Rockland County Statutory Rape Lawyer

New York’s laws concerning statutory rape are both complex and harsh. Unlike many other jurisdictions, New York’s criminal courts make no differentiation between a rape that occurs through the use of force or one when an alleged victim cannot consent due to age. It is the idea of lack of consent that makes any sexual contact a crime.

Because of this, the law states that some people are never able to consent to sexual contact because of their age. When there is a large enough gap between the ages of the partners, the older partner may be charged with statutory rape.

It is essential that anyone facing these charges be prepared to defend themselves. A Rockland County statutory rape lawyer could help you by thoroughly investigating the facts surrounding the allegations to help you build a defense. Throughout the process, a knowledgeable sex crimes lawyer can help you tell your side of the story.

Statutory Rape as a Criminal Offense

The basic concept behind a statutory rape is a simple one to understand. New York law says that some people cannot consent to sexual contact because of their age. Even if that person says, “I want to have sex with you,” it may be illegal for them to do so.

A child under the age of 11 can never consent to sex, even with another child under the age of 11. A person who has sex with this child always commits a crime. On the other end of the spectrum, a person can never face a statutory rape charge if they have consensual sex with someone who is 17 years old.

In between is a complex set of laws that may criminalize sexual contact with people between the ages of 11 and 16. Whether this conduct is a crime depends upon the age of the accused. People who are 21 or older cannot have sex with anyone under the age of 17.

However, the law does not punish teenagers who engage in a sexual act. For example, a pair of consenting 16-year-olds do not need to fear criminal charges, nor does a 16-year-old who has consensual sex with a 14-year-old. These laws can be complex, and a Rockland County statutory rape lawyer could help to make sense of them.

Available Penalties in Rockland County

New York makes no distinction in the available penalties for any conviction involving rape. Even statutory rapes are treated in the same harsh manner. There are three levels of statutory rape available to courts under New York law. These are:

  • Rape in the third degree New York Penal Law §130.25 – this applies when the defendant is over the age of 21 and has sex with another who is under the age of 18
  • Rape in the second degree New York Penal Law §130.30 – any person over the age of 18 who has sex with another who is less than 15 commits this offense
  • Rape in the first degree New York Penal Law §130.35 – the most serious rape charges are used when any person has sex with another under the age of 11, or if a defendant is over the age of 18 and has sex with a child under the age of 13

Many instances of statutory rape may require a person to register as a sex offender. This means that even if someone manages to avoid a jail sentence or serves their time the conviction will continue to affect every aspect of their life. For this reason, mounting a powerful defense against statutory rape charges is essential.

How a Rockland County Statutory Rape Attorney Can Help

Allegations involving a statutory rape can scare and confuse many people. You may not understand why you are facing criminal charges when you engaged in a seemingly consensual sexual activity. The fact of the matter is that New York law says that under some situations, individuals are unable to consent to sex due to their age. It does not matter if they indicate their willingness to participate, any contact is illegal.

A Rockland County statutory rape lawyer could help you fight back against these charges. By gathering evidence and using it to fiercely advocate for your rights, they can give you a better chance at a positive outcome. Learn more by calling today.