Florida law prohibits various types of sexual activity such as forced sexual activity or sexual battery. Additionally, in certain cases, even the consent of the victim does not absolve the perpetrator of the crime of sexual battery. These crimes are generally classified as statutory rape, as the perpetrator is accused notwithstanding the consent given by the victim.
Any sexual activity by a person older than 16 years on a person less than 12 is considered sexual battery even if the consent of the victim was obtained. Additionally, any sexual activity by a person in the position of familial guardian or custodian on a person less than 18 years of age is considered statutory rape. Additionally, sexual activity between a person who is at least 24 years old and a person who is between the ages of 16 and 18 is considered sexual battery or statutory rape and is prohibited.
“When determining sexual activity for the purposes of this law, Florida considers any oral, anal, or vaginal penetration by a sexual organ or anal or vaginal penetration by any object to be a sexual activity. The law, however, excludes bona fine medical examinations from its ambit.” –Florida Sex Offense Lawyer Jim Weick
When proving such crimes of statutory rape, the prosecution needs to only get the victim to testify to the act. The fact that the victim consented to the sexual act does not protect the perpetrator of the crime. The prosecution also need not prove that the perpetrator knew the age of the victim.
“However, the prosecution needs to prove that the age of the victim was less than 18 when the sexual activity took place. The prior sexual activity of the victim is not a valid defense against an accusation of statutory rape.” –Former Broward State Prosecutor now Florida Sex Crime Defense Attorney Jim Weick
If the age of the victim was less than 12 when the sexual act took place, the perpetrator can be convicted of life felony. If the age of the victim was 12 years or more but less than 18, the perpetrator can be convicted of a first degree felony and faces up to 30 years in prison. When the perpetrator is 24 years or older and the victim is between the ages of 16 and 18, the perpetrator can be convicted of a second degree felony.
“Apart from the imprisonment or fine that a conviction under this law brings to the perpetrator, the perpetrator will also have to register as a sexual offender at all times. This can impact their educational and employment prospects. Additionally, if the victim becomes pregnant because of the sexual activity, then the perpetrator will be liable for child support after proper paternity tests.”
Various states in the United States have different minimum age of consent requirements. In Florida, the age of consent for sexual activity is 16 if the other partner is less than 24 years old. However, when the other partner is 24 years old or more, the age of consent is 18. This age can vary from state to state but is never more than 18 in the U.S.
As the laws in Florida penalize those who are 24 years old or more for sexual activity with those under 18, even if they consented to it, the onus is on the older person to establish the age of their sexual partner before taking part in any sexual activity.
“This is because lack of knowledge of the age of the partner or misrepresentation of the age by the partner is not considered a valid defense in Florida against an accusation of statutory rape. This law has been enacted by the Florida legislature to protect the interests of minors.” –Sex Crime Defense Attorney Jim Weick