Statutory rape charges are fairly common in Ouachita Parish and throughout the rest of the state. The law is also largely misunderstood and so, people find themselves facing charges even when they did not do anything wrong, or they did not think they were committing a crime. If you or someone you love has been charged with statutory rape, our Ouachita Parish criminal defense lawyer explains the important things you need to know.
What is Statutory Rape?
Under Louisiana law statutory rape, also known as carnal knowledge of a juvenile, is defined as committing sexual acts with anyone under the age of 17 years old. The legal age of consent in the state is 17, meaning that anyone younger than this is considered not to have the capacity to provide consent. As such, engaging in sexual acts with anyone considered a minor is against the law, even if the alleged victim indicated that they did consent, or if they initiated the sexual act.
There are some exceptions outlined in the law. For example, if the two individuals involved were both over the age of 13, but younger than 17, it is highly unlikely that either would face charges of statutory rape if both parties consented. Additionally, if the age gap between the two individuals is two years or less, and both parties consented to the act, neither can face statutory rape charges.
What are the Penalties for Statutory Rape in Ouachita Parish?
Any type of rape charges in Ouachita Parish are taken very seriously, and statutory rape is no different. Those convicted can face very harsh penalties, which vary, depending on the facts in a specific case. The penalties associated with the two types of statutory rape charges include:
- Misdemeanor statutory rape: A maximum of six months in jail, a maximum fine of $1,000, or both.
- Felony statutory rape: A maximum of ten years in prison, with or without hard labor, a maximum fine of $5,000, or both.
Sometimes, a charge of indecent behavior with a child accompanies a statutory rape charge. The two charges are separate but being convicted of both will result in much harsher consequences. A conviction for indecent behavior with a child can result in an additional seven years in prison and a maximum fine of $5,000. In cases when the alleged victim was under the age of 13 years old at the time, a person could face up to 25 years in prison with hard labor.
Call Our Criminal Defense Lawyer in Ouachita Parish Today
Statutory rape charges are very serious, but that does not mean the situation is hopeless. At Whiddon Criminal Defense, our Ouachita Parish criminal defense lawyer can build a solid defense for your case that will give you the best chance of beating the charges. Call us now at 318-594-3592 or reach out to us online to schedule a free consultation with our skilled attorney and to learn more about how we can help with your case.