I have been accused of rape. What do I do now?
An accusation of rape is investigated by law enforcement before any charges can be made. Once the investigation is complete, the prosecutor will receive and review the results. If the evidence is sufficient to meet the burden of proof, the prosecutor can and will file charges to have you brought into court to answer said charges. You must consult an attorney and solidify your legal defense as soon as possible to protect your future.
Do not talk to the police and retain counsel immediately. Depending on your exact situation, it may be advisable to cut communication off with your accuser and keep a log of any previous conversations and arguments. Above all, speak to an experienced criminal defense attorney promptly.
What if a minor shows me a fake ID? Am I still at fault?
You can still be charged with statutory rape even if the minor presented a fake ID indicating that s/he was of legal age.
Once convicted of statutory rape in Florida, you must register as a sex offender every year for the rest of your life. To reiterate, evidence of the use of a fake ID is not a legitimate justification in the eyes of the law--it is a mitigating factor at best.
However, the aforementioned is not the only factor that can bolster your defense. A skilled sex crime attorney can not only pinpoint several other mitigating factors in your situation but also draw on the nuances of the law to expose evidence sufficient enough to drop or reduce your charges.
The best possible outcome of your case depends on your age as well. Florida statue 943.04354, also known as the "Romeo and Juliet" measure, includes a provision that allows a young convicted sex offender to remove his/her name from the registry permanently as long as certain conditions are met. At the very least, there can be no more than four years of difference between the age of the offender and that of the victim, who must have been between the ages of 14-17 at the time of the violation.
Otherwise, sex conviction entails lifetime registry as a sex offender. Take no chances. Contact attorney Matthews R. Bark to safeguard your life now.