,000.

Repeat offenders for statutory rape may face a first-degree felony conviction. The penalty for a first-degree felony conviction includes:

  • Up to 30 years in prison;
  • Up to 30 years probation; and
  • A fine up to $10,000.

Statutory Rape Possible Defenses

Contrary to standard rape charges, consent is not a valid defense for statutory rape cases. Statutory rape laws declare that minors are unable to truly give consent to sexual activities. This implies that the adult took advantage of the minor, making the sexual activity illegal. However, statutory rape cases can be incredibly different. Especially when the statutory rape participants are both very close in age.

The Romeo and Juliet law, otherwise known as the "3 year difference relationship law" or the "Florida 16 to 24 law," is one of the most common defenses for statutory rape. The Romero and Juliet defense intends to prevent serious criminal charges against teenagers who engage in consensual with those close to their own age.  In Florida, it is not considered statutory rape if the minor was 14-17 years old and the defendant was no more than four years older than the victim.


Additional Resources

Florida Statute 794.05 – Visit the website of Florida's Legislature. Read the statutory and legal language surrounding statutory rape. Research the elements that are considered statutory rapes, the exceptions to statutory rape, and what happens if the victim gives birth to a child.

Florida Age of Consent Laws 2018 – Visit AgeOfConsent.net and read a resource for legal professionals where you can find information about age of consent laws around the United State and the world. See what is considered statutory rape in your area and where the highest and lowest age of consent worldwide.


Find a Lawyer in Gainesville, FL for Statutory Rape Charges

A statutory rape case can be very twisted and difficult to handle. Long-term relationships between teenagers, being tricked by the victim for their age, and other factors can cause an unlikely person to be charged with statutory rape. If you have been charged with statutory rape, it is important you get in contact with a criminal defense attorney.

Galigani Law Firm represents clients charged with serious sexual offenses in the North Central Florida area. Our attorneys have decades of experience and have been recognized for their professional legal excellence such as the Board Certified in Criminal Law by the Florida bar's Certification Board. An honor that is only bestowed on less than one percent of Florida criminal defense lawyers. We want to be your partner in this process and help you get the best possible result for your case.

Do not wait another moment call us today. We represent those accused of sexual offenses all throughout the Eighth Judicial District area and nearby counties including Ocala in Marion County, Gainesville in Alachua County, Starke in Bradford County, Lake City in Columbia County, Macclenny in baker County, Bronson in Levy County, and Trenton in Gilchrist County.

Alongside this, we have worked cases involving various law officials including the University of Florida Department (UFPD), Alachua County Sherriff's Department, Ocala Police Department, The Office of Columbia County's Sheriff, the Trenton Police Department, the Bronson Police Department, the Gainesville Police Department, the Levy County Sheriff's Office, the Union County Sheriff's Office, the Lake City Police Department, and the Baker County Sheriff's Office.

Do not wait another moment to protect your rights. Call (352) 375-0812 or schedule an online appointment for a free consultation today.


This article was last updated by Jordan Anderson, on June 27th, 2018.