If my girlfriend is a minor and pregnant, canI still be legally prosecuted for statutory rape if we get married?

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If my girlfriend is a minor and pregnant, canI still be legally prosecuted for statutory rape if we get married?

I’m 18 (19 in about 6 months) and my fiance is 16 (17 in about 4 months). We just found out that she’s pregnant. Under FL’s marriage laws, we can get a letter from her physician stating that she’s pregnant and legally marry, without parental concent. I can support both her and the baby. If we were to get married, could I be prosecuted for statutory rape? Her mother doesn’t know about the pregnancy yet and we plan to wait until after we are married to tell her. She is very likely to attempt to press charges against me for being overage and having sex with a minor. Could this go anywhere legally if she tried to press charges after we were already married?

Asked on March 27, 2011 under Criminal Law, Florida

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Statutory rape ( or sexual assault) is a strict liability crime.  That means that there are no defenses - not even marriage (unless you were legally married at the time of the encounter).  However, that being said, FL law provides that consensual relations are legal between 2 people if they are both at least 18 years of age. It also additionally states that sexual relations with a person 16 or 17 is legal if the older partner is 23 or younger (in other words, unless you were over 23 at the time of the encounter(s) and your girlfriend was under 16, you cannot be prosecuted).  I assume that since she just found out that she is pregnant, by doing the math, even if she is just a month along she still would have been 16 at the time that she conceived.   

Note:  If you had sex when she was 15 or younger, than you could have trouble no matter what your age was at the time.  However that would be a matter of proof.  If neither of you admit to having sex at that time, and it could not be otherwise proved that you did, then you would be in no criminal jeopardy.


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