It is very common for teenagers and college age men to date girls who are younger. But having sex outside of your age bracket, or even dating someone in your same grade, can result in statutory rape charges under Utah law. These serious criminal charges can lead to jail and branding as a sex offender.
The Salt Lake City law firm of Greg S. Law, provides experienced criminal defense in both district courts and juvenile courts of Utah for youths and young men charged with statutory rape. Contact us today for a free consultation with an attorney to discuss your case or to obtain legal representation for your son (or daughter).
Understanding Utah’s Statutory Rape Laws
Under Utah’s sex crime statutes, a girl who is age 13 cannot consent to sex; it can be prosecuted as rape or sexual assault. It is also a crime to have sex or sexual contact with a minor age 14 or 15; if the age difference is more than four years, it becomes a felony offense. Lastly, while Utah’s age of consent is 16, it is illegal for an adult to have sexual contact with a 16- or 17-year-old if the adult is at least 10 years older than the teenager.
These laws commonly result in the following scenarios:
If a 13-year-old girl and her 14-year-old boyfriend engage in sexual activity, he can be charged in juvenile court with statutory rape or sexual abuse.
A 17-year-old who has sex with his 15-year-old girlfriend could be charged with unlawful sexual activity with a minor, a class B misdemeanor.
A high school senior who has sexual contact with a freshman girl could be charged with a felony sex crime if he turned 18 before she turned 14.
A 22-year-old man accused of contact with a minor (under age 16) would face serious felony charges.
A 27-year-old man who hooked up with a young woman could face felony charges of unlawful sexual conduct if she turns out to be under 18.
Aggravating factors (forcible rape, helpless victim, two or more perpetrators) can escalate statutory rape charges to first-degree or second-degree felonies.
It is not necessary to have intercourse to be charged with statutory rape. A young man can be prosecuted for engaging in other penetration, oral sex and other consensual sexual contact. The law recognizes proximity of age as a mitigating factor but not an excuse; teenagers cannot consent to sex before age 16, period.
Defend Yourself Against Statutory Rape Charges. Call Today.
If you are charged with a statutory rape or if your son who is himself underage has been arrested for illegal sexual relations with a minor, we understand what it is stake. We focus exclusively in criminal defense and have extensive experience with Utah sex offenses — including sex between minors — and with juvenile law.
Call Greg S. Law, PLLC, at 801-261-6228 local or 801-261-6228 toll free.
For a free consultation with one of our Salt Lake City statutory rape defense lawyers, call either of the two numbers listed above or contact us with a brief e-mail message. We offer a free initial consultation, and we accept major credit cards.
While this website provides general information, it does not constitute legal advice. The best way to get guidance on your specific legal issue is to contact a lawyer. To schedule a meeting with an attorney, please call or complete the intake form below.
Greg S. Law, provides aggressive criminal defense representation in the Salt Lake City area and throughout the state of Utah, including cities such as Ogden, Provo, Park City, Sandy, Orem, Heber, Vernal, Duchesne, Roosevelt, Tooele, West Valley City, West Jordan, Kearns, Murray, Cottonwood Heights, Layton, Kaysville, Farmington, Centerville, Bountiful, Price, Moab, Cedar City and St. George. Salt Lake County ∙ Davis County ∙ Weber County ∙ Utah County ∙ Summit County (UT)