Florida enacted the “Romeo and Juliet” law in 2007. The law was put in place to address high-school aged people who were being labeled as sexual offenders or predators after having participated in consensual sexual relationships. The laws previous to this one did not distinguish between young people have consensual relations and those who would purposely harm young children.

While many states have enacted Romeo and Juliet laws, our focus is on Florida. In this state, before the laws were enacted, if an 18-year-old and a 15-year-old were involved in a sexual relationship, the 18-year-old would be required to register as a sexual offender. The “offender” would not be permitted to petition the court for removal from the registry for at least 20 years.

The law does not make it legal for an 18-year-old to have sexual intercourse with a younger teen, but it does provide a process for petitioning for the removal of the requirement to register as a sexual offender. To be able to take advantage of this law, the 18-year-old must have had intercourse with a person at least 14 years of age, have been no more than 4 years older than the victim at the time of the contact, and the intercourse must have been consensual.

Laws such as this have been enacted to protect the futures of those teens who have decided to participate in a sexual relationship with a younger teen. Having to sign up for and maintain inclusion on a sexual offender or predator registry can have a detrimental impact on the lives of these young people. Gaining entrance to college, finding housing and even employment can be affected. Romeo and Juliet laws protect those who have been involved in a consensual relationship and finally separates them from true predators.

If you have been arrested for a sex crime in Orlando, call our office. We will provide you with a free case evaluation and advise you of your options. Being convicted of a sex crime can have a serious and dramatic impact on your future. Don’t fight for your rights on your own.

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