Sunday December 8, 2013
Where can I get help?Your local police department is one of the best places to seek help. You can also call the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE. If you have questions about the relationship aspects of being under the age of consent, ask the Panel of LoveAndLearn.com. Or, you can contact us.
What can I do to help?Questions submitted to SexLaws.org are answered by volunteer researchers with a familiarity of the criminal justice system. If you would like to join this team, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. The cost of maintaining the website is paid in part through advertisments on the site, but mainly through donations. To donate, please click the following button.
I thought the law was....?The laws differ in every state. Aside from laws regarding distribution of child pornography or enticing minors to travel across state lines, there are virtually no federal laws regarding these issues. So this means that every state is going to have different definitions, different punishments, and different guidelines in their laws.
What about convicted sex offenders?This site deals with laws about the sexual crimes themselves. An excellent site for information about sex offenders is http://www.sexcriminals.com.
Does statutory rape include dating?In general, there are no laws that prohibit dating another person if no sexual activity is taking place. Holding hands and kissing is also permitted. Exceptions to this include when the intention of the date is to obtain sexual activity, in which case the date itself could be considered "Enticing a Minor," or some other wording of a similar law.
What will happen if charges are filed?The purpose of this web site is to inform you of the laws that exist. Beyond that is a guesswork of what the police, the prosecutor and the judge chooses to do, as well as, what your own defense attorney can do. Many police departments have a policy that they will investigate all reports of sexual abuse. While often in statutory rape cases, the penalty is a week or two in jail and some community service. However, it's not unheard of a for prosecutor with a light workload, a hard judge, a really bad defense attorney, or some combination of them all, turning out a 5-10 years sentence in a statutory rape case. There are many inconsistencies from state to state. See "Arrest Procedures" for a general description on typical arrest and booking procedures. Again, procedures and policies are different in every state, but generally follow similar protocol.
How much proof do you need?To start an investigation, very little proof is needed, just enough to show probable cause, or that it's more likely that the crime happened than not. When it comes to the actual trial, proof beyond a reasonable doubt is required, which is a rather heavy burden of proof. A prosecutor won't take a case to trial unless he believes that he can establish such proof. In the case of statutory rape, this becomes relatively easy to establish in the case of pregnancy. Otherwise, the prosecutor would usually have to rely on the cooperation of one or both of the parties, often with a combination of a guilty plea for a less strict sentence. In the case of forcible rape, it becomes more complicated, and evidence such as how long it took to be reported, semen samples if possible, bruises if any, are often used by both sides in trials, as well as the testimony of the people involved. Most people charged plead guilty, usually for lesser penalties, as only 5-15% of all criminal cases ever go to trial.
Why is it so important to know these laws?Ignorance is not an excuse to the law. These laws exist to protect people, and carry severe punishments. A "statutory rape" case can result in be a mandatory minimum 6 year prison sentence, followed by the stigmatism that will follow the offender upon release, easily ruining someone's life.
Why don't you post a list of the laws by state so I can just look it up?There are 50 states, most of which change their laws throughout the year. With these laws, regulations change on whether it is intercourse, sodomy, fondling, or whether or not the girl becomes pregnant. As a result of these complications, we feel that it is best to answer questions on a case-by-case basis, using the most up to date information available, rather than trying to answer every possible scenario and keeping it up to date for all 50 states. Also, please note that many errors have been discovered in the online "guides" to statutory rape for these same reasons. If you are viewing an online guide for information, watch for the dates. If it's old information, it could be wrong information.
I came to this page via www.StatutoryRape.org. What's SexLaws.org?SexLaws.org is the best description of what is found at this site, as answers for all types of legal questions about sex can be found here. Other domain names were added to make it easier to find this website, as they are the main topics covered.
Wouldn't it be easier and more accurate to just call the state legislature or local district attorney and ask what the laws are?Yes it would be, and you are encouraged to do so. However, this site offers an easily accessible, fairly accurate, and most importantly to some, an anonymous way of getting information.
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