Statutory rape laws are intended to protect young people from sexual abuse and consequently carry severe penalties. Enlisting a skilled Nashville statutory rape lawyer to oppose the charges may make a difference. Attorney Bernie McEvoy can provide assertive representation to individuals accused of rape, statutory rape, and other sex crimes in Davidson and Williamson Counties. He understands the need to protect your privacy as well as your legal rights during the proceedings.Charges Involving Statutory Rape in Tennessee
Statutory rape generally refers to a type of sex crime prohibiting sexual penetration between a victim younger than 18 years old and a defendant who is four or more years older. In Tennessee, there are several distinct and fact-specific statutory rape offenses, all of which are classified as felonies. Unlike with rape of an adult, the issues of consent, coercion, and force do not explicitly arise in most statutory rape cases, since they are not elements of the crime. Instead, statutory rape is deemed by law to be non-consensual because someone younger than 18 cannot legally consent to sexual acts in Tennessee.
Statutory rape is defined as sexual penetration occurring when the victim is 13 to under 15 years old, and the defendant is older by four to 10 years, or when the victim is 15 to under 18 years old, and the defendant is older by 5 to 10 years. Mitigated statutory rape is sexual penetration when the victim is 15 to under 18 years old, and the defendant is older by four or five years. Statutory rape and mitigated statutory rape are Class E felony offenses that may be punishable by a one- to six-year prison sentence and a maximum fine of $3,000. If you are convicted of mitigated statutory rape, registration as a sexual offender is not required, although you still should retain a statutory rape attorney in the Nashville area to try to keep your record clean. In ordinary statutory rape cases, a defendant with any prior statutory rape conviction must register as a sex offender, while first-time offenders are only required to do so if ordered by the judge.
Aggravated statutory rape occurs when the victim is 13 to under 18 years old, and the defendant is older by 10 or more years. It is a Class D felony that may carry two to 12 years in prison if convicted and a maximum fine of $5,000, and it requires the defendant to register as a sex offender.
The punishment for statutory rape is more severe in cases in which the defendant is an authority figure at least four years older than a victim who is 13 to under 18 years of age. Statutory rape by an authority figure is committed when a defendant in a position of trust, with supervisory or disciplinary power, or with parental or custodial authority over the victim uses the position to accomplish the sexual penetration. You should consult a Nashville statutory rape attorney promptly to fight such a serious charge. The offense is a Class B felony, with penalties that may include an eight- to 30-year prison sentence, a maximum $25,000 fine, and sex offender registration.
Consent and mistake of fact are generally not complete defenses to statutory rape. Nevertheless, the prosecution needs to prove that the defendant knowingly committed the offense. In many cases, communications between the parties via text messaging, social media, and email are used by the prosecution as evidence that the crime occurred. An experienced defense attorney can object to unauthenticated or inadmissible evidence. Fighting a statutory rape charge may be challenging, but retaining an advocate who has a strong record of handling these cases can take the burden off your shoulders.Explore Your Defense Options With a Statutory Rape Lawyer in Nashville
Criminal attorney Bernie McEvoy has represented defendants in difficult sex crime cases with compassion and experience. He can defend people against statutory rape charges and other allegations in Davidson and Williamson Counties, including in Franklin and Nashville. Call the Law Office of Bernie McEvoy to schedule your appointment at (615) 255-9595 or (615) 804-8779, or contact us online. Mr. McEvoy also provides legal advice regarding child pornography and other felony sex charges.