In North Dakota, the age of consent for sexual intercourse is 18 years old. This applies to both males and females, and to both heterosexual and homosexual conduct. Violating age of consent laws is considered statutory rape.

Mistake of Fact as a Defense

Similarly to some other states, North Dakota allows mistake of fact as to the minor’s age to serve as a defense. So, if a person is accused of having sex with a minor, he or she may escape punishment if it can be shown that the offender reasonably believed the minor to be an adult.

Strict Liability

Strict liability applies where the child is under the age of 15. Essentially, the offender does not have a defense where the child is under 15 years of age. It does not matter that the offender believed, no matter how reasonably, that the child was 15 or older.

Exceptions to the Age of Consent

While the age of consent in North Dakota is 18, the law in North Dakota makes some allowances for minors who are close to the same age. Generally, anyone between the ages of 15 and 18 can consent to sex with anyone else in the same age range.

Punishment for Statutory Rape

The punishments for violating North Dakota’s age of consent laws are strict, but are consistent with the rest of the country. The crime of sex with a minor under the age of 15 carries a penalty of 10 years in prison.

Consulting an Attorney

If you are accused of rape or are a victim of rape, then a North Dakota criminal lawyer can help you. An experienced lawyer can either clear your name or help you seek legal recourse. He can help you file the appropriate paperwork in court and speak on your behalf.