Participating in sexual conduct with a minor is a major criminal offense. Commonly and previously called statutory rape, being found guilty for engaging in sexual acts with somebody in between the ages of 16 to 18 could lead to a jail time, sex offender registration, lifetime probation, and various additional repercussions. However, what if you were uninformed that your sexual partner was under the legal age of consent, or you were made to believe they were of legal age?
In Utah, as long as your sexual partner was at least 16 years of age, mistaking their age can be used as a defense sometimes. If the accused made efforts to know the age of the victim such as checking their driver’s license, it can work as a defense in court.
Sentencing for Sexual Conduct with a Minor
In order for an offender to be found guilty of committing illegal sexual conduct with a 16- or 17-year-old, the district attorney needs to show the list below aspects of the offense, laid out at Utah Code § 76-5-401.2:
- The victim was 16 or 17 years old at the time of the offense.
- The defendant was either:
- The victim’s instructor, parent, sitter, coach, or other person in a position of trust and authority.
- At least seven years older than the victim at the time of the offense.
- The defendant understood or need to have known the victim’s age.
- The defendant engaged in sexual conduct with the victim, meaning:
- Sexual relations.
- Any sex act “involving the genitals of one person and the mouth or anus of another person.”
- Any penetration of the victim’s genitals or anus, or touching the victim’s breasts, anus, genitals, or buttocks “with the intent to cause… pain to any person or with the intent to arouse or gratify the sexual desire of any person.”
Like a lot of states, Utah categorizes criminal offenses as either misdemeanors or felonies. Though felonies have harsher penalties, misdemeanors are likewise capable of leading to high fines, months in jail, and a rap sheet.
Misdemeanors and felonies both have three sub-groups: Class A, Class B, and Class C for misdemeanors, and third degree, 2nd degree, and first degree for felonies. Class A misdemeanors and first degree felonies are the most severe charges in their respective groups of offenses.
Illegal sexual conduct with a 16- or 17-year-old can be charged as a third degree felony or a Class A misdemeanor, depending on the particular details of the supposed incident. It might be possible to have felony charges reduced to a misdemeanor. If the accused is convicted, he or she will deal with the following penalties:
Class A Misdemeanor
- Maximum Fine: $2,500.
- Maximum Sentence: 1 year in prison.
Third Degree Felony
- Maximum Fine: $5,000.
- Maximum Sentence: 5 years in prison.
In addition to being incarcerated and greatly fined, the accused will also be needed to register as a sex offender for a period of 10 years.
Schmidt & Gladstone Criminal Law Attorneys
If you have been accused of Sexual Conduct with a Minor and are dealing with criminal charges, contact Schmidt & Gladstone today. We have the training, understanding, and ability needed to build you a strong defense and defend your freedom. Call us today at 801-895-3113 to set up your complimentary consultation.