As former state prosecutors, our Ft Lauderdale sex crimes lawyers at the Law Offices of Leifert & Leifert know how complex the Florida state laws regarding unlawful sexual activity between adults aged 24+ and minors aged 16 and 17 can be.
Definition of Unlawful Sexual Activity
The crime is defined in s. 794.05 of the Florida State Statutes and listed below:
794.05 Unlawful sexual activity with certain minors.—
(1) A person 24 years of age or older who engages in sexual activity with a person 16 or 17 years of age commits a felony of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084. As used in this section, “sexual activity” means oral, anal, or vaginal penetration by, or union with, the sexual organ of another; however, sexual activity does not include an act done for a bona fide medical purpose.
(2) The provisions of this section do not apply to a person 16 or 17 years of age who has had the disabilities of nonage removed under chapter 743.
(3) The victim’s prior sexual conduct is not a relevant issue in a prosecution under this section.
(4) If an offense under this section directly results in the victim giving birth to a child, paternity of that child shall be established as described in chapter 742. If it is determined that the offender is the father of the child, the offender must pay child support pursuant to the child support guidelines described in chapter 61.
As the statute stipulates, if the otherwise improper sexual interaction between an individual aged 24+ and a person aged 16 or 17 is for a genuine medical purpose as determined by the court based on medically sound reasoning, the interaction is not a crime. If, however, the interaction is not for a legitimate medical purpose, such sexual interaction as defined in the statute is indeed a second-degree felony.
Our lawyers know that when a person aged 24+ engages in sexual activity with a minor aged 16 or 17 in Broward County, there may be a variety of justifications for the ostensibly inappropriate interaction. For example, a male aged 24 years old might argue that the 17-year-old female with whom he engaged in sexual activity pursued him and had a history of promiscuous behavior. His allegations might be true, but according to s. 794.05(3), they would not render his actions permissible – he could still be charged with a second-degree felony and she would still be considered the victim, regardless of who initiated the sexual activity.
Because of our extensive experience with these types of cases, we also know that ignorance about the victim’s age is not an excuse. For example, if a 24-year-old female claims that the 17-year-old male told her that he was 18, she can still be charged with a second-degree felony.
Furthermore, although it can be legal for an adult aged 18-23 to engage in sexual activity with a minor aged 16 or 17, if the minor does not consent to the sexual activity, the adult can be charged with rape. Additionally, under no circumstances is it permissible to engage in sexual activity with a child (aged 15 or younger) – individuals under the age of 16 are, by Florida law, not capable of consenting to sex, and so engaging in sexual activity with a minor aged 15 or younger is considered rape.
Building a Defense
If you’ve been arrested for or charged with engaging in unlawful sexual activity with a minor in Broward County reach out to us for a free consultation. We have defended many cases just like yours – we know how these cases work and how to defend you.