When it comes to the age of consent, Nevada follows strict laws that prohibit adults from engaging in sexual relations with a minor. In Nevada, the age of consent is 16. Anyone who engages in a sexual act with someone younger than that could be prosecuted for statutory rape. If you are convicted of statutory rape, there is significant jail time, fines, and life changes that can come from having such a conviction on your criminal record.
If you have been accused of breaking Nevada age of consent laws or statutory rape, you have the right to have a defense attorney represent you. At De Castroverde Criminal & Immigration Lawyers, our Las Vegas criminal defense attorneys can represent you in court. Our team is ready to help whenever you decide to reach out for legal assistance.
Age of Consent Laws in Nevada
Age of consent laws in Nevada are fairly straightforward. The age of consent is 16, and anyone under that age is considered too young to engage in sexual activity with someone over 18. There is one exception to this law, called the Romeo and Juliet exception. This law was passed in 2015 and states that anyone aged 14 or 15 may have sexual relations with someone who is less than four years older than them.
When it comes to the age of consent in Nevada, not knowing the age of the other party is not a defense. That means that if you have relations with someone under the age of 16, you are to be held responsible, even if they told you they were 16 or older.
By violating age of consent laws, you are subject to harsh penalties, including the possibility of life imprisonment. The nature of the crime will determine the severity of your punishment, as there are many different criminal charges associated with relations with a minor.
Statutory rape is one of the most common charges when an age of consent law is violated. Statutory rape is sexual contact by a person over 18 years of age with someone who is under the legal age of consent. The punishments for statutory rape depend on the age of the person who committed the act.
If you are over 21 years of age and you engage in sexual relations with someone under 16, even if it is considered to be consensual, you can face up to 10 years in prison, a fine of $10,000, and you will have to register as a sex offender.
If you are under the age of 21, then the penalties are not as severe. Rather than being charged with a felony, you will be charged with a gross misdemeanor. However, you will still be required to register as a sex offender, and you could still face fines and up to one year in prison.
The Severity of Age of Consent Charges
In Nevada, felonies are labeled as Category A, Category B, Category C, and Category D. These categories determine how severely punished a person will be for the crime they committed. In addition to these categories, someone could also be charged with a gross misdemeanor, which comes with the least severe punishments.
Category A felonies come with the strictest punishments. These types of felonies are generally accompanied by significant jail time and hefty fines. For instance, the crime of lewdness with a child under 14 years of age can lead to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole.
Sometimes the same crime can fall into multiple categories. These crimes can range from gross misdemeanors all the way to Category A felonies. What determines how you are charged in these instances will depend on if you are a first-time offender, as well as your age and the age of the minor involved in the incident.
One such example of a crime with very different levels of punishment is a solicitation of a minor to engage in acts constituting a crime against nature. This crime is a Category A felony whether the victim was older or younger than 14 years of age and engaged in the acts. It is a gross misdemeanor if the victim does not engage in the acts, but becomes a Category A felony if the offender is found guilty a second time of trying to have a victim engage in these acts.
The difference in punishment between a Category A felony and a gross misdemeanor is significant. The punishment for a Category A felony could be life imprisonment with a possibility of parole after a set number of years. Meanwhile, a gross misdemeanor generally carries with it a $2,000 fine and/or a maximum of one year in prison.
Other criminal charges include:
- Commission of certain sexual acts in public
- Sexual assault
- Sexual conduct between employees of schools and students
- Statutory sexual seduction
- Possession of sexual visual presentations of a person under 16
- Pornographic material involving minors
All of these criminal charges carry with them prison time and fines, and you will be required to register as a sex offender if you are convicted.
Registering as a Sex Offender
If you are convicted of a sex crime, then you will be required to register as a sex offender. This means that you will have to register with your city police department or sheriff’s office no later than 48 hours after establishing residence. If you move to a new locality or change your address within the one you were already living, you will need to inform authorities of a change of address.
In addition, you will need to verify your address yearly and update your status as a sex offender as required by your punishment. Depending on the punishment handed down, you may only have to register as a sex offender for a certain number of years rather than for life. Generally, how often you must update your sex offender status is based on the crime that was committed.
How Can a Defense Lawyer Help?
If you have been accused of breaking the age of consent law in Nevada, you may decide to hire a defense attorney to help you to understand your legal options. When you are accused of a statutory crime, it can be difficult to navigate the trial process.
You have the same rights as anyone else charged with a crime, and there are multiple defenses that may be able to help you reach a not guilty verdict or have your sentencing reduced. One of the most common defenses is a false accusation. If this is the defense that you and your attorney decide on, then your attorney will work to prove that the plaintiff accused you without just cause.
In order to prove a false accusation, your attorney will need to work closely with you so they can understand your side of the story and present it to the jury in a convincing manner. They will look for any inconsistencies in the prosecution’s case or the accuser’s story to help build your defense.
In addition to a false accusation, possible defenses could include that the victim misconstrued what was happening, and there was no sexual act committed or that the victim’s story is inconsistent and it becomes apparent that the crime has not occurred. There is also the possibility that evidence was tampered with to make it seem as though you were guilty, even though you were not.
As stated earlier, claiming you did not know the age of a person is not a defense for an age of consent crime. If you are convicted of any of the charges brought against you, then your defense attorney can work on your behalf to try to obtain lesser penalties.
Contact De Castroverde Criminal & Immigration Lawyers Today
When you are charged with an age of consent crime, you might decide the best course of action is to seek legal assistance right away. Violating the age of consent law is a very serious crime – jail time, hefty fines, and having to register as a sex offender are all possibilities.
Contact our Nevada criminal defense attorneys at the De Castroverde Law Group. We are ready to defend you and ensure you are given a fair trial. Call or contact us online today for a free consultation.