In Florida, an individual who is 18 years of age or older can consent to sex with a person who is also 18 years of age or older. A person who is 16 years of age or older can consent to sex with a person between the ages of 16 and 18.

What is Rape?

Rape is a criminal act that is commonly classified as a violent felony. Each state in the United States has laws about rape that define the act, although the wording may vary slightly across the states.

Rape is illegal sexual intercourse without an individual’s consent, regardless of the victim’s gender. There are many different circumstances in which an individual may be charged with rape.

These may include when an individual engages in sexual intercourse against another individual’s will or without that individual’s consent by using:

  • Force;
  • Violence;
  • Duress;
  • Menace;
  • Fear; or
  • Fraud

What Are Some Different Categories of Rape?

Different kinds of rape may be categorized depending on the factors present, including the individual’s age and relationship.

Different types of rape charges may include:

Statutory rape is unlawful sexual intercourse with an individual under the age of consent, regardless of whether or not the sexual act was consensual. The age of consent may vary by state, from 16 to 18 years of age. Even an individual who is 19 years of age and has sexual intercourse with another individual who is two years younger, if that state’s age of consent is 18, the individual may face statutory rape charges.

Date rape occurs when unlawful sexual intercourse is committed between the perpetrator and the victim during a social engagement. Date rape may also happen when a victim has been drugged, and the perpetrator has sexual intercourse with them.

Marital rape is rape that occurs in a marriage. This type of rape happens when a spouse forces a sexual act on the other spouse without consent. Marital rape has not always been recognized as an offense. Nevertheless, it is now considered a severe crime, and the defendant is not allowed to use marriage as a defense in a rape case.

It is important to remember that rape is a criminal act that may arise in many different scenarios if the criteria are met, not just in the situations discussed above. In addition, some states divide rape into degrees based on the seriousness of the offense.

First-degree rape may include severe physical injuries and carries harsher punishments than second-degree rape. Second-degree rape may not involve any physical injuries beyond the incident itself.

What Transpires After Someone Is Accused of Rape?

After an individual reports rape to law enforcement, they will investigate the matter. If there is enough proof, the perpetrator will be charged with rape and arrested.

Depending on the circumstances of the claim, bail may or may not be set. If the parties to the case do not reach a plea agreement, then the case will proceed to trial.

To convict a defendant that is charged with rape, the prosecution carries the burden of proof beyond a reasonable doubt and must establish the following elements:

  • The defendant was engaged in sexual acts or intercourse with the victim. It is important to note that full penetration of sexual intercourse is not required for rape to have occurred;
  • The sexual intercourse or sexual act was against the victim’s will or without their consent; and
  • The defendant engaged in sexual intercourse or the sexual act through an act of force, violence, duress, menace, fear, or fraud.

If the prosecution establishes these elements beyond a reasonable doubt and the defendant is convicted, the defendant will face severe penalties.

What Are Some Possible Consequences of Being Charged with Rape?

There are numerous consequences that an individual may face if they are charged with rape. The defendant may be facing felony conviction consequences if they are convicted of the crime.

In addition, the defendant may be required to register as a sex offender, which comes with many requirements and restrictions that an individual will be required to fulfill for many years, possibly their entire lives. In addition, charges may cause people issues in their place of work, school, or personal lives.

What Are the Penalties for a Conviction of Rape?

Rape is a serious crime and, as noted above, is considered to be a violent felony. Penalties for rape convictions vary by state and depend on the facts and circumstances of each case. However, a conviction may very likely result in incarceration for the defendant.

The length of time an individual is required to serve in prison will depend on the severity of the crime and whether or not the defendant has any prior convictions for rape or other felonies. A conviction for rape may result in a life sentence for the defendant, depending on the facts shown at trial.

The potential penalties and incarceration time increase if the offense involved a minor or if the offense resulted in the victim’s death. Some states require a minimum prison sentence or may require a court to impose a sentence that does not include probation or early parole.

In other states, the court may have discretion regarding the length of the defendant’s sentence. The court may have discretion regarding whether or not the defendant can serve any portion of their sentence on probation rather than in prison.

What Is Statutory Rape?

Statutory rape occurs when someone over the age of consent has sex with someone below the age of consent, or a minor. The age of consent and the ability of parents to consent for children are issues that have been decided differently in many jurisdictions.

Even if an individual under the age of consent says ‘yes’ and initiates sex with someone over the age of consent, the law says it is still statutory rape because that younger person has no legal right to consent.

How Does Rape Differ from Statutory Rape?

Rape is when someone forces another person to have sex against their will. Statutory rape is when the government has passed laws saying that in certain situations, even if both people consent to the sex, it is still against the law.

Can Anyone Press Charges?

In some jurisdictions, anyone can press charges. If someone over the age of consent has sex with someone over the age of consent, the older person can still go to jail even if the only person pressing charges is the arresting officer.

What If the Younger Person Lies About Their Age?

Even if the younger individual lies about their age, the older person is usually still charged because it is the older person’s responsibility to determine the individual’s actual age and make sure their actions are legal.

Statutory Rape Penalty

In Florida, the crime of statutory rape can carry a penalty of up to 15 years in prison. Statutory rape is sexual conduct between a person 18 years or older and children under 16 years of age. It does not matter if the child consented to the sex.

Consulting an Attorney

A Florida criminal lawyer can help you if you are accused of rape or if you want to press charges against a person. A lawyer can represent you in court and help you strategize your legal approach.