Imagine you are on your computer chatting with someone you met via an online video game. You are from the same area, are the same age and seem to connect and share the same interests. The relationship grows and eventually, you both decide you want to meet and take your relationship to a physical level. Once you meet, you engage in sexual activity and the relationship seems to progress normally.
Now imagine the police showing up at your door and informing you that you are being charged with statutory rape. As it turns out, that person you connected with and shared so much with failed to share one critical piece of information with you: his or her real age.
This is, unfortunately, not an uncommon situation. Thanks to the Internet, people are starting more and more relationships online and with people from far outside their immediate circle.
This all makes it very easy to lie about things like your age.
When you have sex with someone who is legally a minor, it is considered statutory rape. This is true even if that person lied and said he or she was older. And generally speaking, claiming you did not know the person's real age will not be an effective defense strategy to these charges in Florida.
However, this doesn't mean that the person's lie is entirely irrelevant. Being able to prove you were misled and having evidence to support your claim that you had no intention of engaging in a sexual relationship with a minor could have an impact on any sentence you may be facing if convicted.
It is important to understand that statutory rape charges are different from charges of online solicitation of a minor. In these situations, a person is accused of communicating with a person believed to be a minor with the intent of engaging in sexual conduct.
Whether you are accused of statutory rape, online solicitation of a minor or any other offense involving alleged sexual misconduct with a minor, you can be facing some severe penalties if you are convicted. Consulting an attorney immediately can be critical in terms of protecting your rights and minimizing your exposure to penalties.