Can I Be Charged for Statutory Rape if the Minor Lied About their Age?
Have you been caught up in a bad situation wondering “What happens if a minor lies about their age?” Unfortunately, minors commonly lie about their age to convince adults that they are of legal age to have sex in Pennsylvania.
However, if the lie is successful and you have sex with an underage person, you could be at risk of criminal charges. There are some situations where being mistaken as to age can be a defense, but those situations are very limited.
Even if the sex is consensual, an adult who has unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor can expect to spend up to 40 years in prison and be fined $25,000. With such serious potential consequences, it is important to know your rights and defenses.
What if a minor lies about their age online?
Did you meet someone and now realize that they lied about their age online? This is very common. There may be consequences both for you and for the minor, but they are very different in nature.
Further, you’ll want to know your rights to help avoid being labeled as a sex offender. Sex crimes, including rape, sexual assault, and child pornography carry serious penalties. Additionally, this is true no matter whether it was an underage girl or underage boy.
Is lying about your age illegal?
Generally, lying about your age when signing up for a social media account online is not illegal. As a result, a minor who does so is unlikely to face any criminal charges.
However, lying about your age online may violate the website’s Terms of Service. The website may suspend or terminate the account, as a result.
In addition, lying about their age online can be dangerous for the minor. For example, if they sign up when they are 12 years old and say they are 16, in another 2 years other website users will think they are 18 when, in fact, they are only 14 years old. This is an unintended consequence that can lead to complicated situations.
So, while lying about their age online is generally not illegal for the minor to do, it can create scary consequences.
Isn’t it a defense to claim that I didn’t know the minor was lying about their age?
In Pennsylvania, there are a few specific exceptions where you can defend against rape or sexual assault charges based on your belief that the minor was of legal age to have sex.
However, you simply cannot present this defense if the minor was under 14 years old. In this circumstance, you cannot argue that you did not know the minor’s age or that you reasonably believed they were 14 or older.
Fortunately, you may have a defense if the minor was 14 years or older at the time of the act. Here, you need to prove that you reasonably believed the minor was of legal age to have sex. Importantly, you need to support this with corroborating evidence. For example, you can show a fake ID, emails, text messages, phone messages, or other evidence.
Kitay Law Offices can help if a minor lies about their age
As you can see, there is no easy answer to the question “What happens if a minor lies about their age?” If you are caught up in a situation where a minor lied about their age, you’ll want to speak with an experienced lawyer immediately. Fortunately, the attorneys at Kitay Law Offices are ready and available to help.
When you call, we’ll listen to the facts and help you understand the potential defenses and consequences. Further, we can help develop a criminal defense against rape or sexual assault charges. Please feel free to contact us anytime for a free consultation.