Florida law on teen dating
The same statute that criminalizes a 60 year old who engages in non-coercive sexual activity with a fifteen year old also criminalizes sexual activity between teenagers if one is less than sixteen years of age.No exception is made in the Florida statutes for teenage sexual activity.Freshmen and seniors may have elective classes and/or play sports together. Yet they may not date or have sexual encounters without fear of life changing effects.To most, it is common knowledge that people who have reached the age of majority should not be romantically involved with minors.See for example: Huffington Post report: Florida Teen, Faces Felony Charges Over Same-Sex Relationship As a criminal defense attorney who has practiced law in Gainesville, Florida, for more than 25 years, I’ve represented dozens of teenagers charged with sex offenses for engaging in sexual activity with another teen.This most recent case has apparently gained internet traction in the public view only because it involves teenagers of the same sex.What about the freshmen and sophomore students—should they know about the possible consequences of their actions on others, and about their incapacity to consent?Should sex education be required, and if so, is that the best place to tell Florida high school students that they may not legally consent to having sexual relationships until the age of sixteen according to Florida Statute 794.05 and 800.04?
When Hunt was initially asked if she thought she had done something wrong, she stated, “Do I think I made a mistake dating someone in high school, that I went to school with and I played basketball with? No, I don’t think I made a mistake.” The arrest affidavit describes some of the sexual encounters by the two girls.It seems like an appropriate deal for someone initially facing felony charges that would have required her to register as a sex offender.Still, it is questionable whether Hunt will have to register as a sex offender due to Florida’s “Romeo & Juliet” Statute 943.04354, which allows a defendant to petition the court to remove the requirement of registering as a sex offender or sexual predator if the victim is at least fourteen years of age and the offender is no more then 4 years older then the victim at the time of the offense.Technically speaking, under the terms of the statute, if two fifteen year olds engage in sexual activity together, they are both committing sex offenses upon each other under Florida law.Don’t get me wrong, I oppose the prosecution of the Florida teenager referenced in the following articles: Florida Girl, 18, Arrested and Expelled After Relationship With 15-year-old Female Classmate, New York Daily News, May 19, 2013 Florida lesbian, 18, faces 15 years in prison for having sex with 14-year-old high school basketball teammate, Bradenton Herald, May 20, 2013Kaitlyn Hunt's Charges Will Not Be Dropped, Florida State Attorney Says, Broward Palm Beach New Times, May 21, 2013 The reality is that this type of prosecution involving teenagers engaged in sexual activity is common in Florida - outrageous, but common.
However, Hunt was re-incarcerated after it was discovered that she sent and received 20,000 text messages to the minor, including nude pictures.