Statutory Rape Laws
Statutory rape is the act of an adult having sex with a minor who is not old enough to consent to sexual behavior. Minors can be charged with statutory rape as well if they have sexual relations with another minor. However, usually statutory rape is a term used when describing sexual misconduct with a minor by an adult. Read below where Criminal Law Experts have answered questions for others.
In South Dakota, can a prisoner have a consensual statutory rape case examined after spending nine of the 15-year sentence?
A person has 30 days to appeal a conviction after a trial or plea. When a person serves nine years of a 15-year sentence, it would be hard to convince a court to reopen a case in order to undo a conviction.
As far as consensual statutory rape, South Dakota laws state that a girl 16 years of age is not legally old enough to consent to sexual acts. Regardless of the willingness of the person, if he/she is not legally of age to consent, the sexual act is considered statutory rape.
There is only one factor that could allow a case to be reopened, and that would be new evidence that, if known at the time of the trial, would have resulted in a different outcome. If there is no new evidence that would allow the trial to be reopened, the person could always contact the governor and apply for a commutation of his sentence. The accused will have to contact the Department of Parole as they screen applicants for the governor's office.
What is the statute of limitations on statutory rape charge?
The prosecutor would need to have some strong evidence against you that would prove you were having sex with your girlfriend before she turned 16. Usually, a prosecutor won't pursue a case like this because it is extremely hard to prove beyond a reasonable doubt.
On the other hand, if the police think they have probable cause that statutory rape has been committed; they will usually make an arrest. Probable cause requires less evidence making it easier for the police to make an arrest. All they need is enough evidence that there has been a crime committed by the person in question. However, the police probably won't make an arrest going off the police report. The mother has told them that a crime has been committed but has no proof that it actually took place. More than likely, the police will speak with the girlfriend. If she confirms there was no sex before her 16th birthday that will probably be the end of any investigation.
You should probably wait to speak with an attorney. However, if the police want to speak to you about the matter, or arrest you, don't answer any questions until you have spoken with an attorney.
Can a statutory rape case be proven with text messages or phone calls present?
In order to prove the case, there would need to be evidence of the statutory rape. This could be in the form of physical evidence from the victim, a witness who saw the minor and defendant having sex, or from the defendant giving a confession. Without this type of evidence, it will be extremely hard for the prosecution to prove statutory rape occurred. Using phone calls and texts probably wouldn't be enough to prove statutory rape beyond a reasonable doubt. However, if the texts and calls were used to strengthen evidence already in place, this could possibly help the case.
Can a minor be charged with obstruction of justice if they refuse to comply and admit to statutory rape?
As far as the minor's cooperation and honesty about the facts is concerned, if summoned to court, the minor will be under oath and expected to tell the truth. If caught lying, perjury and contempt of court charges could be applied on the minor.
Statutory rape is a serious charge and can result in jail sentences as well as fines. If you have questions concerning statutory rape laws, you should speak with an Expert and be sure about the provision of the law and your rights.