Not all states handle sex crime allegations like statutory rape in the
same way. While federal laws do not explicitly address statutory rape,
each state has its own laws and punishments for the crime as well. Understanding
these laws is crucial to building a winning defense against your charges,
and the Law Offices of Daniel J Miller is here to help you do exactly that.
Common defenses against statutory rape include:
- Consenting age
- Requirement of force
- “Romeo and Juliet” laws
If you have been charged with statutory rape in Virginia Beach, contact our criminal defense lawyers
at the Law Offices of Daniel J Miller. We are ready to defend you.
It is important to understand the consenting age for the state you are
bring tried in. Generally, the legal age of consent is 18, but it can
range from 16 to 18 depending on the state.
The offense is generally considered “strict liability”, meaning
it did not matter if you believed that the minor was old enough to consent,
or told you they were old enough to consent. However, some states now
allow you to make the case that you believed, or were informed by the
minor, that the minor was of a consenting age. This is not allowed in
every state, and is not usable if the minor is unmistakably young, or
under the age of 14.
Requirement of Force
Statutory rape is act of sexual intercourse with a minor. Unlike other
types of rape or sexual crimes, statutory rape occurs when the minor seemingly
consents to sex with the older individual. However, do to the minor’s
age, they are unable to legally consent. Therefore, there is no requirement
of force. The lack of force, and given “consent”, may often
classify the case under a “Romeo and Juliet” law, depending
on the state you are being charged in, and both participants’ ages.
“Romeo and Juliet” Laws
In the instance in which both participants are under the age of consent,
or there is a small age difference between the offender and the minor,
the crime is considered a “Romeo and Juliet” case. Some states
have created a law that designates a different treatment for this case
comparted to that of a typical statutory rape case.
Each “Romeo and Juliet” law varies on the state. Some states
shift the level of offense from a felony to a misdemeanor. Others reduce
the punishment to a probation, or a fine. The state may also decide not
to list you as a registered sex offender. The treatments of this particular
type of statutory rape vary from state to state, and may not be applicable
in the state you are being tried in.
If you have been charged with statutory rape, contact our Virginia Beach criminal defense attorneys
at (757) 517-2942. The Law Offices of Daniel J Miller are available 24/7.
With over 15 years of criminal defense experience, our attorneys know how
to work with you, and build a solid defense against statutory rape charges.
Our professional and dedicated lawyers have represented men and women
from these charges, and have even gotten cases dismissed or acquitted.