When Facing a Criminal Charge, Do Not Make the Mistake of Thinking that There is no Hope
Peter and Jane had a relationship: they were lovers. However, Peter was just 15 years old, while Jane was 23. After having consensual sex with each other, Jane got the shock of her life – she was charged with statutory rape despite the fact that both of them consented to the sexual act.
Statutory rape, though very much different from forcible rape which is non-consensual and accomplished through the use of force, is considered a serious crime in many U.S. states. For a non-violent offense, this sexual activity between an adult and a person below the legal age of consent, can either be a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the ages of the victim and the perpetrator. This offense also carries very harsh punishments, including really large fines, years in jail and, in many states, a mandatory lifetime registration as a sex offender.
While it is true that statutory rape statutes aim to protect minors from sexual predators, it cannot be denied that many of these statutes have unintended negative consequences due to many legal gray areas. One example is charging with statutory rape two teenagers who engage in consensual sex simply because both are just 14 or 15 years old. Though underage, they can both be convicted and carry the stigma of having been convicted for the rest of their lives.
According to the Flaherty Defense Firm, in the state of Florida “all sex crime allegations are felony offenses. Under the Florida Punishment Code Scoresheet, all of them will require a mandatory prison sentence if you are convicted. There are also several enhancements on the scoresheet related to sexual contact and sexual penetration that dramatically increase the sentencing exposure.
The vast majority of sexually related offenses (in Destin) are either second degree or first degree felonies. This means that the penalty can be anywhere between 15 years and life in prison if you are convicted.
When faced with such a terrifying ordeal, it would be easy to decide that there is no hope. That there is no way to get around the fact that your life is over and you are going to prison.
Do NOT make this mistake. Just because you have been accused does not mean it is a sure thing that you will get convicted. What it does mean, however, is that you must make a decision right now, before it is too late, that you are going to fight back and do everything you can to save yourself. However, fighting back with a state-funded public defender with hundreds of cases can be a bleak attempt at ensuring your freedom. If you value your freedom and your future, then having the very best criminal defense attorney you can afford may be the only way to save yourself.