In most cases, it is illegal to date a minor in Nevada, assuming that minor is under the age of 16. There are exceptions to this rule, though. It is legal for adults to date teenagers who are 16 or 17 years old. Adults who date minors under age 16 could face significant sex crimes charges, including statutory sexual seduction (often called statutory rape) or lewd acts with a minor under 16.
Keep reading this criminal defense blog to learn more about these charges and the consequences you may face if convicted.
At De Castroverde Criminal & Immigration Lawyers, our Las Vegas criminal defense attorneys know how the Nevada sex crime laws work and how the courts use them against the adults who violate them. Contact us today to discuss how we can help you fight the accusations against you.
Understanding the Nevada Laws Related to Dating a Minor
Is it Illegal to Date a Minor in Nevada?While no law directly addresses dating a minor, Nevada courts enforce several other laws to prosecute adults who engage in sexual activity with someone under the age of 16. There are two charges generally used in these cases:
Statutory Sexual Seduction
Under NRS 200.368, an adult could face charges of statutory sexual seduction—sometimes called statutory rape—if they had sex with someone age 15 or younger. This only applies in cases when the adult is at least four years older than the minor, known as a “Romeo and Juliet” clause. Under this rule, an 18-year-old could not face charges for sex with a 15-year-old, but someone who is 20 would.
Nevada’s age of consent is 16. Any adult can have sex with a teenager 16 through 18 without legal consequences.
When the offender is 18 through 20 in a statutory sexual seduction case, this accusation brings a gross misdemeanor charge. This could mean up to a year in jail and $2,000 in fines. There are additional penalties for repeat offenders, including felony charges.
When adults age 21 or older commit statutory sexual seduction, they could face category B felony charges. If convicted, this could call for:
- Up to 10 years in state prison
- Up to $10,000 in fines
- Registering as a sex offender
Lewdness with a Minor Under Age 16
When there is no way to prove penetrative sex occurred, NRS 201.230 allows the courts to hold adults responsible for lewdness with a minor. Since the age of consent is 16, Nevada law makes it illegal to touch a minor under this age in a sexual manner. The penalties depend on the age of the child.
- When the minor is 16, you could face prison time, up to $10,000 in fines, and registration as a sex offender.
- When the minor is 14 or 15, this charge is a category B felony. You could go to prison for up to 10 years if convicted.
- When the minor is under age 14, it is a category A felony. You could go to prison for life with no possibility of parole for at least 10 years.
What to Do If You Are Accused of Dating a Minor in Nevada
If there are allegations that you are illegally dating a minor, it is important to understand your rights and have an advocate on your side to help you navigate this stressful and frustrating time. Our Las Vegas criminal defense lawyers are here to help you.
Connect with our team as soon as possible after you learn of the accusations against you or after your arrest. We can look into the circumstances of your case and develop a defense. We will fight to clear your name, reduce the charges you face, reduce the penalties, or otherwise get a more favorable outcome for you.
Defenses for Statutory Rape or Lewdness Accusations
As Nevada criminal defense lawyers, we understand how damaging it can be to face accusations of sex with a minor. However, there are ways we help clients in similar situations get a better outcome in their cases. Some of the common defenses we use include:
You Meet the Exception to the Law
Several exceptions exist to the state’s laws about sexual activity with a minor. Teens ages 16 to 18 are over the legal age of consent. At the same time, if the minor is age 14 or 15, they may fall into the “Romeo and Juliet” clause.
It is legal to have consensual sex at 14 or 15 if the other person is not more than four years older. This means those aged 18 and 19 may legally date 14- and 15-year-olds, respectively.
This Is a False Accusation
False allegations occur and are not uncommon. This is especially true for those often around young teens, including teachers, coaches, and youth directors. We will get to the bottom of what happened.
There Is Not Enough Evidence to Convict
To convict someone of statutory rape or lewdness, the prosecution must prove that sexual touching or penetrative sex occurred “beyond a reasonable doubt.” This is the burden of proof in a criminal trial, which is often difficult to do.
These Allegations Also Bring Many Other Concerns
For some, the question is not, “Is it illegal to date a minor in Nevada?” Instead, it concerns how even an accusation of such an act will affect their life in numerous ways. Most adults are not very accepting of dating teenagers once you reach your early to mid-20s.
The social judgment and pressure can be even greater in certain professions, especially teaching or coaching. When you work with children or teens, this type of allegation could put your career in jeopardy. You want to do everything possible to reduce the risk you face this accusation and fight any charges you face.
Talk to One of Our Sex Crimes Defense Attorneys in Nevada
Speak to De Castroverde Criminal & Immigration Lawyers about the allegations against you today. Our lawyers may be able to clear your name, reduce charges you face, or take other action in your case that gives you a better outcome. We are here to help.
Contact us today to learn how we can help you with your Las Vegas case.