Sex crimes are extremely serious cases in Tennessee. When a person is charged and convicted of such a crime, it will permanently affect their life. One of the consequences of a sex crime conviction is that you may be required to be on the Tennessee Sex Offender Registry. Also, Judges tend to be very harsh on those convicted of sex crimes during the sentencing process.
Statutory rape is a specific type of crime where a person has sexual relations with another person under the age of consent. Even if both parties explicitly consent to sexual penetration and it occurs and if one person is under the age of consent a statutory rape has occurred.
In order to understand this charge, one must understand this legal term: age of consent. In Tennessee, adults can only have sexual relations with other adults. The age of consent under Tennessee Law is eighteen (18). The specifics of the laws, sentencing, and age of consent vary from state to state. In Tennessee, the definition of statutory rape is the unlawful, sexual penetration of a victim, by the defendant or of the defendant by the victim when:
- the victim is at least 13 years, but less than 15 years of age and the defendant is at least 4 years but less than 10 years older than the victim; or
- the victim is at least 15 years but less than 18 years of age and the defendant is more than 5 but less than 10 years older than the victim.
This is a Class E Felony under Tennessee Law. The range of punishment for a Class E felony is between 1 to 6 years in jail.
Tennessee also has an aggravated statutory rape charge. This charge is the unlawful penetration of a victim by the defendant or by the of the defendant by the victim when the victim is at least 13 years but less than 18 years of age and the victim is at least 10 years older than the victim. This is a Class D Felony with a range of punishment under Tennessee Law of 2 to 12 years in prison.
There are two major distinctions between the two criminal offenses. If you are convicted of statutory rape, it does not require you to be on the Tennessee Sex Offender Registry. Also, you may be eligible to be placed on judicial diversion under T.C.A. 40-35-313. If you qualify for this special type of probation you will be able to get that conviction expunged from your criminal record. A conviction for the aggravated charge requires you to register on the Tennessee Sex Offender Registry. Further, the conviction will remain on your record for the rest of your life.
For more information on cases in the Nashville, Tennessee, area, please call (615) 265-6383 or contact us to schedule a confidential meeting to discuss your options and possible defenses.