Statutory rape occurs when an individual over the age of consent, or an adult as sexual relations with an individual who is younger than the age of consent, or a minor. The age of consent as well as the ability of parents to consent for their children are issues that have been decided differently in different jurisdictions.
The age at which an individual is considered a minor depends on the jurisdiction in which the crime occurred. For example, sexual relations that occur between an individual and a minor may be considered statutory rape if the perpetrator is 18 and the victim is 17.
Statutory rape is considered to be a criminal offense. Not knowing the age of the individual is not a defense to this crime.
Even if an individual who is under the age of consent says yes or initiates sexual relations with an individual who is over the age of consent, it is still considered statutory rape because the that younger individual has no legal right to provide consent.
How Does Rape Differ from Statutory Rape?
Rape occurs when an individual forces another individual to have sexual relations against their will. Statutory rape applies when the government has passed laws that state that, under certain conditions, even if both individuals consent to the act, it is still considered to be against the law.
Can Anyone Press Charges?
In certain jurisdictions, any individual can press charges. If an individual over the age of consent has sexual relations with another individual who is under the age of consent, the older party can still be incarcerated even if the only individual pressing charges is the arresting officer.
What is the Age of Consent?
Federal laws make it criminal to engage in a sexual act with another individual who is between teh age of 12 and 16 if they are at least four years younger than the older individual. Every state takes a different approach to the age of consent, ranging from ages 10 to 18.
Certain states, including California and New York provide an age at which all sexual intercourse is considered statutory rape. For example, suppose a state sets the age of consent at 18 years of age.
In this hypothetical state, two individuals who are both 17 and have consensual sex could both, in theory, be convicted of statutory rape. There are other states that use a different method which, similar to the federal statute, takes into account the relative ages of both individuals.
In these states, for example, Texas, the age of consent is determined by the age differential between the two individuals, limited by a minimum age. For example, a state may set a minimum age of 14 but also limit consent to partners who are within 3 years of each other’s age.
This would allow a 16 year old to lawfully engage in sexual relations with a 14 year old. However, it would be a criminal offense for an 18 year old to have sexual relations with a 14 year old.
Examples of the ages of consent in different states include:
- California: The age of consent is 18 years of age. It is illegal for any individual to engage in sexual intercourse with a minor, or someone under the age of 18, unless they are that individual’s spouse;
- California employs a tiered system where the greater the difference in age, the greater the penalty:
- If the individual engaging in sex with a minor is less than 3 years older or younger than the minor, then they are guilty of a misdemeanor;
- If the individual is more than 3 years older than the minor then they are guilty of a felony; and
- An individual over the age of 21 engaging in sexual relations with an individual under the age of 16 is subjected to more harsh penalties;
- Florida: The age of consent in Florida is 18 years of age. It is illegal for any individual over the age of 24 to have sexual relations with any individual under the age of 18, unless they are married;
- Illinois: The age of consent in Illinois is 17 years of age. For individuals 18 years of age or over, it is illegal for the individual to commit acts of a sexual nature with individuals who are under the age of 18 if they are in a position of authority or trust over the victim;
- This, in effect, raises the age of consent for older individuals in positions of authority or trust to 18 years of age;
- New York: The age of consent is 17 years of age. It is illegal for any individual to have sexual relations with another individual who is under the age of 17; and
- Texas: The age of consent is 17 years old. The minimum age of consent is 14 with an age differential of 3 years;
- This means that an individual who is at least 14 years of age can legally have sex with an individual who is less than 3 years older.
What if the Younger Person Lies about Their Age?
Even if the younger individual lies about their age, the older individual is typically still charged. This is because it is considered the older individual’s responsibility to determine the real age of the individual and to ensure that their actions are legal.
What is Statutory Sexual Seduction in Nevada?
Statutory sexual seduction is one category of statutory rape in Nevada. An individual is guilty of this offense if they are at least 18 years of age and they have sexual relations with a minor who is 14 or 15 years of age.
The minor must have been at least 4 years younger than the perpetrator.
What is the Penalty for Statutory Sexual Seduction in Nevada?
The penalty for statutory sexual seduction in Nevada will depend on the age of the perpetrator as well as the perpetrator’s criminal record. If the perpetrator is 21 years of age or older, the crime is categorized as a Category B felony and is punishable by:
- 1 to 10 years in prison;
- Up to a $10,000 fine; or
- Incarceration as well as a criminal fine.
If the perpetrator is under the age of 21 and it is their first sex crime offense, then the crime is categorized as a gross misdemeanor. In Nevada, a gross misdemeanor is punishable by:
- Less than 364 days in a county jail;
- A criminal fine of no more than $2,000; or
- Both a criminal fine and time in a county jail
However, if the perpetrator is under 21 and has previously been convicted of a sex crime, then the crime is a Category D felony. A Category D felony in Nevada is punishable by:
- 1 to 4 years in state prison;
- A criminal fine of $5,000; or
- Both a criminal fine and a prison sentence.
Should I Talk to an Attorney?
Statutory sexual seduction is a serious criminal offense in Nevada. Being convicted of this crime may lead to both a prison sentence as well as being labeled as a sex offender, which may require registration for the remainder of your life.
If you have been charged with statutory sexual seduction, it is important to consult with a Nevada criminal attorney. Your attorney can advise you of Nevada laws and how they apply to your case and will represent you when you appear in court.