Even if you truly believed your partner was above the age of consent, you can still be convicted of statutory rape if they are not. In some circumstances, it is possible to prove that the accused reasonably made a mistake, or had reason to believe that their partner was old enough, but this defense can’t always be used.

In any case, you need to contact a criminal defense lawyer as soon as you have been accused of statutory rape. The penalties for this statutory rape can be severe, and you could be facing a lengthy jail sentence, high fines and other personal and professional penalties. Contact The Law Office of Scott C. Nolan, PLLC right away to get started building a case for your defense, and read on if you find yourself in this tough situation. We’ll listen to your side of the story and fight to minimize your penalties as best as we can.

What Is Statutory Rape?

An individual has committed statutory rape if he or she engages in sex with someone that is under a specific age, which is referred to as the age of consent. In every state, statutory rape is defined slightly differently, but every state does have guidelines that set how young is too young to be having sex with adults.

Although every state takes a slightly different stance, it is important to note that consent is not a defense in a statutory rape case. If an underage individual agrees to have sex and chooses to, this still does not mean you are off the hook for statutory rape charges. Those under the age of consent are legally deemed not mature enough to make these kinds of decisions.

What Is The Age Of Consent In Virginia?

Most states in the US have the age of consent set between sixteen and eighteen years old. It is a firm law with no flexibility. In the state of Virginia, The age at which a person can legally consent to sexual intercourse is eighteen.

This means, in Virginia, it is illegal for an adult who is 18 years or older to have sex with a minor under the age of eighteen, even if it is consensual. Never engage with an underage person, especially if you are unsure of their age but assume that they are old enough. It’s unethical, the penalties are severe, and it is a tough legal situation to fight back against.

What Is Strict Liability?

Statutory rape is treated with “strict liability.” This means that it does not matter if there is proof that states the defendant knew the victim was underage. Even if it can be proven that they were aware they engaged in sex with a minor, it only needs to be proven that the sex occurred. Think of strict liability this way: if you are found to be speeding on the highway, you will still be penalized for speeding even if you didn’t realize you were doing it.

Because of the strict liability rules imposed here, it is important to hire a lawyer as soon as you have been accused of statutory rape. The penalties for this kind of crime can be incredibly severe, and could change the course of your life forever. The Law Office of Scott C. Nolan, PLLC has experience working with people in situations just like these, and will stop at nothing to ensure you feel confident and understood throughout every step of the legal proceedings.

What If I Had Sex With A Minor On Accident?

In some very specific circumstances, a defendant may be able to assert that they mistakenly had sex with the underage person. The defendant is then placed with the burden of proof, and must with their attorney to prove that any reasonable person would have made the mistake.

For example, the circumstances under which the two individuals met may be able to serve as proof that their age was mistaken. It might be possible that since an individual holds a license, drives, and has a job that they were perceived to be older by a coworker. But, this won’t hold up if the two met online, or an older person met a younger person in their school setting. This kind of defense can be hard to take without the guidance of a lawyer.

Again, not all states uphold this law, and it is reserved for very limited circumstances, so contact a lawyer right away to explore your options for defense for this kind of charge.

Schedule A Free Consultation With The Law Office of Scott C. Nolan, PLLC Today

If you have been accused of statutory rape in Virginia, you need to act fast to defend yourself. Set up a free, no-obligation consultation with The Law Office of Scott C. Nolan, PLLC today.