Elements Of And Defenses To Statutory Rape

If you are facing statuary rape charges, you need to understand the nature of your crime and defend it to the best of your ability. Getting convicted of a sexual crime can have a huge effect on your life. Below is an overview of the elements of this charge and the potential defenses you can use.


The elements of a crime are the things the prosecution needs to prove to convict you of the crime. There are only two elements to the charge of statutory rape.


The first thing the prosecution needs to prove is that the victim of your alleged crime has not reached the age of consent. The minimum age of consent is determined at the state level, but it ranges from 16 to 18 years. This is typically easier to prove using the identification documents of the alleged victim. Therefore, it is usually a straightforward affair unless there is a question about the validity of the identification documents used.

Sexual Intercourse 

The second thing for the prosecution to prove is that sexual intercourse took place. In this context, the issue of consent does not arise because the legal assumption is that anyone below the age of consent does not have the legal authority to consent to sexual activities.


Statutory rape is not easy to defend, but the following defenses may apply, depending on the circumstances of the case.

Mistake of Age

In this case, your claim is that you honestly believed that the victim was over the age of consent. If you raise such a defense, the court will consider the totality of the circumstances of the incident to make a decision. Some of the critical factors here include the behavior of the victim, the victim's appearance, and the victim's claimed age. The mistake of age defense does not apply in all jurisdictions; it may only be allowed in a few places.

Minor Age Difference

Some states, such as Florida, allow the minor age difference defense, or the Romeo and Juliet defense. States that allow this defense set the maximum age difference that applies. Also, the minor age difference might only be a mitigating factor, and not a complete defense, depending on the applicable jurisdiction.

As you can see, your options for defending statutory rape are limited. You may also use other rape defenses, such as the fact that no sex occurred, if you are accused of statutory rape. Consult a criminal defense lawyer to help you defend such charges.