Statutory Rape

Experienced Defense of Statutory Rape Crimes

Often, a person charged with a statutory rape crime was unaware at the time the sexual activity took place that their partner was a minor.  Being ignorant of the minor’s age or even being told a lie by the minor about their age are not defenses to statutory rape crimes in Utah.  If you have been charged with Unlawful Sexual Activity with a Minor, Sexual Abuse of a Minor, or Unlawful Sexual Conduct with a 16 or 17 Year Old, your best course of action is to call the experienced criminal defense lawyers at Intermountain Legal.  With our background in criminal prosecution, we have handled statutory rape charges from both sides of the aisle, so we have the knowledge and the experience to help you navigate the criminal justice system and get on with your life.

Set up a free initial consultation with a skilled attorney, contact our office in Salt Lake City today.

What is Statutory Rape?

statutory rape

Statutory rape is the commonly used name for sexual activity which becomes a crime only because of the respective ages of the people who are involved.  “Statutory” means as defined by statute, or under the law.  In Utah, statutory rape is called Unlawful Sexual Activity with a Minor, Sexual Abuse of a Minor, or Unlawful Sexual Conduct with a 16 or 17 Year Old.  This offense is based on the idea that minors are not legally capable of giving their consent to sexual activity, even if they actively agree to participate. Therefore, conduct which constitutes this crime may be nothing like the crime of “rape” as it is commonly understood. However, the penalties for statutory rape can be just as severe and life changing.

Utah treats statutory rape much like child abuse, and penalties can include fines, incarceration, and in some cases even registration as a sex offender. If you have been charged with statutory rape or unlawful sex with a minor in Utah, an experienced criminal defense attorney can protect your rights and advise you of your options.  The criminal defense attorneys at Intermountain Legal have the knowledge and experience to help you navigate this difficult situation.

Statutory Rape Crimes

Utah classifies statutory rape charges according to the age of the minor, the age of the other participant, and the type of sexual activity involved.  The three general crimes are Unlawful Sexual Activity with a Minor, Sexual Abuse of a Minor, and Unlawful Sexual Contact with a 16 or 17 Year Old. If you have been charged with any of these crimes, a criminal defense attorney from Intermountain Legal can help you to minimize the consequences.

Unlawful Sexual Activity with a Minor

The state of Utah uses the charge of Unlawful Sexual Activity with a Minor if, at the time the sexual activity took place, the minor was over the age of 14 but under the age of 16.  Utah uses this charge under circumstances that don’t warrant charges for a more serious crime like rape, object rape, forcible sodomy or aggravated sexual assault.  The unlawful sexual activity involved may include having sexual intercourse with the minor, engaging in a sex act which involves the genitals of one person and the mouth or anus of the other person, or penetrating the minor’s genital or anal opening with a body part or any kind of object with the intention of either gratifying a sexual desire or causing emotional or bodily pain.  The state of Utah applies the crime of Unlawful Sexual Activity with a Minor the same regardless of the gender of either of the participants in the sexual activity.  This is a third degree felony unless the defendant can prove that at the time of sexual activity took place he or she was less than four years older than the minor.

Sexual Abuse of a Minor

For the Utah crime of Sexual Abuse of a Minor to apply, the minor must be between 14 and 16 years old and the defendant must be at least seven years older than the minor.  The charge of Sexual Abuse of Minor is used in circumstances where the more serious crimes of rape, object rape, forcible sodomy, aggravated sexual assault, or unlawful sexual activity with a minor do not apply. The sexual activity involved in this crime can include touching the anus, buttocks, or genitals of a minor or the breasts of a female minor.  It can also include taking “indecent liberties” with the minor or causing the minor to take “indecent liberties” with the adult for the purpose of inflicting physical or emotional pain or to gratify a sexual desire.  The Utah law does not specifically define “indecent liberties,” but it can include acts such as exposing one’s genitals to the minor or talking to the minor about sexual activities.  Utah does not differentiate between genders in this offense.  Sexual Abuse of a Minor is a class A misdemeanor.

Unlawful Sexual Conduct with a 16 or 17 Year Old in Utah

As specified by the title of this offense, a victim of Unlawful Sexual Conduct with a 16 or 17 Year Old must have been 16 or 17 years old at the time the sexual contact took place.  To be charged with this crime, the actor must be at least ten years older than the minor.  A person can be charged with this crime if they have sex with the minor, engage in any sex act with the minor involving the genitals of one person and the mouth or anus of the other person, or penetrate the genitals or anus of the minor with any object or body part with the intent of causing physical or emotional pain or to gratify a sexual desire.  This crime is a third degree felony.

Unlawful Sexual Conduct with a 16 or 17 Year Old can also include touching the genitals, buttocks, or anus of any minor or the breast of a female minor or taking an “indecent liberty” with the minor or causing the minor to take an “indecent liberty” with the actor with the intent of causing physical or emotional pain or to gratify a sexual desire.  This crime is a class A misdemeanor.  The charge of Unlawful Sexual Conduct with a 16 or 17 Year Old is used when the circumstances don’t justify charging a more serious crime such as rape, object rape, forcible sodomy, forcible sexual abuse, or aggravated sexual assault.  The charge can be applied without regard to the gender of either the minor or the adult.

Let Intermountain Legal Defend You

The knowledgeable and dedicated legal team at Intermountain Legal knows how to defend you against criminal charges. To set up a free initial consultation with a skilled attorney, contact our office in Salt Lake City today.