Why is Statutory Rape Defined by Age in Wisconsin?
Typically, statutory rape is defined by age on the premise that minors under the age of 18 are incapable of giving informed consent.
In Wisconsin, the law considers three separate crimes as statutory rape. It’s important to note that if you’re convicted of statutory rape, you must register as a sex offender.
1. Sexual intercourse with a child 16 or older
The law classifies sexual intercourse with a child 16 or older as a Class A misdemeanor. If you’re convicted, you’re facing up to a $10,000 fine, up to nine months in jail, or both. Unless you’re legally married to the minor, who in this case must be 16 or 17 years old, the courts could convict you.
2. Second-degree sexual assault of a child
The courts could convict you of second-degree sexual assault of a child when any form of sexual contact transpires between a minor who is 13 to 15 years old and a defendant of any age. It doesn’t matter if you’re 16, 36 or 86; the conviction is based on the age of the victim, not the defendant. This Class C felony carries penalties that could include you paying up to a $100,000 fine, 40 years of imprisonment or a combination of both.
3. First-degree sexual assault of a child
First-degree sexual assault of a child takes place when sexual contact occurs between a minor under the age of 13 and a defendant of any age. This definition includes any form of sexual penetration, no matter how slight, with an object or body part, as well as sexual contact not involving penetration. This Class B felony carries a penalty of up to 60 years in prison.
Defending Charges of Statutory Rape
In Wisconsin, you can’t say that the victim misrepresented his or her age to get out of statutory rape charges. Wisconsin doesn’t recognize a “Romeo and Juliet” exception, either (a Romeo and Juliet exception is used in some states when the two people involved are a couple).
If you are facing a statutory rape charge in Wisconsin, working with an experienced sex crime lawyer might be the best choice you could make right now. Your lawyer will help ensure that you’re treated fairly and that you get to tell your side of the story, which can make a huge difference in the outcome of your case.