It goes without saying that being accused of having sex with a minor is a serious offense and if you found yourself in that situation you would want to have the assistance of sex crime lawyers dedicated to protecting their clients interests so that you have the best shot at defending your reputation, and even your liberty.
A typical response to an accusation of having sex with a minor might be to claim that you genuinely did not know the age of the person beforehand.
The question is whether that is considered to be a valid sex crime defense.
Difficult to tell
There are two fundamental aspects of this scenario that need to be addressed. Firstly, there are many people that tend to lie about their true age for any number of reasons, so it is perfectly conceivable that someone under the age of 18 could look older than they actually are.
Secondly, some teenagers go out of their way to dress as though they are older and might even be trying to deceive another person than they are older than they really are.
It could, therefore, be a devastating discovery when you are told that the person you have had a sexual encounter with is below the legal age of consent.
Let your lawyer do the talking
If you are unfortunate to find yourself facing a charge of having sex with a minor, your best move would be to talk to a lawyer who has the knowledge and experience you need to try and extricate you from this challenging and traumatic scenario.
Some states may vary to a certain extent when it comes to using the fact that you did not know a person’s age as a valid defense, but the bottom line is that it is unlikely to be an explanation that exonerates you from being charged.
That is why you should let a sex crime lawyer do the talking on your behalf as you could even make the situation worse if you start trying to talk your way out of trouble.
The law can be complicated
It is possible that a charge of statutory rape could be the outcome of a sexual encounter with a minor.
That crime is based on the premise that you knew the person was younger than the legal age of consent when you had sex with them.
There is a potential caveat that if you are less than three years older than the alleged victim it could be viewed as adolescents having consensual sex, but again, this a matter for a legal professional to deal with in view of the seriousness of the accusation.
Even if the person provided you with a fake ID or blatantly lied about their age when you asked them, this still not be enough to form a valid defense.
Rest assured, there are many potential ways to defend yourself against these charges, regardless of whether you were mistaken or misled about their age, but the first thing you should do if charged with this type of offense is to seek the right professional guidance immediately.