Florida’s Statutory Rape Law
July 20, 2015
The age of consent as it applies to sexual activity varies from state to state. Florida’s standard states that a child younger than 16 years of age is incapable of consenting to sexual relations. This means that any sexual activity with minors under the age of 16 constitutes statutory rape. The penalties for these crimes have serious consequences, so if you have been charged with a statutory rape offense, it is important to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney.
Penalties for committing statutory rape vary based on the ages of both the defendant and the victim, as well as on the other circumstances of the crime.
Lewd and Lascivious Conduct
In Florida, the offense of lewd and lascivious conduct means the intentional touching of a person under 16 years of age in a lewd or lascivious manner, or soliciting a person under 16 years of age to commit a lewd or lascivious act. The words "lewd" and "lascivious" mean wanton, or inclined to lustfulness. They also indicate a sexual interest that is obscene or indecent.
Lewd or Lascivious Battery
The offense of lewd and lascivious battery is committed when a person engages in sexual activity with someone more than 12 years of age and less than 16 years of age. Sexual activity is defined as the oral, anal, or vaginal penetration by, or union with, the sexual organ of another, or the anal or vaginal penetration of another by any other object. Sexual activity does not include an act done for a bona fide medical purpose.
This type of statutory rape is considered a second degree felony and is punishable by a sentence of up to 15 years in prison.
Unlawful Sexual Activity with Certain Minors
The category of unlawful sexual activity with certain minors encompasses:
- Sexual activity with someone at least 16 years of age and less than 18 years of age, where the defendant is at least 24 years of age
- Lewd or lascivious molestation with someone less than 16 years of age, where the defendant is at least 18 years of age.
Penalties include a fine of up to $10,000, a sentence of up to 15 years in prison, or both.
Lewd or Lascivious Molestation
Lewd or lascivious molestation is committed when the minor is under 16 years of age and the defendant is less than 18 years of age. It includes the intentional touching, in a lewd or lascivious manner, of the breasts, genitals or genital area, buttocks, or the clothing covering them.
It also includes forcing or enticing a person under 16 years of age to so touch the defendant.
The penalty for conviction of this crime can range from five to 15 years, depending on the ages of the victim and offender.
Contributing to the Delinquency or Dependency of a Child
A person who is 21 years of age or older may be convicted of contributing to the delinquency or dependency of a child by impregnating a child who is under 16 years of age. This crime is a third degree felony and is punishable by up to five years in prison.
Statutory rape cases are serious offenses in Florida, and can have extremely severe consequences. If you have been arrested for or charged with statutory rape, please contact West Palm Beach criminal defense attorney William Wallshein for a free consultation.