When Consensual Sex is a Crime

You might think that as long as both parties are consenting to a sexual act that it is completely legal. Unfortunately, in Florida, there are sex crimes that can happen during consensual sex, and these crimes have penalties that can impact your family, career, finances, reputation, and freedom.

In this brief article, a sex crime defense attorney in St. Petersburg with our team at Russo, Pelletier & Sullivan has shared a few instances when you might face criminal charges for a consensual sex act.

At Least One Party is a Minor

In Florida, the age of consent is 18 years old. That means that even if a person who is 16 or 17 years old says that they give their consent, it is still not actually legal. That’s because in Florida if the person is legally below the age of consent (18) he or she is not capable of giving permission to have any sexual contact with an adult. Florida is more strict than many other states in this regard because there are certain states in which the age of consent is 16 or 17 years of age.

In Florida, there is an exception to this rule which is known as the “Romeo and Juliet” law. This law removes the requirement of a registry as a sex offender or sexual predator in certain situations, primarily when the victim and perpetrator are close in age. In these cases, the following rules apply:

  • The victim is between the ages of 14 and 17
  • The victim was no more than four years younger than the offender
  • The perpetrator is not older than 24 years old
  • The victim must have been a willing participant in the sexual activity
  • The offender does not have any previous sex crimes on their record

Indecent Exposure

If you’re engaging in a consensual sex act between two adults, but you’re in a public place or a place where others can see, you may be charged with indecent exposure. As an example, let’s say you are engaging in a sex act in your car (even if the windows are tinted) on public property. This is an instance when you might be charged with indecent exposure.


Incest is a taboo that is often associated with a history of abuse. However, there may be cases when family members (for instance, cousins) have a relationship. If that is the case, you may be charged with the crime of incest which is punishable by Florida law, even if both parties are consenting adults. It should be noted, that incest involving a minor is obviously a serious crime and consent is not possible.


If money is exchanged for sexual acts in the state of Florida, it is illegal — even if both parties are consenting adults. Often conflated with human trafficking, charges can be filed against both the person being paid and the person paying. Further, it is important to note that the charge of solicitation does not require that any sexual activity actually occurred. All that is required for the crime to be completed is an offer of money in exchange for a sex act.

If you’re facing any sex-crime-related charges, you’ll need an experienced defense attorney in St. Petersburg. Contact Russo Pelletier & Sullivan today.

For a free consultation with a sex crime defense attorney in St. Petersburg, please contact Russo, Pelletier & Sullivan today.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.