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Statutory Defense in the State of Nevada

Brian J Smith Aug. 20, 2012

Often referred to as “statutory rape” in others of the United States, Nevada has created what is known as the statutory sexual seduction statute. This statute criminalizes any consensual act of sexual penetration upon a person who has been deemed too young to legally consent to sexual contact with an older person.

This law has the potential to be confusing because intent is not taken into account in the cases concerning it. While some people claim that they did not know that their sexual partner was underage, or that their partner lied outright about their age, this is not taken into account. Under Nevada law, [intlink id=”1383″ type=”post”]engaging in consensual sex with an underage person[/intlink] – regardless of whether or not you know they are underage – is nonetheless considered a crime.

A defense attorney in the case of a Las Vegas-based [intlink id=”219″ type=”page”]statutory seduction case[/intlink] would likely argue that a mistake such as this should not have a negative impact on the rest of your life. In these kinds of cases, there are several types of defenses that can be used on your case.

The definition of what is known as “statutory sexual seduction” under statute NRS 200.364(5) is described as “sexual intercourse” that is “ordinary,” “anal,” or involving cunnilingus or fellatio done with a person over the age of eighteen with a person under the age of sixteen.

Penalties for this offense vary depending upon the age of the person committing the crime. For example, if the offender is more than twenty-one years of age, the crime is categorized as a C felony. If the offender is under twenty-one, it is punishable as a gross misdemeanor.

In the state of Nevada, sixteen is the legal age of consent. An eighteen-year-old having sexual relations with a fifteen-year-old, for example – even if the physical relationship is consensual – is prosecutable by Nevada’s law regarding statutory sexual seduction.

Unlike sexual assault or rape, which requires proof that the alleged acts were against the victim’s will, prosecuting statutory sexual seduction offenses does not require determination of the consensuality of the act. It is not in the control of the underage person to press charges or prevent them from being pressed.

Prosecution can still go forward without the cooperation of the alleged victim, because statutory law is in place to protect young and/or underaged people being taken advantage of by older people.

The statutory nature of these kinds of offenses refers to the fact that prosecution can also occur even if the accused does not know, or claims to not have known, the age of the underage person.