Statutory Rape (Statutory Sexual Seduction) in Nevada
You may have heard of the crime of statutory rape, which is engaging in sexual penetration with someone below the age of legal consent. In Nevada, if an adult has sex with someone who is 14 or 15 years old, that crime is called statutory sexual seduction.
What is the Age of Consent in Nevada?
The age of consent in Nevada is 16, which means that it is a crime to have sex with any person under the age of 16, regardless of whether the minor child wants to participate in those activities or not. They are too young to decide for themselves, and so the conduct is criminal on the part of the person committing the act of sexual penetration. Statutory sexual seduction occurs when an adult has sex with a 14-year-old or 15-year-old (who nominally willingly participates). If force is used, or if the victim is under the age of 14, the crime is sexual assault (rape).
What is the Exact Language of the Nevada Statutes Criminalizing Statutory Rape?
NRS 200.364(10) states that: “Statutory sexual seduction” means ordinary sexual intercourse, anal intercourse or sexual penetration committed by a person 18 years of age or older with a person who is 14 or 15 years of age and who is at least 4 years younger than the perpetrator.”
NRS 200.368 provides that:
“A person who commits statutory sexual seduction shall be punished:
1. If the person is 21 years of age or older at the time of the commission of the offense, for a category B felony by imprisonment in the state prison for a minimum term of not less than 1 year and a maximum term of not more than 10 years, and may be further punished by a fine of not more than $10,000.
2. Except as otherwise provided in subsection 3, if the person is under the age of 21 years, for a gross misdemeanor.
3. If the person is under the age of 21 years and has previously been convicted of a sexual offense, as defined in NRS 179D.097, for a category D felony as provided in NRS 193.130.”
What are the Elements of Statutory Rape in Nevada?
To convict someone of this offense, the prosecution must prove each of the following beyond a reasonable doubt at the time of trial:
- The victim was 14 or 15 years old;
- The defendant was at least 18 years old at the time of the offense;
- The defendant and the victim had penetrative sex;
- The defendant was at least four years older than the victim;
Furthermore, the prosecution must prove that a penetrative sex act occurred. In Nevada, penetrative sex acts include the following:
- Vaginal intercourse;
- Anal intercourse;
- Penetration with fingers or other objects for a sexual purpose;
Does Nevada's Statutory Rape Law include a Romeo & Juliet Exception?
Yes, Nevada has a Romeo & Juliet exception. A person can only be charged with statutory sexual seduction if you are 18 years of age or older, and if the alleged victim is at least 4 years younger than the perpetrator. For example, this means that you cannot be charged under this statute if you are 18 and the other person is 15, because this is an age gap of less than four years, although it is possible you may be charged with some other sexual criminal offense.
What are the Penalties for Statutory Sexual Seduction in Nevada?
The penalties for this crime in Nevada depend upon the age of the defendant at the time the offense occurred. First, if the defendant was 21 years of age or older, the crime is a Category B penalty punishable by between 1 and 10 years in Nevada State Prison, and up to $10,000.00 in fines.
If the defendant was under 21 at the time the alleged offense occurred, the crime is a gross misdemeanor, so long as the defendant ahs been convicted of no prior sexual criminal offenses. This means the defendant can spend up to 364 days in jail or have to pay up to $2,000.00 in fines as assessed by the judge at sentencing. If the defendant was under 21, but had a prior sexual criminal conviction, then the crime will be treated as a Category D felony.
The Minor Lied about Their Age – Is That a Defense?
Many people are surprised to learn that even if the underage person lied about their age, and the defendant reasonably believed them, this is still not a defense to statutory sexual seduction. It is a strict liability offense, so even good faith mistakes by the defendant as to the age of the victim provide no defense under Nevada law.
What are Possible Defenses an Attorney Might Use for Statutory Rape?
If you are charged, there are numerous potential defenses to statutory rape your attorney might consider. These might include:
- No penetration occurred – the defense could argue that no penetrative sexual act took place.
- The defendant was falsely accused – the alleged victim made the whole thing up.
- The alleged victim was 16 years of age or older and the State has made a mistake about their age.
- Mistaken identity – someone had sexual intercourse with the underage victim, but it was not the charged defendant.
Contact a Liberators Defense Attorney today so we can protect your rights and start fighting your case in Court.