The Ins and Outs of Missouri's Statutory Rape Laws
The age of consent in Missouri is 18 years old. This means that even if sexual acts are "consensual," if one party is under the age of 18, statutory rape charges can be filed. Consent is only valid if an individual is 18 years or older. Statutory rape charges are unfortunately common throughout the United States and in Missouri. The easy accessibility to fake IDs and easily manipulated online profiles are just some of the factors that can contribute to mistaken age.
§ 566.032 Statutory Rape and Attempt to Commit Statutory Rape – First Degree
A person commits the crime of statutory rape in the first degree if he has sexual intercourse with another person who is less than fourteen years old. 2. Statutory rape in the first degree or an attempt to commit statutory rape in the first degree is a felony for which the authorized term of imprisonment is life imprisonment or a term of years not less than five years.
The sentence for first degree statutory rape can be enhanced under certain circumstances. The Missouri Revised Statutes lists 4 scenarios that could warrant an enhancement to 10 years to life imprisonment.
- Inflicting serious harm to the victim
- Brandishing a deadly weapon or instrument for the purpose of threatening
- Subjecting the victim to deviate sexual intercourse or intercourse with more than one person
- Victim is 12 years old or younger
§ 566.034 Statutory Rape – Second Degree
A person commits the crime of statutory rape in the second degree if being twenty-one years of age or older, he has sexual intercourse with another person who is less than seventeen years of age. 2. Statutory rape in the second degree is a class C felony.
When "I thought he/she was older!" Is Not a Defense
According to the Missouri Revised Statutes § 566.020, mistaken age is not a defense when the sexual acts were committed against a person 13 years of age or younger. Defendants may use the mistaken age defense if the alleged victim was 14-17 years old, although this defense is not a guarantee of acquittal or dismissed charges.
Statutory rape is a serious sex offense that requires convicted individuals to register as sex offenders. The implications of a statutory rape charge are severe.
Collateral consequences include:
- Difficulty gaining employment
- Restrictions from living in certain areas
- Could possibly harm any established custody or visitation agreements
Get tough defense against your charges – you are innocent until proven guilty.