Florida Romeo & Juliet Law Statutory Rape
One of the harsh consequences of a sex crime conviction involving minors is the requirement to register as a sex offender. Florida has some of the toughest sex offender registration laws in the country. In addition to having to register with the National Sex Offender Registry, sex offenders are constantly monitored by law enforcement – for life. They must keep local police informed of where they live and work and notify police of their travel plans. There are restrictions on their activities and where they can live.
But the law recognizes that some convicted sex offenders may not deserve such a severe, lifelong penalty. Under Florida’s “Romeo and Juliet” law, certain defendants may be able to avoid having to register as a sex offender. The law seeks to make an allowance for young people in consensual relationships who may not have fully realized the consequences of their actions. The criminal defense attorneys at the Rivas Law Firm aggressively pursue the best possible outcome for people in such difficult situations. Call 407-644-2466 or contact us online for a free consultation.
Romeo & Juliet Law Nota Defense
Many people confuse the “Romeo and Juliet” sex offender registration exemption with the “close-in-age” defense to Statutory Rape laws. But it is not a defense against the charge of unlawful sex with a minor. It only pertains to lifting the registration requirement for convicted sex offenders in certain situations.
The legal age of consent in Florida depends on the age of the older partner. If you are under 24 years of age, you may legally have consensual sex with a 16- or 17-year-old. But if you are 24 or older, engaging in sexual activity with someone who is 16 or 17 is a violation of Florida Statute 794.05, “Unlawful sexual activity with certain minors.” It is illegal to have sex with anyone under 16 because anyone 15 or younger cannot legally consent. An adult who engages in sexual activity with anyone from 12- to 16-years-old is subject to charges of “Lewd or lascivious battery” under Florida Statute 800.04. Violating either statute can get you 15 years in prison, plus fines, probation and permanent registration as a sex offender, or sexual predator.
When Romeo & Juliet Exception Applies
A person convicted of either “Sexual Battery” or “Lewd or lascivious battery” may be able to avoid the registration requirement and take advantage of the “Romeo and Juliet” exception in certain situations. The crime must have involved consensual sex with a minor “not more than 4 years older than the victim… who was 13 years of age or older but younger than 18 years of age at the time.” There are other restrictions, and the judge has sole discretion to grant the exception. Also, the exception is not automatic. A defendant has to apply and satisfy the requirements of the statute and overcome any objections by the prosecutor.
The best chance for success is with an aggressive and experienced sex crime defense lawyer. Talk to the Orlando Criminal Defense attorneys at the Rivas Law Firm. Call 407-644- 2466 or use our online contact form for a free consultation.