Statutory Rape Charge in Massachusetts
If you have been charged with statutory rape, it is likely you are confused and have a number of lingering questions. The first step is to understand the crime and to understand some of the penalties you might be facing.
Massachusetts has a number of strict laws that deals with minors and sexual intercourse. Sometimes referred to as rape of a child, corruption of a minor, or carnal knowledge of a minor, statutory rape and all of the terms related to the crime refers to any and all sexual activities involving a person under the age of 16.
To convict a person of statutory rape in Massachusetts, prosecutors must prove the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt:
- That you had sexual intercourse with the alleged victim. This includes unnatural intercourse
- That the alleged victim was under the age of sixteen at the time of the event
These laws are designed solely to protect a minor’s innocence, arguing that any person under the age of sixteen simply does not have the capacity to consent to such sexual behaviors.What types of Punishment might I face if found Guilty of Statutory Rape?
Massachusetts laws surrounding this crime are quite severe. If found guilty of statutory rape for the first time, you could face life in prison. However, the punishment is broad- meaning there are a number of different punishments you could face.
If convicted, you will have a felony charge on your criminal record, and you will have to register as a sex offender in your community. While some individuals charged with this crime do get off on a lighter sentence, they still will be subjected to these harsh penalties.
In short, statutory rape is punishable by any amount of jail or prison time. This means that the judge in your case has a huge amount of discretion when it comes time to sentencing. For this reason and more, contacting an experienced DelSignore Law attorney could prove to be your best option.
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Because statutory rape involves a minor, a DelSingore Law attorney will be able to handle your case effectively and make clear to you what could be used as a defense in a court or law and what cannot be.
What can be used as a defense?
- The defendant’s age
If the minor was close to you in age when the crime occurred, you may be entitled to a “Romeo and Juliet” exception. For example, if the victim was 15, and you were 17 at the time of the event, you may face less severe penalties. This is dependent upon a case by case basis.
- Lack of a criminal record
If you have been charged with a statutory rape but do not have a criminal history, you may be in luck. This may not be enough to completely wipe the charges, but you may face less-severe penalties if found guilty.
What cannot be used as a defense?
- “I did not know the victim was under the age of sixteen at the time of the incident”
Regardless of whether you thought you knew the victims correct age, and if even the victim lied to you and told you an age older than he or she actually is, you will still be prosecuted. Mistake of the minors age is not a valid defense in Massachusetts.
- “The minor consented to sexual activity with me”
Anyone under the age of sixteen cannot legally consent to having sexual intercourse. Even if they tell you “yes”, the minor is simply not capable of giving consent. This is true if you are in a relationship with the person as well.
Because statutory rape carries stiff penalties and can result in a life-long struggle, you should consider contacting us today. We have successfully handled these types of cases before and would be happy to review the strengths and weaknesses of your case with you. Visit our website to contact us today.
To read more about sex crimes and the punishment of being found guilty of such crimes, or to get a better understanding of the court process after being charged with a criminal matter, head to our website to learn more.