Does Florida have a Romeo and Juliet law?
High schools in Florida and around the country can be funny places, as students who are as young as 13 might commingle with those who are 18. This can lead to romantic relationships between teens and those who are legally adults. If relationships are sexual in nature, prosecutors might charge 18-year-old students with statutory rape.
Under Florida law, it is illegal for a person who is 18 or older to have sex with someone who is under the age of 18. If a young adult is facing prosecution for statutory rape, though, the state’s Romeo and Juliet law might provide some relief.
What does the Romeo and Juliet law do?
One of the more significant consequences of committing a sex-related crime is having to register as a sex offender. According to Florida law, to avoid additional consequences, many sex offenders must both register and keep their registrations current for the rest of their lives. The state’s Romeo and Juliet law, however, might keep a convicted offender off of Florida’s registry.
When does the Romeo and Juliet law apply?
As you might suspect, the Romeo and Juliet law does not apply to everyone who has a conviction for a sex-related crime. For the law to apply, each of the following must be true:
- The victim must be between the ages of 14 and 17
- The victim must have willingly participated in the sex act
- The offender must be no more than 4 years older than the victim
- The offender must not have any previous sex crimes on his or her record
Ultimately, even if the Romeo and Juliet law is likely to keep an offender off of Florida’s sex offender registry, statutory rape is a serious offense that comes with significant penalties.