NRS 200.368: A Look at Nevada’s Statutory Rape Laws and Penalties
Statutory rape, or statutory sexual seduction, occurs when an adult engages in sexual penetration with someone under the age of consent – which is 16 years old in Nevada. It is important to understand that it does not matter if both parties consented to engage in sexual activity; if one party is below the legal age of consent then statutory rape has occurred and can be punishable by law. Of course, there are nuances to this and we’ll cover them all below.
In addition to criminal charges, individuals charged with statutory rape may face civil lawsuits as well as long-term social consequences such as difficulty finding employment or housing due to their conviction. It is essential that anyone accused of this crime understands all aspects of NRS 200.368 so they can make informed decisions about how best to defend themselves against these charges.
What Does NRS 200.368 Say
NRS 200.368 Statutory sexual seduction: Penalties. A person who commits statutory sexual seduction shall be punished:
1. If the person is 21 years of age or older at the time of the commission of the offense, for a category B felony by imprisonment in the state prison for a minimum term of not less than 1 year and a maximum term of not more than 10 years, and may be further punished by a fine of not more than $10,000.
2. Except as otherwise provided in subsection 3, if the person is under the age of 21 years, for a gross misdemeanor.
3. If the person is under the age of 21 years and has previously been convicted of a sexual offense, as defined in NRS 179D.097, for a category D felony as provided in NRS 193.130.
What Is Statutory Rape According to Nevada Law
Statutory rape is defined by Nevada law as having four main elements:
- Penetrative sex was present
- The defendant is at least 18 years old
- The victim is 14 or 15 years old
- The defendant is at least 4 years older than the victim
These elements need to be present for statutory sexual seduction to be charged.
For example, if there weren’t any penetrative sex involved, adults may be charged with lewdness with a child instead. By definition, penetrative sex means any type of penetration, such as oral-genital and/or genital-anal contact. This also includes penetration with fingers or objects.
Nevada’s Romeo and Juliet Law
There is an exception to the age of consent called Nevada’s Romeo and Juliet law. This law allows minors who are at least 14 years old and engage in consensual sexual activity with someone within four years of their age to be exempt from statutory rape charges, even if penetration does occur.
This “close in age” exception is defined by NRS 200.364.
For example, Cody, who is 18 years old, has consensual sexual activity with Tina, who is 15 years old, Cody would not be charged with statutory rape because both are within four years of each other’s age. But if Cody is over 19, then he may be charged with statutory rape because he is more than four years older than Tina.
Penalties for Statutory Sexual Seduction
If the age of the defendant is 21 or older, the penalty he/she will face for violating NRS 200.368 is a category B felony, which carries a minimum of one year in prison, up to 10 years in prison, and possibly up to $10,000 in fines.
If the defendant is under 21, he/she may be charged with a category D felony, which carries 1-4 years in prison and up to $5,000 in fines if they have prior sex crime convictions. If none, they will face gross misdemeanor charges, which carry up to 364 days in jail and/or up to $2,000 in fines.
Here’s a table summarizing the penalties one could face when convicted of statutory rape:
|Age of defendant||Penalties|
|21 or older||Category B felony:
– 1-10 years in prison
– up to $10,000 in fines
|Under 21; no prior sex crime convictions||Gross misdemeanor:
– Up to 364 days in jail
– Up to $2,000 in fines
|Under 21; with prior sex crime convictions||Category D felony:
– 1-4 years in jail
– Up to $5,000 in fines
Defenses to a Statutory Rape Charge
If you have been charged with statutory rape, it is important to know that there are a few defenses one could use.
No Penetrative Sex Occurred
The first defense is to show that no penetrative sex occurred. If there was only kissing, touching, or using objects and toys to explore each other’s bodies without penetration, then you cannot be convicted of statutory rape.
The Victim Was Above the Age of Consent
Statutory rape can only apply if either one of these statements is true:
- The victim is at least 16 years old
- The victim was 14 or 15 but less than 4 years younger than the defendant
If the victim is 16 or older, and if they consented to sexual activity with you, then you cannot be convicted of statutory rape.
Also, following the Romero and Juliet Rule explained above, it the victim is 14 or 15 years old, but the defendant who had penetrative sex with them is below 4 years,
You Were Falsely Accused
It is not uncommon for victims to falsely accuse someone of statutory rape out of spite, anger, or revenge. If you can prove that the allegations are false and were made maliciously, then this defense could be used in court.
Why You Can’t Use “I Didn’t Know” Defense
A common misconception is that the defendant can use an “I didn’t know” defense if they were unaware of the victim’s age. This defense cannot be used in Nevada because ignorance of the victim’s age does not matter for statutory rape charges. Under Nevada law, statutory rape is a strict liability crime.
Simply put, even if the defendant was genuinely unaware of the victim’s age, it would still be considered a criminal act, and they would still be held accountable. Yes, this includes even if the victim lies about their age—whether they told you or even had a fake ID on them.
Additional Consequences of a Statutory Rape Conviction
A statutory rape conviction can lead to numerous additional consequences in addition to prison time, fines, and probation.
If convicted of a felony, you have to register as a Tier III sex offender for life. If convicted of a gross misdemeanor, you must still register as a Tier I sex offender for 15 years.
Can Records Be Sealed?
This depends on the conviction.
Statutory sexual seduction convictions classified as gross misdemeanors can be sealed two years following the termination of the case. However, felony convictions will remain on one’s record indefinitely and are unable to ever be sealed.
Of course, if the charges get dismissed, the defendant can file a petition to have the records sealed right away.
It is also important to note that statutory sexual seduction convictions will show up on background checks, so it could limit one’s future job opportunities and living arrangements.
It is highly recommended to speak with an experienced attorney if you are facing or have been convicted of statutory rape charges in Nevada.
Speak to an Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney Today
If you are facing or have been charged with statutory rape, it is wise to speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. An attorney will be able to explain the charges in full detail and give you all the available legal options to seek a lesser sentence or have your charges dropped altogether.
Additionally, they can help you apply to have your records sealed if the charges get dismissed or after they have been resolved.
At The Defenders, we have the experience and knowledge to build a strong defense on your behalf. Contact us today for a free consultation. Our knowledgeable attorneys will review your case, provide you with honest feedback and fight hard to get the best possible outcome for your case.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is statutory rape a felony or misdemeanor in Nevada?
Statutory rape in Nevada is classified as either a felony or misdemeanor, depending on the age of the victim and the defendant. If the defendant is over 21 years of age, they’ll face felony charges; if they are under 21 with no prior convictions, they’ll face misdemeanor charges, but if they do, they’ll face felony charges.
What are the consequences of a statutory rape conviction?
The consequences for a statutory rape conviction in Nevada may include prison time, fines, probation, and registering as a sex offender. Depending on the circumstances, the conviction may be classified as either a felony or gross misdemeanor. A felony conviction will result in lifetime registration, whereas a gross misdemeanor will require 15-year registration as a sex offender.
How long do I have to register as a sex offender for statutory rape?
If convicted of felony, you will have to register as a Tier III sex offender for life. If convicted of gross misdemeanor, you must still register as a Tier I sex offender for 15 years.
Can records be sealed after being convicted of statutory rape?
Yes, if the conviction was classified as a gross misdemeanor then you may apply to have your records sealed two years after the case has been terminated. Felony convictions, however, will remain on one’s record indefinitely and are unable to ever be sealed.
Can the “I didn’t know” defense work in court?
No. Statutory rape is a strict liability crime and ignorance of a victim’s age does not matter. Even if the defendant was genuinely unaware of the victim’s age or the victim liked about their age, they would still be held accountable Nonetheless, it is recommended to speak with an experienced attorney that can provide you with all legal options available for your situation.