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Unlawful Sexual Activity with Minors

Unlawful Sexual Activity with Minors makes it illegal for a person 24 or older to have consensual sex with a 16 or 17 year old.

Definition of Unlawful Sexual Activity with Minors

Under Florida Statute 794.05, the crime of Unlawful Sexual Activity with Minors occurs when a person:

  1. Who is twenty-four (24) years of age or older;
  2. Engages in consensual sexual activity;
  3. With a person 16 or 17 years of age.

Ignorance of Victim's Age

Importantly, even if the victim lied about his or her age or the accused had a bona fide belief the victim was 18 or older, ignorance of the victim's age is precluded by statute as a defense to the crime of Unlawful Sexual Activity with Minors.

Non Consensual Sex; Sex with Minors under 16

While it is legal under certain situations for an adult (18-23) to have consensual sex with a minor (16-17) it is nonetheless Sexual Battery (Rape) if the minor alleges the sex was non-consensual or forced.

Additionally, a minor 15 years of age or younger is deemed incapable of consenting to sex. As a result, even if the child verbally consented, it is considered Lewd and Lascivious Battery (Rape) to have sex with a child 15 years of age or younger.

Penalties for Unlawful Sexual Activity with Minors

Unlawful Sexual Activity with Minors is classified as a Second Degree Felony and is assigned a Level 6 offense severity ranking under Florida's Criminal Punishment Code.

If convicted of Unlawful Sexual Activity with Minors, a judge can impose any combination of the following penalties:

  • Up to fifteen (15) years in prison.
  • Up to fifteen (15) years of sex offender probation.
  • Up to $10,000 in fines.

Civil Consequences

A person convicted of Unlawful Sexual Activity with Minors would not only be placed on sex offender probation, but would also be declared a sexual offender.

As a result, they would be required to comply with sexual offender registration laws in Florida and throughout the United States for the remainder of their lives.

Romeo and Juliet Exception

The only exception to the mandatory sex offender designation is if the person falls under Florida's "Romeo and Juliet" law.

This law allows certain individuals to petition the court to be excluded from the sex offender registry. However, you can only petition for exclusion if the facts of your crime meet very specific eligibility requirements.

Defenses to Unlawful Sexual Activity with Minors

In addition to the pretrial defenses and trial defenses that can be raised in any criminal case, specific defenses to the crime of Unlawful Sexual Activity with Minors are:

  1. False Allegations; and
  2. Young Adult Exception.

False Allegations

Unfortunately, false allegations of Unlawful Sexual Activity with Minors are increasingly common in Florida and one of the primary reasons people find themselves accused of Unlawful Sexual Activity with Minors.

Typical reasons for false allegations include:

  • Fear of being caught in an affair,
  • Jealousy,
  • Manipulation of children by an angry parent,
  • Mental illness of the accuser, or
  • Mentally ill parents influencing a child

As a result, it is critically important to investigate the accuser and expose any motive for making a false accusation of sexual battery or rape.

Young Adult Exception

It is legal for a person who is between the age of twenty-three and sixteen (23 - 16) to have consensual sex or engage in sexual activity with a person who is sixteen (16) or seventeen (17) years of age at the time of the sexual activity.

Contact Criminal Defense Lawyer Richard Hornsby

If you have been arrested or charged with Unlawful Sexual Activity with Minors in Central Florida or the greater Orlando area, please contact Sex Crimes Defense Lawyer Richard Hornsby today.

The initial consultation is free and I am always available to advise you on the proper course of action that can be taken.