Statutory rape is defined as sexual intercourse by an adult with a person who is incapable of consenting to sex. Minors and physically and mentally disabled persons are deemed incapable of consenting to sexual relations in all states. Statutory rape is different from other cases of rape because consent and force are nonfactors. An individual cannot legally provide consent until he or she reaches the age of consent, which varies by state. In Indiana, the age of consent is 16 with a few provisions that allow those 14 and up to engage in sexual activity. Statutory rape is often referred to as sexual misconduct with a minor.
Statutory rape, or sexual misconduct with a minor, can carry heavy penalties in Indiana. According to IC 35-42-4-9, sexual misconduct with a minor is defined as:
Sexual misconduct with a minor, or statutory rape, can be punished more severely if:
While it may seem that statutory rape cases can have no defense since consent and force are not taken into consideration, there are a few options in Indiana.
In Indiana, it is a defense to any sex crime if the defendant mistakenly believed the child was of a particular age, the defendant’s belief was reasonable, and if the child were that age, the conduct would be legal. This does not apply if the person being accused used deadly weapons or force.
The legal age for marriage in Indiana is 15 years old. A defense for sexual misconduct is that the child and defendant are or were married. This does not apply if the person being accused used deadly weapons or force.
The Romeo and Juliet defense protects 14 and 15 year olds from criminal charges for engaging in consensual sex with others close to their own age. If the accused is not more than four years older than the victim and they had an ongoing personal relationship, then they have a basis for defense in a sexual misconduct case.
While these are possible defenses in a statutory rape case, each case can have a different outcome. To ensure that you are protected, contact Patel Defense today. We maintain that all clients are innocent until proven guilty. We are committed to providing strong defense so that our clients receive the best outcome.
Punishment for statutory rape or sexual misconduct with a minor in Indiana can be severe. If you are located in the Indianapolis area and have been charged with statutory rape or sexual misconduct with a minor, do not hesitate to contact Patel Defense now. We can help keep your record clean and your name off of the sex offender registry.
We can answer questions about Indiana laws and how your rights can be protected. We provide free case evaluations so that we can help in the best way possible.