Statutory rape is a strict liability crime within the state of Florida. What this means essentially is that "mistaken belief" is not a defense.
Florida Statute Section 794.021 (which states: "When, in this chapter, the criminality of conduct depends upon the victim's being below a certain specified age, ignorance of the age is no defense. Neither shall misrepresentation of age by such person nor a bona fide belief that such person is over the specified age be a defense. ") is pretty clear as to Florida's stance: keeping it in your pants is the only sure-fire way to avoid prosecution.
In the instance adjudication was withheld in this instance, however I would be happy to speak with you further and can be reached at 305-322-9971.
These cases are difficult. Her age/mistaken age is not a legal defense but he may have had other viable defenses and important factors that could minimize his culpability and possibly his sentence..
BRYCE A. FETTER,
Bryce A. Fetter, P.A.
2431 Lee Road
Winter Park, FL 32789