Legal Question in Criminal Law in Florida

If a person is a legal resident of a state in which the age of consent is 16 and travels out of that state for an extended period of time, proceeds to have sexual activities with a 16 year old, would he have any defense as he had no knowledge of the difference in laws?

Asked on 10/21/21, 7:49 am

1 Answer from Attorneys

Eric Trabin Lucid Legal, PLLC

There is an old expression that applies here: ignorance of the law is not a defense. Just because a person resides in a state where age of consent is 16, once that person is in the territorial jurisdiction of the other state, the different age of consent applies. So if a person engages in sexual relations with someone below the applicable age of consent, their ignorance of the law will not protect them. Of course, there are always other issues to consider, such as the age difference between the parties (that may be exempt depending upon the ages of the two people), but all things being equal, not knowing the age of consent is not a defense. In fact, even if the other person lied and said they were of a legal age, it still would not be a defense for someone who engaged in sexual activity with them while underage.

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Answered on 10/21/21, 7:57 am

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