Romeo and Juliet Law Law & Legal Definition


Teenage couples before either participant has reached the age of consent, or after one has but the other has not, may engage in consensual sexual conduct as part of an intimate relationship. In such cases, the older of the two participants is technically guilty of rape as any consent between partners, even if freely given, does not meet the standard of law as it is given by a minor. "Romeo and Juliet" laws, serve to reduce or eliminate the penalty of the crime in cases where the couple's age difference is minor and the sexual contact is only considered rape because of the lack of legally-recognized consent.

Example of a state statute ( Florida) dealing with Romeo & Juliet Law

The Florida Romeo & Juliet Law passed in 2007 is designed to protect individuals from the sex offender list. The victim in the case must be between 14 and 17, a willing participant in the sexual activity and no more than four years younger than the offender. The offense must be the only sex crime on the offender's record.This law does not make it legal to have sexual relations with minors, but merely stops the accused from being held out as a sex offender in society.

Section 943.04354 of the Florida Statutes (2008) is known as the "Romeo and Juliet Law."

The law as it appears in the statute.

Fla. Stat. § 943.04354. Removal of the requirement to register as a sexual offender or sexual predator in special circumstances

(1) For purposes of this section, a person shall be considered for removal of the requirement to register as a sexual offender or sexual predator only if the person:

(a) Was or will be convicted or adjudicated delinquent of a violation of s. 794.011, s. 800.04, or s. 847.0135(5) or the person committed a violation of s. 794.011, s. 800.04, or s. 847.0135(5) for which adjudication of guilt was or will be withheld, and the person does not have any other conviction, adjudication of delinquency, or withhold of adjudication of guilt for a violation of s. 794.011, s. 800.04, or s. 847.0135(5);

(b) Is required to register as a sexual offender or sexual predator solely on the basis of this violation; and

(c) Is not more than 4 years older than the victim of this violation who was 14 years of age or older but not more than 17 years of age at the time the person committed this violation.

(2) If a person meets the criteria in subsection (1) and the violation of s. 794.011, s. 800.04, or s. 847.0135(5) was committed on or after July 1, 2007, the person may move the court that will sentence or dispose of this violation to remove the requirement that the person register as a sexual offender or sexual predator. The person must allege in the motion that he or she meets the criteria in subsection (1) and that removal of the registration requirement will not conflict with federal law. The state attorney must be given notice of the motion at least 21 days before the date of sentencing or disposition of this violation and may present evidence in opposition to the requested relief or may otherwise demonstrate why the motion should be denied. At sentencing or disposition of this violation, the court shall rule on this motion and, if the court determines the person meets the criteria in subsection (1) and the removal of the registration requirement will not conflict with federal law, it may grant the motion and order the removal of the registration requirement. If the court denies the motion, the person is not authorized under this section to petition for removal of the registration requirement.

(3) (a) This subsection applies to a person who:

1. Is not a person described in subsection (2) because the violation of s. 794.011 or s. 800.04 was not committed on or after July 1, 2007;

2. Is subject to registration as a sexual offender or sexual predator for a violation of s. 794.011 or s. 800.04; and

3. Meets the criteria in subsection (1).

(b) A person may petition the court in which the sentence or disposition for the violation of s. 794.011 or s. 800.04 occurred for removal of the requirement to register as a sexual offender or sexual predator. The person must allege in the petition that he or she meets the criteria in subsection (1) and removal of the registration requirement will not conflict with federal law. The state attorney must be given notice of the petition at least 21 days before the hearing on the petition and may present evidence in opposition to the requested relief or may otherwise demonstrate why the petition should be denied. The court shall rule on the petition and, if the court determines the person meets the criteria in subsection (1) and removal of the registration requirement will not conflict with federal law, it may grant the petition and order the removal of the registration requirement. If the court denies the petition, the person is not authorized under this section to file any further petition for removal of the registration requirement.

(4) If a person provides to the Department of Law Enforcement a certified copy of the court's order removing the requirement that the person register as a sexual offender or sexual predator for the violation of s. 794.011, s. 800.04, or s. 847.0135(5), the registration requirement will not apply to the person and the department shall remove all information about the person from the public registry of sexual offenders and sexual predators maintained by the department. However, the removal of this information from the public registry does not mean that the public is denied access to information about the person's criminal history or record that is otherwise available as a public record.