Statutory Rape Lawyer in Madison
Madison Law Firm Defends Against Statutory Rape Charges
What is statutory rape?
The “Age of Consent” in Wisconsin is 18. This means 18 is the minimum age at which an individual is legally able to consent to sexual activities. If a person has sex with someone who is 17 or younger, even with prior consent; they will receive a statutory rape charge in the state of Wisconsin. This is a very serious charge and can bring with it severe punishments, including life in prison.
Statutory rape is also known as sexual assault of a child and has varying degrees of severity, depending on the age of the victim.
First degree sexual assault of a child is:
- Any sexual contact or sexual intercourse with someone who is age 13 or younger
- Sexual intercourse with a person 12 or younger
- Sexual intercourse with a person who is 16 or younger under threat of force or violence
- Sexual contact with a person 16 or younger with threat of force or violence; if the actor is at least 18 years of age with sexual contact occurs
Second degree sexual assault of a child is:
- Sexual contact or intercourse with a person who is age 16 or younger
Underage sexual activity
- The law gets more complicated under Wisconsin Statute 948.09, which states that sexual intercourse with a child 16 or older is in direct violation of the law. Meaning anyone age 18 or older who has sexual intercourse with a boy or girl age 16 or 17 will be facing a Class A misdemeanor.
Genuinely believing he/she was older than they claimed is not a reasonable defense option in the state of Wisconsin. Our Madison sexual assault defense attorneys know how to help with these complicated legal situations.
Failure to Act
It is also a felony if you knowingly fail to protect a child from the victim. This is known as “Failure to Act.” When the person responsible for the welfare of a child 16 or younger is physically or emotionally capable of taking action against an actor to prevent the assault from happening or happening again, there is failure to act.
Laws for statutory rape and sexual assault of a child in Wisconsin are complicated and nuanced. Navigating the laws alone is not advisable. Instead, you should call the statutory rape attorneys at Grieve Law to help you with your case.
If you know a child who is being sexually abused, call the police immediately; or call Childhelp, The National Child Abuse Hotline, at 1-800-4-A-CHILD (1-800-422-4453)
Romeo and Juliet Laws Do NOT Exist in Wisconsin
In some states “Romeo and Juliet” clauses create exceptions to statutory rape laws. If one person is 17 or younger, and their romantic partner is within 3 years of age, statutory rape will not be pursued as long as the sexual intercourse is consensual. This does NOT exist in Wisconsin, allowing for a greater number of teenagers being charged with statutory rape.
You are only guilty if you are convicted™
Penalties for Statutory Rape in Wisconsin
Depending on how severe the sexual assault charge, statutory rape is either a felony or misdemeanor. Based on the classification of the crime, it will be determined if it is a felony or misdemeanor.
First degree sexual assault of a child:
- If the victim is 13 years old or younger and results in an injury, it is a Class A felony which could mean life in prison
- If the victim is 13 years old or younger and no injury occurred, it is a Class B felony which could mean up to 60 years in prison
Second degree sexual assault of a child:
- Class C felony
- Maximum sentence of 40 years in prison
- And/or fines up to $100,000
Third degree sexual assault of a child:
- Class G felony
- Maximum sentence of 10 years in prison
- And/or fines up to $25,000
Underage sexual activity:
- Class A misdemeanor
- Maximum sentence of 9 months in prison
- And/or fines up to $10,000
Failure to Act:
- Class F felony
- Maximum 12.5 years in prison
- And/or fines up to $25,000
What if I’m facing statutory rape charges?
If you have been arrested on statutory rape charges in Wisconsin, no matter what your sentence, you will be forced to register as a sex offender on the National Sex Offender Registry. Among other things, being registered as a sex offender will mean you will no longer be allowed any contact with minors. Having this mark on your record will make it difficult to rent an apartment, get a job, or apply for loans.
The One Thing Sexual Assault Clients in Madison CAN'T Afford Is the Loss of Their Future
Say your son is 18 and was seeing a girl at his high school. An innocent relationship can turn disastrous if it turns out she was under the age of consent in Wisconsin. With technology so prominent in all aspects of teenagers lives, “sexting” can carry significant weight in the court room, proving sexual conduct took place. If sexual photographs of the minor are on your son’s phone (even if they were dating), it can result in a child pornography charge.
Should the police get involved, the prosecution could pursue misdemeanor and felony charges. Our experienced statutory rape defense attorneys understand that cases like these are obviously different from an older man raping a minor, though the consequences could be similar-- including your son being forced to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life.
Believing you can navigate tricky statutory rape charges alone is a mistake you and your family cannot afford. Grieve Law offers flexible payment plans because we genuinely want to help with your case. These payment plans allow you to get the quality representation you need with an experienced Madison criminal defense attorney who can build a case to get your charges reduced or dropped.