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Sexual Assault Attorneys Can Defend Against Statutory Rape Allegations

A statutory rape involves sexual relations with someone under the age of consent. A person who hasn’t reached the age of majority cannot legally consent to sex, and a person who follows through has violated the law. Statutes vary by jurisdiction, and most states punish these crimes under sexual assault laws. Read on to learn how sexual assault attorneys work within these laws to help clients achieve favorable outcomes.

The Age of Consent

The age of consent varies by location, but it typically ranges from 16-18 years of age. Statutory rape is usually a crime of strict liability, which means that it doesn’t matter if the perpetrator believed the victim was over the age of consent. However, in some areas, an attorney may be able to claim that their client held such a belief.

Factors Affecting Offense Levels, Penalties, and Charges

Statutory rape laws often include a variety of offenses, from misdemeanors to top-level felonies. Generally, two primary factors are at play: the age difference between the victim and the perpetrator. Other factors, including prior offenses and subsequent pregnancies, can affect the severity of the charges. In some areas, any statutory rape is a felony, and lengthy and mandatory terms of incarceration may apply.

The Romeo and Juliet Law

To address situations where both participants are beneath the age of consent, or where the offender and victim are of similar age, some jurisdictions have enacted what are popularly known as ‘Romeo and Juliet’ statutes. In some areas, these laws form a defense against statutory rape charges; in others, they move the offense down a level or two. Sexual assault attorneys can tell clients more about these laws.

Visit a Sexual Assault Attorney for a No-Obligation Case Review

Penalties from a statutory rape case can follow a defendant for life. These charges can be more difficult to defend than other types of assault charges because many defenses commonly used in conventional assault cases don’t apply to those involving statutory rape. To get a free case review and an honest opinion on the case’s merits, visit Addairthurston.com to schedule a consultation. You can also follow them on Twitter for more information.

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