Suppose you have been arrested or accused of statutory rape in Shreveport or any other part of Louisiana. In that case, the first thing to remember is that you may significantly benefit from speaking to an experienced Louisiana criminal defense attorney before conversing with law enforcement officials. This is because Louisiana laws with regard to statutory rape are complicated. If you speak with the police, there is a danger that you will accidentally admit to elements of the crime.
"Statutory rape", or what Louisiana law refers to as "carnal knowledge of a juvenile", is a crime that occurs when a person has consensual sexual intercourse (vaginal, oral, or anal) with a person under the age of 17 and certain age ranges for the victim and perpetrator are met.
If the alleged victim is under the age of 13, the crime is charged as first-degree rape, and only two elements need to be proven: sexual conduct involving penetration (however slight) and that the alleged victim was under the age of 13. The criminal defendant's lack of knowledge of the age of the alleged victim (or the belief that the victim was older) is not a defense. Being legally married to the alleged victim is also not a defense. Conviction of first-degree rape carries a maximum possible prison sentence of life. Louisiana Rev. Stat., § 14:42.
The laws are more complicated if the alleged victim is 13 years old but younger than 17 years old. In these cases, statutory rape is called having "carnal knowledge of a juvenile." Depending on the age of the alleged perpetrator, having carnal knowledge of a juvenile can be a felony or misdemeanor crime.
Basically, if the alleged perpetrator is more than four years older than the victim, the sexual intercourse is felony rape.
More specifically, felony carnal knowledge of a juvenile -- Louisiana Rev. Stat., § 14:80 -- has these elements which must be proven by the prosecuting attorneys:
Conviction of felony carnal knowledge of a juvenile carries a potential 10-year prison sentence (plus fines).
Misdemeanor carnal knowledge of a juvenile -- Louisiana Rev. Stat., § 14:80.1 --contains similar elements as the felony-grade offense, except that the alleged perpetrator was/is over the age of 17 and was/is older than the victim by more than two years, but less than four years. A first-time conviction of misdemeanor carnal knowledge of a juvenile carries a potential 6-month jail term (plus fines).
Contact A Louisiana Criminal Defense Attorney Today
For more information, contact the Law Offices of Philip B. Adams today. We are relentless, meticulous, and aggressive Louisiana criminal defense lawyers. Complete our "Contact Us" page here. You may significantly benefit by having an attorney with legal competence and experience assist you with your Louisiana criminal case. We have offices in Shreveport and handle criminal defense cases throughout all of Louisiana.