Factors That Determines The Seriousness Of Statutory Rape Charges
Statutory rape is a criminal charge in which you are accused of involving in sexual relations with a minor. The crime can range from a misdemeanor to a high-level felony. Here are the factors that determine how serious your statutory rape charges are:
Age of the Victim
In most states, crimes against children are considered more heinous than crimes against adults. Therefore, the younger the victim is the more serious will be the charges against you. For example, statutory rape involving a 12-year-old child will be considered more serious than statutory rape against a 16-year-old.
Age Difference between Victim and Offender
Apart from the age of the victim, the age difference between the defendant and the victim will also be considered. The greater this difference is the more serious the crime will be considered. For example, a 60-year-old adult charged with statutory rape against a 14-year-old will face more serious charges than a 19-year-old charged with statutory rape against a 17-year-old.
Prior Sex Offenses
Since this is a sex offense, the existence of prior sexual offenses will also have a bearing on the current crime. If you have been previously convicted of a sex offense, then the court will assume that the prior conviction and punishment did not punish you enough or show you the error or your ways. As such, you will face a more serious crime and punishment for the current crime.
A statutory rape that results in a pregnancy has more long-lasting consequences for the victim. For example, they may have to terminate the pregnancy, bear pregnancy complications, stop going to school or bear the stigma associated with raising a child the society considers the product of a crime. As such, expect harsher charges and penalties in such cases.
Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) also have long-lasting consequences for victims of statutory rape, even more so than pregnancy. For example, the charges against you will be aggravated if the victim contracted an STI such as HIV, Chlamydia or syphilis during your sexual act.
Involvement of Drugs or Alcohol
Lastly, the involvement of drugs or alcohol in the crime will also complicate matters for you. For example, it may be considered that you intentionally made the victim intoxicated before committing your criminal act. Don't forget that you may also face a separate crime of providing alcohol to a minor or supplying a minor with and using illegal drugs.
If you have been charged with statutory rape, it's in your best interest to reduce the seriousness of the charges as part of your defense strategy. A criminal defense lawyer can help you with this and more.