Statutory rape charges can be every bit as serious and in some cases, even more so, than traditional rape charges. Many of these cases appear to be very cut and dry. The prosecution likes to look only at ages involved, and little else. Essentially, a statutory rape case involves an adult who is accused of having sexual intercourse with a minor. Because a statutory rape conviction can be incredibly damaging to one’s freedom and future, it’s critical to get in touch with a defense lawyer as soon as possible after an arrest.Mississippi Statutory Rape Laws
In Mississippi, the specifics of statutory rape law can be found in M.C.A. 97-3-65. Under Mississippi Code Title 97- Crimes Chapter 3- Crimes Against the Person is 97-3-65 for Statutory Rape. This includes an enhanced penalty for forcible sexual intercourse or statutory rape by administering certain substances. Traditionally, statutory rape occurs in the State of Mississippi when any person 17 years old or older has sexual intercourse with a child who is at least 14 years old but who is under 16 years old, is 36 months or more months younger than the person and is not the person’s spouse. This also applies to any person who has sexual intercourse with a child who is under the age of 14 years old is 24 or more months younger than the person and is not the person’s spouse.What About Consent?
In cases involving statutory rape charges, ‘consent’ is not usually accepted as a defense. In the eyes of the law, a child of this age doesn’t have the ability to legally consent to sexual intercourse. Statutory rape cases don’t have to involve any kind of force or coercion. You can get convicted of statutory rape, whether your partner was apparently willing or not. In most cases involving statutory rape, it comes down to the ages of the people involved.What About the Victim’s Past Behavior?
It’s also important to note that the victim’s past behavior will have no impact on whether or not you’re charged or convicted with statutory rape. A victim’s past lack of chastity is not taken into account when it comes to statutory rape, due to the ages involved. No matter what the circumstances of your case are, the sooner you get in touch with a criminal defense attorney who has statutory rape case experience, the better chance you have at a favorable outcome for your case.What About Misrepresentation of Age?
Misrepresentation of age is a common problem in cases involving statutory rape. If you’re facing statutory rape charges and you had no idea of the age of the alleged victim, you need to contact an attorney and let him or her know the situation immediately. Unfortunately, it may not be possible to use that information as a mitigating factor in your case, but it is still important to let your attorney know the details of your particular situation.Penalties Associated With Statutory Rape
Depending upon the unique circumstances of your case, if convicted of statutory rape in Mississippi, you could be facing up to five years in a state correctional facility. Additionally, you could also be facing fines of up to $5,000. If your case involves forcible rape or certain substances, you could be looking at additional charges and time behind bars, if convicted. It may be possible to face up to 20 years or more in prison depending upon the circumstances of your individual case. Additionally, there is also the stigma associated being put on the sex offender registry. This label will follow you for life and make getting a job, renting a home or finding gainful employment very difficult. Even after you’ve paid your debt to society, it’s possible to continue being punished for your crime.Criminal Defense Lawyer in Jackson
A statutory rape charge can land you behind bars, out of money and in a difficult situation upon release from prison. A conviction of this felony sex crime charge can follow you around for life, so it’s essential to be proactive about your defense. As soon as possible after your arrest, you need to get in touch with a proven criminal defense attorney. This is your best shot at a favorable outcome in your case. Don’t wait until the last minute in an effort to avoid “looking guilty.” Contact your lawyer immediately and get a head start on your defense.
If you have been arrested for or charged with statutory rape in or around the Jackson Metro Area, contact the skilled and proven Criminal Defense team at Coxwell & Associates, PLLC at (877) 231-1600 for an immediate case consultation.