In the state of Nevada, the age of consent when a person may knowingly
and legally choose to engage in sexual activity is 16. Adults who have
sex with minors younger than this age can be arrested and charged with
statutory rape, a serious
sex crime with harsh criminal penalties upon conviction. But what happens if a person
has sex with a minor under the belief that the minor is actually of age?
Ignorance Is Not a Defense
Statutory rape is considered a “strict liability crime,” meaning
that a defendant can be found guilty of this type of offense even if he/she
was genuinely unaware that the alleged victim was under the age of consent.
In other words, it is irrelevant whether or not the defendant had knowledge
of the victim’s age, nor whether the minor agreed to the act. As
impractical as it may be, adults have a legal responsibility to verify
the age of all sexual partners.
Defendants can still be found guilty of statutory rape even under the following
- The minor lied about their age
- The minor had a fake ID
- The minor expressed their consent
- The minor initiated the activity
Possible Defenses to Statutory Rape
Although pleading ignorance of a minor’s age is not a valid defense,
there are still several different strategies that an attorney can use
to defend against charges of statutory rape. Possible defenses include:
False accusations: Like
domestic violence and
sexual assault charges, many people who are charged with statutory rape are falsely accused
by others out of anger, revenge, or some other ulterior motive. An attorney
can seek to expose these allegations as false by identifying inconsistencies
in the statements of the accuser, witnesses, and police.
Age of consent: If the alleged victim was indeed 16 years of age or older at the time
of the sexual act, then the statutory rape charges cannot stand.
Lack of evidence: A defendant may only be convicted of statutory rape if the prosecution
is able to prove his or her guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. If an attorney
can argue that the state’s evidence is insufficient or allows for
too much ambiguity, the prosecution may reduce or dismiss the charges.
Accused of Statutory Rape? Call (702) 866-9864
If you have been accused of statutory rape, it is imperative you contact
Las Vegas criminal defense attorney from the Law Office of David R. Fischer as soon as possible to begin building
your defense. With a 100% dedication to preserving the rights of the accused
and a lengthy history of
case victories, we have what it takes to guard your wellbeing during this frightening time.
Schedule your free case review today to find out more about how we can help.