Exceptions to Statutory Rape in Indiana
May 5, 2023
According to statistics from The NeighborhoodScout, there were 600 total-reported rape cases in Indiana in 2021. In the state of Indiana, an individual could be arrested and charged with statutory rape for engaging in sexual activity with a child below 16 years. Generally, statutory rape laws in Indiana are based on the presumption that minors are unable to consent to any sexual act. However, there are certain exceptions that permit such acts, provided that it is consensual.
At Wruble Law LLC, we focus on giving aggressive representation and knowledgeable legal guidance to clients in their statutory rape cases. Our highly-skilled Indiana criminal defense attorney can investigate whether your actions fall under any exception and help strategize your best defenses. We’re proud to serve clients across Indianapolis, Boone County, Marion County, Johnson County, Hamilton County, and Hendricks County, Indiana.
Defining Statutory Rape in Indiana
Statutory rape is an offense that occurs when a person engages in sexual intercourse or sexual activity with another person who is under the age of consent, regardless of whether the sexual activity was consensual. In Indiana, the age of consent is 16 years.
Furthermore, the offense of statutory rape in Indiana may be charged as sexual misconduct with a child, child molestation, or child seduction – depending on the surrounding circumstances.
Sexual Misconduct With a Child
Under Indiana laws, an adult (a person who is at least 18 years) commits the offense of sexual misconduct with a child if they engaged in any sexual activity with a child between 14 and 16 years.
According to Indiana laws, a person commits the crime of child molestation if they engage in any sexual activity with a child below 14 years.
Under Indiana laws, child seduction occurs when a person above 18 years in a position of trust, authority, or supervision over a child engages in sexual activity with a child below 16 years. The defendant in a child seduction case may be the child’s adoptive parent or grandparent, stepparent, legal guardian, teacher, employee at school, mental health provider, military recruiter, or law enforcement officer.
Exceptions and Defenses to Statutory Rape in Indiana
However, there are some exceptions and defenses to accusations of statutory rape in Indiana. These include:
Reasonable Mistake of Age – Reasonable mistaken belief of the child’s age is an exception to statutory rape in Indiana. However, this will only be a legal defense if the sexual conduct at issue was consensual, and it wouldn’t have been a crime if the alleged victim were that age.
Marital Exception – The defendant and the alleged victim are or were lawfully married. Hence, it is a case of couples having sex with their married minor partner.
Both Parties Are Minors – Both the alleged offender and victim are minors (below 21 years), at most 4 years apart, and were in a romantic relationship. This is referred to as the Romeo and Juliet defense.
No Sexual Intercourse – The sexual activity between the alleged defendant and victim did not involve any intercourse.
Essentially, these exceptions and legal defenses can protect and help young people avoid criminal charges or convictions for having romantic relationships. However, in all cases, the sexual activity must be consensual between both parties – with no element of force or violence.
Romeo and Juliet Provision
Many states across the country have established “Romeo and Juliet” provisions to protect young people from criminal allegations for engaging in consensual sexual acts with other individuals that are close in age. In Indiana, the Romeo and Juliet defense is applicable to statutory rape or sexual misconduct charges where:
the defendant is below 21 years of age.
the defendant is not more than four years older than the alleged victim.
the defendant and the alleged victim were in a personal, romantic, or dating relationship.
A seasoned criminal defense attorney can examine all of the surrounding facts of your cases, enlighten you about the potential penalties, and help identify the best legal defense to fight your charges.
Furthermore, a defendant convicted of statutory rape or any other sex-related crime in Indiana may face any of these penalties and consequences:
massive fines and court fees
lengthy imprisonment (ranging from months, years, or decades)
a criminal record or history
mandatory registration as a sex offender
increased difficulty in getting public assistance
loss of social prospects and personal freedom
inability to enroll in some educational institutions
increased difficulty in getting employment, accommodation, and scholarships
increased difficulty in getting certain financial loans
loss of the right to own or possess a firearm
deterioration of personal and professional relationships
A trusted Indiana sex crime defense lawyer can intervene quickly and help build a strong defense to avoid or mitigate the devastating punishments of a criminal conviction.
Strong & Reliable Legal Representation
Defending your statutory rape charges in Indiana without reliable guidance is never advisable and could increase your risks of suffering the maximum punishments. At Wruble Law LLC, we have the expertise and resources to protect individuals wrongfully accused of statutory rape from the worst-case scenario.
Using our broad knowledge, we can help you navigate the Indiana criminal justice system and represent you aggressively at every phase of the legal process. Our attorney will fight to defend your freedom and make sure those accusations don’t ruin your life.
Contact us at Wruble Law LLC today to speak with a strategic criminal defense attorney. Our dedicated lawyer has the reliable representation and legal direction you need in your case. We proudly serve clients throughout Indianapolis, Boone County, Marion County, Johnson County, Hamilton County, and Hendricks County, Indiana.