Can You Defend Against Statutory Rape if You Say That You were Unaware of the Victim’s Minor Age?

A predominant question that is raised by many defendants charged with a statutory rape charge is if it is still illegal to have sexual relations with a minor if they did not know about their underage. And the answer, obviously, depends on the circumstance.

What is the Difference Between Statutory Sexual Assault and Rape?

According to the Pennsylvania laws, there is no statutory rape law but it was replaced by the 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 3122.1 as the statutory sexual assault. Rape involves nonconsensual penetration including an act of force, violence, threatening or impairing the victim with alcohol or drugs. But sexual assault is particularly referred to the intercourse without the victim’s consent. The concept that underlies the charges of statutory rape is that there is an inherent inability of the victim to give consent to the act despite willingly participating as they are underage. Even emotional feelings on the part of the minor will not be effective enough to defend the statutory rape charges. These charges are based on the age of the victim than the sexual activity. In Pennsylvania, the age of consent is 16.

Can the Mistaken Age be a Good Defense Against the Statutory Rape Charges in Pennsylvania?

Now coming to the question that whether the defendants can be argue on the fact that they did not known of the underage of the victim, and the answer is, according to the statute 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 3102, it can never be a legitimate defense.

And at the same time, the statute also claims, “when criminality depends on the child’s being below a critical age older than 14 years, it is a defense for the defendant to prove by a preponderance of the evidence that he or she reasonably believed the child to be above the critical age.” This indicates that the proof which will determine the result of the case depends on the defendant whether he or she is able to prove that they had a substantial reason to believe the victim was above the age of consent. False identity, or the victim’s explicit statements, can guarantee that the victim was, indeed, above the age required, during the act. Although, it is true that proving why you believed the victim was older is also a challenging task.

How is one Penalized for Statutory Rape?

Statutory sexual assault is a first or second-degree felony, although determined by the nature of the convicted offense. The statutory sexual assault is a first-degree felony when the defendant was 11 years or more, older than the minor victim. And it can become a second-degree felony if the sexual intercourse was engaged with a non-spouse of 15 years old or younger.

The penalties for the first-degree felony is a fine amount of $25,000 and a sentence of maximum 20 years. And for the second-degree felony, the fine remains the same but the imprisonment is only for 10 years.

Fight Your Sexual Assault Charges with an Experienced Criminal Lawyer

If you or anyone you know has been alleged with a statutory sexual assault or rape, then you should immediately resort to a Pittsburgh criminal lawyer. An experienced and skilled lawyer in Pittsburgh or all across Pennsylvania will be able to protect your rights and fight for it. Look for a lawyer who has represented such clients accused of such serious offenses before including indecent exposure, rape, or sexual intercourse.

Client Reviews
“Mr. Logue came to me for my consultation, which was nice! He helped me better understand my situation so I could weigh my options. He kept me updated on any new information about my case, and I could always easily contact him if I had any questions. I knew I was in good hands, and I got the best possible outcome for my case!” Anonymous
★★★★★
“Sean Logue accomplished an incredible thing for me by handling my legal matters. If you need help, this is the man to represent you...he's very keen, knowledgeable, and efficient in guiding you to freedom. The trust and loyalty he gives you is very down to earth, so if you need a lawyer this is the best one. You can feel totally confident in Sean's hands. Excellent job, thank you for taking the time for me, you took all my worries away...God bless your future.” Anonymous
★★★★★
“Mr Logue was the one I hired after talking to other attorneys about my case. He was the most knowledgeable and explained everything to me about his plan for me moving forward. He was always available to answer my questions and fought hard for me!! Don't waste your time looking for anyone else to help you. Mr Logue did an amazing job and very professional!” Anonymous
★★★★★
“Atty. Logue represented me well and took care of my legal issues superbly. He is a no-nonsense, very knowledgeable and well respected lawyer. I was pleased with his services. Would definitely recommend Atty. Logue to others.” Anonymous
★★★★★
“Mr. Logue is good for one reason, he cares. A client is not a quick buck. He always answers his phone, day or night and he understands the law better than anyone. He always answers my calls for both corporate and personal legal decisions and I have a ton of questions. His rates are reasonable too. Fair and firm.” Anonymous
★★★★★