Sexual crimes are some of the most detestable crimes. However, if you have been accused of a sexual offense, you do have the right to defend yourself according to the laws of your state. After all, the law presumes you innocent until proven guilty. Therefore, if you have been accused of statutory rape (sex with a person below the age of consent), then some of the defenses you can use include:

Mistaken Age

This is one of the most common defenses for statutory rape. It applies if you thought that the other person was above the age of consent. Of course, the prosecution won't just take your word for it; you have to show that you reasonably believed this to be the case. This means that the defense can only work if the person has nearly reached the age of consent.

For example, if the age of consent is 18 in your state, then you can't use a mistaken age defense with a 13-year-old, whereas it might work with a 17-year-old. Note that only a few states accept this defense; many of them view the defendant's ignorance of the victim's age as irrelevant in the determination of guilt.

Narrow Age Gap

Some states treat statutory rape differently if the defendant's and victim's age are nearly the same. In such cases, the states rely on "Romeo and Juliet" laws that govern statutory rape when the parties involved are either both below the age of consent or nearly of the same age. 

You can use this defense, for example, if your state's age of consent is 17, you are 17 years old, and the other party is 16 years old. You may not be let off the hook completely, but your charges may be shifted to a lower offense such as a misdemeanor. That means that your sentencing is likely to be less severe too.

Statutory Rape by Deception

This is another defense that you can try in a few states. By invoking rape by deception, you are claiming that the minor intentionally lied or deceived his or her way into having sexual relations with you. This may happen, for example, if the "victim" knows his or her age, purposefully lies about it (even to the extent of getting a fake ID) and leads you to a sex act based on this lie.

These are some of the defenses you may use for statutory rape. As you can see, a common thread in all of them is that they are applied differently by different states; most of them are not even applicable in all states. Therefore, it is paramount to get a defense lawyer who understands your state's laws and can navigate the laws best. Visit a website like to learn more.