Statutory rape is one of the charges in which even if the victim or guardians of the victim choose not to move forward in pressing charges, the state can decide to move forward on behalf of the victim. In statutory rape cases, the victim is at most below seventeen years of age and the offender is at minimum over eighteen and even if both parties seemingly consented, if one of the parties is below seventeen, they are considered too young to consent to the act of intercourse. These types of charges are incredibly serious and can lead to severe penalties if convicted. Contact our experienced team of New York criminal attorneys now to discuss how we can help you with your charges.
There are three levels to statutory rape charges with the lowest charge being a class E felony meaning if convicted the maximum sentence is four years in prison. Statutory rape in the third degree is chargeable when intercourse occurs, and one party is less than 17 years of age while the other is 21 years of age or older. The next highest charge, statutory rape in the second, is a class D felony and the maximum sentence is up to seven years in prison. This is charged when intercourse occurs and one party is under 15 years of age and the other is over 18. However, if there is less than four years between the ages of the victim and the offender, there may be the possibility of using an affirmative defense. This type of exception would apply if one party were 14 and the other was 18 and the two were in a consensual relationship and no coercion or force was used in during the act.
The highest charge, statutory rape in the first, can lead to up a sentence of up to 25 years in prison upon conviction as a class B felony. This charge applies when intercourse occurs between a minor who is 11 years of age or younger, or with a minor under 13 years of age and the other party is 18 or over.
It is also important to know that a conviction of any degree of statutory rape will also result in the defendant having to register as a sex offender under SORA (Sex Offender Registration Act – see our page on SORA hearings for more information) and be giving a designated risk level. This type of registration can restrict you from being able to go certain place, places you would be able live and even if you are able to access the internet.
Sex crimes are always serious in nature and can lead to lengthy sentences if not handled properly. The best way to make sure that your charges are handled properly is by having one of our experienced New York criminal attorneys with you and fighting for you. This is especially important for those who are 18 and find themselves charged with statutory rape when the situation could possibly be mitigated by using an affirmative defense. Call now for a free consultation to discuss your case and what options are available to you.