“How was I to know?” When people are charged with statutory rape, the first reaction is often confusion. “But we were dating,” they say, or, “I thought she/he was 18.” Unfortunately, your relationship status or how old you thought the alleged victim was are not defenses to sexual assault of a child charges.
So what can you do? You can hire an experienced rape defense attorney to help you fight your charges and reduce the potential penalties you face.
At Nicholson Goetz & Otis, S.C., in Madison, we have defended many clients facing statutory rape charges, including clients who met young people online and those who were dating the alleged victims. We understand the law and the defense options available, and we will take every step necessary to bring your strongest defense to these serious sex crime charges. Our outstanding trial reputation is backed by a passion for helping people in tough situations get winning results.
“Jessa and Nate are a fierce pair of warriors in the courtroom.” — A.M., a former client
See more client testimonials here.
Unlike other states, Wisconsin does not have Romeo and Juliet laws that say, for example, consensual sex between an 18-year-old and 17-year-old is OK. In fact, an 18-year-old can be charged with sexual assault of a child even if the person under 18 was his or her girlfriend or boyfriend. Furthermore, the alleged victim does not have the legal right to decline charges — Wisconsin prosecutors can continue to hold the 18-year-old accountable. And that is why it is so important to put your best defense forward.
If you are convicted of sexual assault of a child, you will be forced to register as a sex offender. This means you cannot be around minors, you must let the government know whenever you move, and you will have a mark on your record that can make it difficult to rent an apartment, get a job and even apply for a student loan. For young adults, it may mean they cannot stay in the same home as their younger siblings or spend time with their friends.
You should not fight these serious charges alone. You should not fight these charges with a lawyer who doesn’t know his/her way around the courtroom. Instead, look to a law firm that is recognized for its trial acumen: Nicholson Goetz & Otis, S.C. Call 608-471-5003 or contact us online to arrange a free 30-minute initial consultation.