A Criminal Lawyer Explains Florida’s Romeo and Juliet Law for Statutory Rape
The Romeo and Juliet Law is a law that was enacted in Florida in 2007 in order to protect young couples from the harsh consequences associated with other sex-crimes.
The name ‘Romeo and Juliet’ in the title of course refers to the young couple at the heart of Shakespeare’s play by the same name. In Florida this law is best known for helping defendants avoid the designation as a sexual offender or sexual predator in cases of sexual battery involving consent where the offender’s age is ‘near age’ to the minor “victim.”
The important caveat is that the offender must be no more than 4 years older than the other party (who can be aged between 14-17). Thus, if the other party is 15 and the offender is 19, they may meet the criteria.
This way, a young defendant can avoid submission to the lifetime sexual offender registration requirements if their partner is a similar age. If you suspect that you might be protected by the Romeo and Juliet law, then consider contacting a Miami criminal lawyer in order to find out more and potentially mount a defense on that basis.
In order to be eligible for protection of the Romeo and Juliet Law, several criteria must be satisfied:
- The conviction must be for sexual battery or a lewd or lascivious offense
- The sexual act must have been consensual
- The minor must have been aged 14, 15, 16 or 17
- The minor must not be more than four years younger than the defendant
- Registration as sexual offender would have been purely on the basis of the current conviction
- No other convictions of a similar nature (or lewd or lascivious exhibition using a computer) must exist
The four-year window calculation is based on the specific birth date of the minor and the defendant. In other words, the difference in age must be four literal years (1,460 days). If the difference in age is even one day larger, then the defendant will not be eligible to petition for relief with the help of a sex crimes lawyer in Miami.
It is also worth noting that those convicted prior to 2007 may still be eligible for removal from the sex offender registry and should get in touch with a sex crimes lawyer in Miami.
If you would like to learn more about the Romeo and Juliet Law, then get in touch at (305) 615-1285 for a free consultation with a Miami criminal lawyer.
Stroleny Law, P.A. handles a variety of criminal law cases, so call now if you have any questions.
View more contact information here: Criminal Lawyer.