Statutory Sex Crimes Defense Lawyer St. Louis, MO. Being charged with statutory rape or sodomy in St. Louis can have life-altering consequences. Maybe you had no idea you were doing anything wrong, made a mistake or let things go too far. Whatever the nature of the charges against you, Combs Law Group is here to form your confident and capable sex crimes defense team. We are nonjudgmental and will always listen to your side of the story. Call us today at (314) 900-HELP to speak with a St. Louis statutory sex crimes lawyer or contact us online and schedule a free, confidential, no-obligation case review.

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Missouri‘s Age of Consent

Statutory rape is when the alleged victim was too young to give their consent legally, whether or not they had sexual intercourse willingly. In Missouri, the age of consent is 17. Meaning that in a court of law anyone younger than 17 is incapable of giving consent, opening up someone who had sexual intercourse with them to potential statutory sex crime charges.

Statutory Rape Laws in Missouri

There are two degrees of statutory rape in Missouri law:

  1. First-Degree Statutory Rape and Attempt to Commit (§566.032, RSMo) — A person commits this offense if they have or attempt to have sexual intercourse with somebody who is younger than 14. The punishment for statutory rape in the first degree is five years to life in prison, unless:
    • The offense is an aggravated sexual offense, meaning the alleged victim was seriously harmed, a dangerous weapon or object was used to threaten them, there is more than one alleged offender or the alleged offender was a family member, in which case the sentence is 10 years to life
    • The alleged victim is under the age of twelve, in which case the sentence is 10 years to life
    • If the alleged offender is a persistent or predatory sexual offender, the sentence is life in prison without parole
  2. Second-Degree Statutory Rape (§566.034, RSMo) — This offense involves someone 21 years old or over having sexual intercourse with someone who is younger than 17. It’s a class D felony, which carries with it up to 7 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000.

Statutory Sodomy Laws in Missouri

Missouri has two additional statutes for having “deviant sexual intercourse” with a minor:

  • First-Degree Statutory Sodomy and Attempt to Commit (§566.062, RSMo) — This offense occurs when someone has or attempts to have deviate sexual intercourse with someone who is less than 14 years old. The punishment is a minimum of 5 years in prison or up to life imprisonment. If it’s an aggravated sexual assault the minimum is 10 years, and if the alleged offender is a persistent or predatory sexual offender the punishment is life in prison.
  • Second-Degree Statutory Sodomy and Attempt to Commit (§566.064, RSMo) — A person can be charged with second-degree statutory sodomy if they are 21 years or older and have deviant sexual intercourse with someone under the age of 17. It is a class D felony.

Missouri’s Romeo and Juliet Laws

Some states have laws, called Romeo and Juliet laws, that allow for exceptions when people are close in age. Missouri’s Romeo and Juliet law allows that if the younger person is between the ages of 14 and 17, and the older partner is no more than four years older, consensual sex is not a crime for either party. This means that a 19-year-old can not be held criminally liable for intercourse with a 15-year-old, as long as the 15-year-old is willing.

It’s important to note that once someone turns 21, the Romeo and Juliet exception no longer applies. A 21-year-old cannot legally have sexual intercourse with a 16-year-old in any circumstance, even if the couple was engaging in sexual activity before the older person turned 21.

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How Combs Law Defends Statutory Sex Crimes in St. Louis, MO

There are many ways to defend against serious allegations like statutory rape or sodomy. The first is often to make sure law enforcement carried out an ethical investigation. We all have:

  • Fourth Amendment rights against illegal and unreasonable search and seizure by law enforcement
  • Fifth Amendment rights to a grand jury, against double jeopardy and against self-incrimination
  • Sixth Amendment rights to a lawyer, to a speedy jury trial and to know who the accusers are and the nature of the charges and evidence
  • The right to be notified of our Miranda Rights

If any of your rights are violated, the prosecution’s case against you may not be valid or may be severely weakened. Depending on your specific circumstances, other defense strategies for statutory sex crimes may include:

  • You did not know and could not have been reasonably expected to know the true age of the victim
  • The alleged offense did not take place
  • Mistaken identity
  • Under §566.023, it is an affirmative defense if you were married to the alleged victim at the time of the alleged offense
  • A coerced confession

We’ll always work to have your charges dismissed first. If we cannot come to an agreement with the prosecution, we’ll then try to have the charges reduced to a lesser crime. If we have to we will argue your case in front of a judge and jury. However, it’s possible that, given the nature of the evidence against you, a “not guilty” verdict is not realistically attainable. If that’s the case, we may recommend working with the prosecution and explaining mitigating factors to get a favorable plea deal. Whatever your circumstances, we’ll always listen to your side of the story and let you make the decision you believe is best for yourself.

Hire Combs Law’s St. Louis, MO‘s Statutory Sex Crimes Defense Lawyers to Defend Your Rights

Our team is empathetic, nonjudgmental and dedicated to helping good people who find themselves in bad situations. If you’re facing allegations of statutory sex crimes or are already charged or under investigation, you are likely facing endless waves of fears, doubts and emotions. Let Combs Law help calm the seas and keep your head above water. Call us today at (314) 900-HELP to speak with a St. Louis statutory sex crimes lawyer or contact us online and schedule a free, confidential, no-obligation case review.