If you are asking yourself the question posed in the headline of this post, you should know right away that the answer is yes. You can be charged with a crime like statutory rape or lewd and lascivious behavior if you engage in sexual conduct with a minor, even if that person has lied about his or her age.
This can be very upsetting for people who have been tricked or duped by a minor, which is not all that difficult to do in this day and age. Social media, online dating sites and various other websites may ask a user to enter his or her age, but there is no real way to confirm it. This can make it quite possible to develop a relationship with a minor without realizing it.
Should this relationship progress into exchanging of illicit photos or meeting in person to have sex, you are breaking the law if the other person is a minor and legally unable to give consent. Even if the minor lied and said he or she was 16, 17 or 18, engaging in sexual activity is considered felony, as specified by Florida statutes.
In most cases, ignorance of age will not be an effective defense. However, it is important to note that being lied to about a partner’s age could play a role in your defense if you are charged with a serious crime.
For instance, if you met on a website for people who are at least 18 years old, or if you made multiple attempts to confirm the other person’s age, the courts could take that into account when it comes to filing charges and sentencing.
Between the threat of harsh criminal sentencing guidelines and the emotional distress of being lied to, these situations can be particularly heated and contentious. If you have been accused of inappropriate sexual behavior with a minor who lied to you about his or her age, it can be critical that you consult an attorney right away. With legal guidance, you can learn about your rights and options and seek ways of having charges and penalties dropped or reduced.