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Statutory Rape

As defined by Alabama law, statutory rape is intercourse between consenting people of the opposite sex. Typically, one of the parties is underage and legally not capable of giving consent to the sexual act. The one exception is if alleged victim is under 16 but the other party is not more than two years older.

If you or a loved one are facing rape charges, an experienced sex crimes attorney can help plan your defense. An Alabama statutory rape lawyer can review the facts of your case in order to plan a strong defense.

Statutory Rape Cases

Under Alabama law, statutory rape is a Class B Felony that carries a minimum sentence of two years and a maximum of 20. A person can be subject to registration requirements for the rest of their natural life. They can be required to report on probation to a state probation officer or they could be incarcerated and you have certainly seen that in the media where teachers have gotten sexually involved with students and even though there was consent, that adult was sentenced to a term of imprisonment.

Difference from Traditional Rape Charges

Statutory rape is about people who consent, and notwithstanding that consent can still be criminalized based on the ages. That is one of the specific aspects, some type of age requirement whereas, in a first degree rape, it does not matter if the person is over 16, it does not matter, they are treated the same whether there are 16 and 18, if it is without consent or whether they are 40 and 60, age is not one of those factors.

Almost any judge can agree that it would be grossly unfair to have someone consent be punished for a sexual act they consented for if the other party had not consented. Many judges are not typically willing to impose sentences of incarceration on statutory rape cases where there is actual consent. These laws were designed to protect children and one could argue that it is a big decision to make. The older the individual, the more likely it is that a judge or a prosecutor might find that they were acting inappropriately and taking advantage of the other person’s immaturity.

People willingly enter the encounter, but there is someone who is taking advantage of the younger individual’s ability to consent. Those types of cases are looked at very harshly and people in those scenarios who have been accused need to be very careful about making sure they hire the right Alabama statutory rape lawyer to help them.

Romeo and Juliet Clauses

The only caveat to a statutory rape is where one party is under 16, but the accused person is not more than two years older. In that instance, there is some legislative recognition that teenagers do experiment with sex at an earlier age and it is better to decriminalize that process. Where there is a wider age gap, there is a higher likelihood the person would be guilty of statutory rape even there was an actual consent by the other party.

Role of the Prosecution

Alabama prosecutors have experience exercising discretion when pursuing statutory rape penalties. Speaking with an Alabama statutory rape attorney could be vital to evaluating the facts of the individual’s case, including age gap. Depending on the venue, prosecutors who are wise enough to know that there is sometimes more to the story than just one person’s age. However, the statutory rape law was passed many years ago and society has changed in a way where young people are exposed to sexual matter.

There are no penalties for the underage child even though they have consented. It is not a crime to the underage person to actually consent to have some type of sexual encounter with another person, only the other party is the one subject to prosecution.

Building a Defense

An Alabama statutory rape lawyer will want to establish a relationship with the client. Building a defense for a sex crime requires research and understanding the nuance of the law. It involves spending a lot of time with that client and doing a thorough and a complete investigation.

Every case is unique, and the most important thing that an Alabama statutory rape lawyer can do in building a defense is to listen to their client. This means spending time talking about the single event. During this time the attorney will be getting to know the client, the other party, and getting as much information and details as possible about the alleged victim. It is the beginning process of gathering the information and then finding needles in the haystack that can help build a defense.

Obtaining an Alabama Statutory Rape Attorney

An individual should see an attorney who has experience handling sex crime cases. Facing rape charges usually brings unique challenges that are not present in theft cases or robbery cases. It requires oftentimes an Alabama statutory rape lawyer who has a good reputation with a prosecutor and that there is a trust relationship there. Having a relationship with prosecutors can contribute to knowing whether they would respond in a positive way.

Technically that was a crime but because an experienced attorney will have an understanding of the personality of the prosecutor that had a desire to do the right thing in prosecuting cases. A good prosecutor only wants to prosecute guilty people, not people who are marginally guilty but who are as a matter of law or guilty. That is their responsibility and Alabama statutory rape lawyers have seen prosecutors who have had second thoughts and dismissed cases because they themselves were having some doubts about the validity of the prosecution.

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