People under the age of 18 in the United States of America are considered minors. As such, viewed under the eyes of the law, they are not capable of giving informed consent to sex. Therefore, in Florida, it is illegal for a person age eighteen or older to have sex with someone under the age of 18, even if it is consensual.
Sex crimes involving children are treated seriously. Most of these crimes are considered felonies and are punishable by years-long imprisonment and fines. However, the state of Florida has a “Romeo and Juliet” law, which removes the requirement of the registry as a sex offender or sexual predator in certain situations. In other words, this law allows the offender to petition the court to relieve them of the requirement to register as a sex offender.
“Romeo and Juliet” cases do not involve coercion or violence, and generally involve two under-aged individuals who engage in sexual contact, without the knowledge that their conduct is illegal.
Defendants in these types of cases need to show that they qualify for the Romeo and Juliet law. The law applies when the following criteria are met:
- The offense involved a consensual sexual encounter with a person aged 14 to 17 years old.
- The minor was no more than four years younger than the defendant at the time of the sexual activity.
- The defendant does not have any previous sex crimes on their record.
- The requirement to register as a sexual offender or predator is linked to the current case.
If you or someone you know is facing a sexual offense accusation, you need an experienced and qualified attorney on your side. Criminal defense lawyer Russell A. Spatz has decades of experience handling serious criminal cases. To meet with lawyer Russell Spatz and discuss your criminal matter, please call the Spatz Law Firm, PL, at 305-442-0200. You may also contact the firm online.