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What is Most Important to Know About Statutory Rape in Wisconsin?

 Posted on July 20, 2023 in Criminal Defense

WI defense lawyerIn Wisconsin, statutory rape is a serious sex crime, with significant ramifications for the parties involved. Suppose you have been charged with such a crime. In that case, contacting a criminal defense attorney is imperative to ensure you have a comprehensive understanding of the state’s legal framework surrounding this offense. Today, we will highlight some essential points to be aware of when defending clients facing statutory rape charges in Wisconsin.

Age of Consent

In Wisconsin, the age of consent is 18, which means that individuals below this age legally cannot consent to sexual activity. Engaging in sexual intercourse or any sexual contact with someone under this age constitutes statutory rape. Knowledge of the age of consent is fundamental when building a defense strategy.

Strict Liability Crime

Statutory rape is a strict liability crime in Wisconsin, indicating that the prosecutor does not need to prove the defendant’s intention or awareness of the minor’s age. Even if the defendant genuinely believed the minor was of legal age, it does not absolve them of liability. Your defense attorney will explore any mitigating factors that may help challenge the evidence against you.

Age Differences

Some states in America have adopted a Romeo and Juliet law, where exceptions can be made in statutory rape cases where the two people are of close age, often within three years old of each other. However, Romeo and Juliet laws following this line of reasoning do not exist in Wisconsin. Because of this, those charged with committing statutory rape will not be able to cite such laws, as they are not on the books in Wisconsin.

Penalties for Statutory Rape in Wisconsin

Statutory rape offenses in Wisconsin are classified as felonies, with varying degrees of severity based on the circumstances. The crime is generally regarded as a Class C felony unless force is involved, which will likely escalate the charge. Class C felonies can be punishable by 40 years in jail, a fine of $100,000, or both.

Consent is Not a Defense

It is important to remember that consent is not a valid defense against statutory rape charges in Wisconsin. Even if the alleged minor willingly engaged in sexual activity, their consent is legally inconsequential if they were below the age of consent. A robust defense will focus on other factors, such as the credibility of witnesses or the prosecution’s burden of proof.

Contact a Waukesha County Criminal Defense Attorney

For legal assistance in fighting the statutory rape charges against you, contact the skilled Jefferson County criminal defense lawyer with Bucher Law Group, LLC. Call 262-303-4916 for a free consultation.


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