Third degree rape includes sexual penetration between a minor who is between ten and 16 years old, and a defendant older than 18. Penalties include fine of up to ,000, up to 25 years in prison, or both.
They may argue that the victim herself represented that she was older than she was, and that a reasonable person would have believed her.
But even if this is true, a defendant cannot rely on a mistake of age—even a reasonable one— to avoid conviction in South Dakota.
A lawyer can often negotiate with the prosecutor for a lesser charge or a reduction in penalties (such as, for example, probation instead of prison time); and will know how prosecutors and judges typically handle cases like yours.
If you are a victim of sexual assault or rape, contact Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN) for online help and local resources.
In South Dakota, statutory rape includes sexual penetration and contact between an adult and someone younger than 18.