How to Defend Statutory Rape Charges
Rape occurs when a person engages in sexual activity with another, who is usually forced to do it because of abuse of authority, coercion, physical force, or violence. It also occurs when a person engages in sexual activity with another who cannot give consent, like someone who is unconscious or intellectually challenged.
On the other hand, statutory rape occurs when a person engages in sexual activity with another who is not yet legally allowed to give consent. Unlike rape, statutory rape doesn’t automatically mean that the victim has been forced to engage in sexual activity. This can make statutory rape an intriguing legal challenge for both alleged suspect and victim.
However, according to the website of these Nashville sex offense attorneys, statutory rape can be defended. Below are some of the defenses you can use.
Laws of the State
There are some jurisdictions that have Romeo and Juliet laws, which can be used as a defense against statutory rape charges. Romeo and Juliet laws can reduce or eliminate penalties when the alleged suspect and victim have minimal age difference and technically had consent.
For example, if the man is a 19-year-old and the woman is a 16-year-old, it can still be legally considered statutory rape, because the 16-year-old cannot legally give her consent. But if they have had sex on their free will, like when they are a couple, and the sexual activity would not be considered forceful if the young woman was 18-year-old or older, it is a possible defense, especially if the age gap between the two is not significant.
Mistake in Age
Since the core idea behind statutory rape is underage sexual activity, it is possible to defend charges by proving that you have made a reasonable mistake on the victim’s age, like when the victim has intentionally deceived you in a way that will make him or her more mature.
However, it is important to note that ignorance is never a good excuse of committing an offense, and this can be considered as a poor or unviable defense on some states.