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Criminal charges for statutory rape

Statutory rape occurs when a minor is manipulated into sexual contact with an older person. Age of consent laws regulate whether minors can consent to sex.

Jeffery L. Weeden | Mar 18, 2020

Colorado Restraining Order

What is a Restraining Order in Colorado? In Colorado, anyone fearing for their safety can apply for a restraining order from the local court. From here, the judge may issue a temporary restraining order or permanent restraining order. Colorado courts issue restraining orders that prohibit contact between people to prevent harm. Restraining orders are often issued in domestic abuse situations. Grounds for a Restraining Order in Colorado stalking sexual assault unlawful sexual contact or advances physical assault threats abuse of the elderly Restraining Orders Are Also Referred To As: Protective Orders Protection Orders Orders of Protection No Contact Orders Stay Away Orders What is an Emergency Protective Order (EPO)? Emergency protection orders are a type of restraining order that last 3 days. Typically, a police officer obtains an EPO for an alleged victim when he or she is in immediate danger from domestic abuse or sex offense, and the request was made after normal court hours. EPOs must be served to the other party be either a local sheriff, a process server or anyone over 18, who isn’t mentioned in the EPO. The sentences for violating a protection order in Colorado are as follows: Civil Protection Order (TRO, PRO or EPO) First Offense: Class 2 Misdemeanor. 3-12 months in jail and/or $250-$1000 in fines. Civil Protection Order (TRO, PRO or EPO) Subsequent Offense: Class 1 Misdemeanor. 6-24 months in jail and/or $500-$5000 in fines. Criminal Protection Order First Offense: Class 1 Misdemeanor. 6-18 months in jail and/or $500-$5000 in fines. Criminal Protection Order Subsequent Offense: Class 1 Misdemeanor. 6-24 months in jail and/or $500-$5000 in fines. How Much Does a Restraining Order in Colorado Cost? The court may assess a filing fee to the person seeking a restraining order in Colorado. A filing fee of $85 is typically required except when the person seeking the order is a victim of domestic abuse, sexual assault, stalking or unlawful sexual advances. For those who wish to file but cannot afford the fee may fill out a motion to file without payment. If the court approves, your filing fee can be waved. At the end of the day, a restraining order can cost you a lot more than the initial $85, as these orders often end up having far-reaching, unintended consequences for all parties. Restraining orders in Colorado, and any state for that matter, are only as strong as the alleged abuser’s willingness to obey the law. On the other end of the spectrum, the alleged abuser may not have actually committed any crime, or act of violence, and is being falsely accused. Unfortunately, protective orders in Colorado can take a heavy toll on the alleged abuser’s reputation, bank account, and everyday life. Because of the difficulty of terminating it, if you have a Colorado restraining order, you should contact a domestic violence criminal defense attorney immediately.

Jeffery L. Weeden | Mar 9, 2020

Romeo and Juliet Law in Colorado

What are Colorado’s Statutory Rape Laws? In Colorado, like in many states, we colloquially call our statutory rape laws the “Romeo and Juliet law”. This is in reference to the fact that Shakespeare’s titular pair were several years apart in age, and that Juliet was underage while Romeo was not; in a Romeo and Juliet law, there is an exception for young people close in age where one is underage. The premise of the Romeo and Juliet law is that minors are not capable of giving consent to sexual activity. Statutory rape occurs when an adult (a person over the age of 18) engages in sexual activity with someone under the age of 15. It’s important to note that while statutory rape is still rape, Colorado differentiates it from other types of rape. Rape that involves force or an assault is very much illegal, and Colorado prosecutes it as forcible rape. Other assaults of a sexual nature might fall under the state’s assault and battery or molestation laws. First, let’s talk more about the difference between statutory rape and forcible rape. As we mentioned before, both crimes are rape in the eyes of the law. However, the rape becomes statutory when there is a difference in age between the two parties, and not when there was force involved. The term “statutory” means that the law would not consider the sexual activity to be rape if both parties were over the age of 18. The law does not believe a minor can consent, thus making the sexual activity rape. Colorado prosecutes statutory rape under the sexual assault laws. The severity of the charge, and the penalty, depend on the ages of the two parties. A sexual assault occurs when there is some form of penetration, however slight, between: A minor who is 14 or younger and a defendant who is at least four years older than the minor, or A 15 or 16 years old minor and a defendant who is at least ten years older than the minor. If the minor is 14 or younger, the offense is a class 4 felony. In the second case, when the minor is 15 or 16, this is a misdemeanor. Sexual assault on a child occurs when there is sexual touching, not including penetration, even if the touching occurs over their clothing. The minor in question must be 14 or younger and the defendant at least four years older than the minor. This offense is also a class 4 felony. What are the Penalties for Statutory Rape in Colorado? Sexual assault on a child is a class 4 felony. Sexual assault is also a class 4 felony when the minor is 14 or younger. If the minor is between 14 and 17, sexual assault is a misdemeanor. The penalty for sexual assault where the minor is 14 or younger is anywhere from 2 to 6 years in prison. The fines could be anywhere from $2000 to $500,000. If the minor is 15 or 16, the misdemeanor penalties will be a fine between $500 and $5000, as well as at least six months in jail. Sexual assault on a child is also a class 4 felony and has the same penalty as sexual assault with a minor 14 or younger. State law also requires that, in addition to the fines and prison time, that people with statutory rape charges must register as sexual offenders. What Are Some Legal Defenses to a Statutory Rape Charge? Defendants that Colorado charges with statutory rape have the usual defenses available to all criminal defendants. Defendants can argue that the crime simply didn’t take place. They can argue that someone else committed the crime. Specifically, in cases of statutory rape, one or more of the following defenses may also apply: Marriage Colorado has an exemption for statutory rape that allows two married people to have consensual sex, regardless of their ages. Let’s look at an example: minors cannot consent to sex. So, if a 13-year-old has sex with her 19-year-old boyfriend, the boyfriend is guilty of statutory rape. Colorado can and will prosecute him under its sexual assault laws. But if the two are legally married and living in Colorado, no crime has taken place. It is important to note that despite this law, it is still illegal to forcibly rape your spouse. If a man forcibly rapes his wife, he has no defense under the law, despite the fact that they were married. The Romeo and Juliet Law We’re back to Shakespeare. This exception exists to protect two teenagers engaging in consensual sex when they are close in age, as Romeo and Juliet were. The Romeo and Juliet law allows consensual sex between a minor 14 or younger and a defendant 3 or fewer years older than that minor. This means that if a 13-year-old engages in consensual sex with a 16-year-old, no crime has taken place. The Romeo and Juliet law also protects minors 15 or 16 and defendants that are nine or fewer years older. Therefore, if a 16-year-old has consensual sex with a 24-year-old, the Romeo and Juliet law protects them from statutory rape charges. Mistake of Age This is a defense that defendants often employ when they incur a statutory rape charge. In some states, it is a viable defense. While it may be true that you believed your partner was older than they were, it is not a viable defense in Colorado. Even if your mistake was reasonable, even if the minor had a fake ID, mistakes in age are not a defense in Colorado.

Belen Olmedo Guerra | Feb 7, 2020

Arizona Age of Consent

What is the Arizona Age of Consent? Do you know the Arizona age of consent? “Age of consent” refers to the age a person must reach before they can legally consent to sexual intercourse with another person. Every state’s age of consent law is a little different, but in every state, violating these laws has dire consequences. If you fail to follow the Arizona age of consent laws, you could face a sex crime conviction. Arizona courts prosecute sex crimes doggedly. They are often crimes that evoke a strong emotional response in the public. Regardless of the actual circumstances of your offense, prosecutors will seek harsh punishment. In this post, experienced Phoenix sex crimes attorney Belen Olmedo Guerra will answer all your questions about Arizona age of consent laws. We’ll talk about what these laws are, the potential repercussions, and possible legal defenses. According to A.R.S 13-1405, the Arizona age of consent is 18 years old. Under this statute, it is illegal to knowingly engage in sexual intercourse or oral sexual contact with anyone under the age of 18. This means that if you are 21 and your partner is 17, it is illegal for you to have sexual contact with your partner. Violation of these laws could saddle you with a statutory rape charge. What are the Consequences of Violating the Arizona Age of Consent Laws? Statutory rape is consensual sexual or oral intercourse who is below the Arizona age of consent. Don’t let the term “statutory rape” fool you into thinking that consent will be a legal defense. The age of consent means that no one under the age of 18 can legally consent, at all. If you are in your 20s and your partner is under 18, even if they consent to sexual contact with you, it is illegal. If a court charges you, they will charge you with statutory rape. More than likely, it will be a felony charge. The exact classification of felony ultimately depends on the other person’s age. Arizona law breaks statutory rape up into several categories, depending on the relative ages of the two people. The categories and penalties are as follows: Sexual Conduct with a Minor This simply refers to sexual contact between a defendant of any age, and a child younger than 18. It usually only applies when the defendant is more than two years older than the other party. So if you are 17 and your partner is 14, you may face statutory rape charges if you have sexual contact with them. This is a felony charge. If the other party is 15 or older, you may face up to a year in prison. It becomes a class 2 felony under the following conditions: If the defendant is the guardian If the other party is younger than 15 This means that even if the minor is 17 years old, if you are their parent, stepparent, adoptive parent, foster parent, or legal guardian, Arizona courts will charge you with a class 2 felony for having sexual contact with them. This rule also applies to priests and teachers. For a class 2 felony, you may be facing considerable prison time. If the other party is younger than 12, a court could give you life in prison. If the other party is between 12 and 14, the presumptive sentence is 20 years. Molestation of a Child Arizona law defines the molestation of a child as sexual contact without penetration between a minor under the age of 14 and a defendant of any age. Again, it usually only applies if the defendant is more than two years older than the other party. This is a class 2 felony charge. If the minor is 14, consequences are potentially five years of prison. If the minor is younger than 14, the presumptive sentence is 20 years. Sexual Abuse Sexual abuse occurs when there is consensual sexual contact between a minor who is 14 or younger and a defendant of any age. The exact type of sexual contact, as well as the ages of the two parties, will factor heavily in the penalties for this crime. Exceptions to the Arizona Age of Consent There are a few legal defenses to violating the Arizona age of consent laws. The most common are as follows: The “Romeo and Juliet” Law We already talked about how much the relative age of the two parties matters. Often, if they are particularly close in age, sexual contact is not illegal. Arizona also calls this the Age Difference Defense. Your defense attorney can invoke the Romeo and Juliet law under very specific conditions. These conditions are: If the other party is 15, 16, or 17 years old The defendant is younger than 19, or The defendant is still attending high school, and The defendant is not more than two years older than the other party, and If the conduct is consensual. So, an example of a situation where the Romeo and Juliet law applies: The defendant is 18 years old, and their partner is 17. Sexual contact between these two does not violate the age of consent laws in Arizona, even though one of them is under the age of consent. Mistaken Identity In many states, this is not a defense. It is viable in Arizona. With this defense, the attorney will argue that the other party lied to the defendant about their age. They will argue that the defendant was not aware the other party was so young. For this defense to be viable, the defendant has to make reasonable attempts to determine the other party’s age. The fact that the defendant lied about their age is not enough, even if it is true. The Marital Exception There is a marital exception to the Arizona age of consent laws. This means that if, for instance, you are 20 years old but your husband is 17, sexual contact between the two of you is not illegal. It would be illegal if you were not married. But marriage is not a catch-all defense for sex crimes. If a husband rapes his wife (forces her to have sex against her will) it is still rape.

Luke H. Neuville | Nov 11, 2019

What is the Age of Consent in Minnesota?

Levels of Offense In Minnesota, there are four degrees of criminal sexual conduct involving statutory rape. The most serious felony is First Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct. This occurs when there is “sexual penetration” involving: 1. a minor under the age of 13 and a defendant who is three or more years older, or 2. a minor who is at least 13 years old but under the age of 16 and a defendant who is four or more years older and is in a position of authority over the minor. “Sexual penetration” is defined in Minn. Stat. § 609.341, subd. 12 and includes vaginal, anal or oral penetration. Second Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct occurs when there is sexual contact (not penetration) and involves: 1. a minor under the age of 13 and the defendant is three or more years older, or 2. a child at least 13 years old but under the age of 16 and the defendant is more than four years older and in a position of authority over the child. “Sexual contact” is defined in Minn. Stat. § 609.341, subd. 11 and includes the intentional touching of any intimate body part. Third Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct occurs when there is sexual penetration and involves: 1. a minor under the age of 13 and the defendant is not more than three years older, or 2. a minor over the age of 13 but under the age of 16 and the defendant is more than two years older, or 3. a minor at least 16 but under the age of 18 and the defendant is in a position of authority and more than four years older. Fourth Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct occurs when there sexual contact (not penetration) and involves: 1. a minor under the age of 13 and the defendant is not more than three years older, or 2. a minor at least 13 years old but under the age of 16 and the defendant is more than four years older or in a position of authority, or 3. a minor at least 16 years old but under the age of 18 and the defendant is in a position of authority over the child and more than four years older. Penalties and Defenses The penalties for anyone convicted of criminal sexual conduct are severe and vary from case to case. The most serious cases involve potentially up to 30 years in prison. Other cases deemed less serious may involve a jail sentence at a county jail and/or supervised probation. Individuals accused of “statutory rape” have defenses recognized by Minnesota’s courts. A common defense is that the defendant had no reason to know or believe that the other person was underage. If charged with an offense against a person under age 16, a defendant may be able to successfully argue that the other person represented that he or she was older and that a reasonable person under the circumstances would have believed him or her. In Minnesota, a reasonable mistake of age can be a defense to a statutory rape charge under certain, limited circumstances. However, in other circumstances, such as when the minor child is under 13 years of age and the defendant is more than 3 years older, neither mistake of age or consent by the minor is a defense. If you are facing a statutory rape charge in Stearns, Hennepin or any Minnesota county, you should immediately consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney. An experienced criminal defense lawyer can evaluate your case, assist with an independent investigation, and negotiate with the prosecutor to try and get your case dismissed or the criminal charges reduced.

Jeffery L. Weeden | Sep 10, 2019

Colorado Age of Consent Laws

Age of Consent Exceptions Close in Age Exemption Colorado has a “close in age” exemption, more commonly known as “Romeo and Juliet Law”. This states that anyone under the age of 15 can legally consent to have sexual relations with someone who is no more than 4 years older. Also, a person who is under the age of 17, can legally consent to have sex with someone who is no more than 10 years older. This law is more lenient than other states, especially when you consider that a 15 year old can legally have sex with a 24 year old, as long as the sex is consensual. Although the age of consent is 17 in Colorado, the child prostitution laws extend to those who are 18 and under. Colorado Common Law Marriage Colorado recognizes common law marriage and is one of the only states to do so. What is common law marriage? When two people live together over a certain amount of time and consider themselves to be married, they may be treated as legally married in the state of Colorado. The laws surrounding common law marriage in Colorado do not specifically state a minimum age for common law marriage. Age of Consent Defense Colorado does not provide for any mistake of fact defense. Some states have what’s called a strict liability standard. This means that defendants cannot argue that he or she did not realize that the other was not able to consent. This makes statutory rape a strict liability crime. Therefore, even if the defendant was lied to, they may still be held criminally liable. Violating the Age of Consent in Colorado The state of Colorado has six statutory sexual abuse charges. One or more of these may be issued to prosecute violations of the Colorado Age of Consent laws. The severity of the prosecution relies on the specific acts committed and the ages of both parties: -Internet Sexual Exploitation of a Child Class 4 Felony 1-12 Years in Prison $2000-$500,000 Fine -Procurement of a Child For Sexual Exploitation Class 3 Felony 2-24 Years in Prison $3000-$750,000 Fine -Sexual Assault Class 1 Misdemeanor/Class 4 Felony 6-18 Month Sentence $500-$5000 Fine 2-6 Years in Prison -Sexual Assault of a Child Class 3 Felony/Class 4 Felony 2-23 Years in Prison/1-12 Years in Prison $3000-$750000 Fine/$2000-$500,000 Fine -Sexual Assault of a Child in a Position of Trust Class 3 Felony /Class 4 Felony 2-23 Years in Prison/1-12 Years in Prison $3000-$750000 Fine/$2000-$500,000 Fine -Sexual Exploitation of a Child Class 3 Felony/Class 4 Felony/Class 6 Felony 2-23 Years in Prison/1-12 Years in Prison/1-1.5 Years in Prison $3000-$750000 Fine/$2000-$500,000 Fine/$1000-$100,000 Fine

Jeffrey M. Miller | Jan 24, 2018

I have been accused of Rape by my Stepdaughter/Niece/Co-worker/Ex-girlfriend. What should I do?

Myths about Rape or Criminal Sexual Assault cases The alleged victim says it happened when she was child. It was a number of years ago. There is no evidence. THIS IS A DANGEROUS ASSUMPTION. As is true in any criminal case, there are all types of evidence. Generally speaking, there are two types of evidence. First, Direct evidence. Direct evidence would be include a witness making observations of a criminal act. There is also circumstantial evidence. Here, there is no direct observation of anything criminal, however, a prosecutor will argue that you can infer from the circumstances that some fact they are trying to prove is true. The words or the alleged victim without any supporting evidence The words of the alleged victim ARE EVIDENCE. When the alleged victim testifies that she has been raped or sexually assaulted, that is evidence toward the prosecution of the charge. often times, the question for the jury is whether they believe the alleged victim. As the factfinder, the jury determines whether or not they credit all of what the alleged victim testifies to, some of what the alleged victim testifies to or none of what the alleged victim testifies to. In a case where no physical evidence supports the alleged victim's claim, a critical issue at trial will be Why is the Alleged Victim making the allegations. Possible Reasons for alleging Sexual Assault. The list is long and varied. The alleged victim may be lying. If so, what is the motivation to lie? The alleged victim may be mistaken. If so, what are the details of the circumstances surrounding the disclosure? The alleged victim may have been influenced by another. If so, what are the possible sources of the influence? Defending a Rape or Criminal Sexual Assault requires a skilled and experienced attorney. A deep investigation along with an attention to detail is critical to defend a sexual assault case. DO NOT take the charged lightly. The effect of a criminal conviction for Rape or a Criminal Sexual Assault is a life-changing experience. Frequently, those charged with such offenses receive prison sentences, are required to register as sex offenders and are cast as deviant in society. Unfortunately, the stigma is very difficult to wash off. Consult with and hire an experienced criminal defense attorney early in your case.

Andrea Lynn Ciobanu | Nov 27, 2014

What is the age of consent for a sexual/romantic relationship in Indiana?

What is the age of consent in Indiana? The age of consent in Indiana, generally speaking (and without a "special relationship" is 16. (See, IC 35-42-4-3). Please note, this age is lower than many states and the information contained herein relates to Indiana laws only. However, this must be a "consensual relationship." A minor under the age of 16 is not considered legally old enough to consent, even if they are "older." (Please note, Romeo & Juliet Laws may apply for two younger minors in a consenting romantic relationship, as explained in more detail in the next section of this guide.) For instance, a person commits the crime of sexual misconduct in Indiana by engaging in any sexual conduct with a child over the age of 14 but under the age of 16. Sexual misconduct is punished more severely if: the defendant is over the age of 21 the sexual conduct includes sexual intercourse, penetration, or the defendant uses force or violence or engages in sexual conduct without the child's consent. (Ind. Code Ann. Sect. 35-42-4-9.) Just because the person is 16 and can "legally consent," this does not preclude them from later alleging their were forced, because forced relationships are never legal. Further, under no circumstances should nude pictures be taken or shared because this inevitably leads to endless problems and is a different legal issue altogether. What if I am 18 or younger and I am involved in a romantic relationship with a minor? "Romeo and Juliet" defenses protect young people from criminal charges for engaging in consensual sex with others close to their own age (e.g. within 4 years). In Indiana, it is a defense to a charge of sexual misconduct (except by force or violence) that: the defendant is under the age of 21 and not more than four years older than the victim, and the defendant and the victim were in an ongoing personal relationship. (Ind. Code Ann. Sect. 35-42-4-9.) For example, an 18-year-old who is romantically involved with a 15-year-old could assert this defense and hope to avoid criminal charges or conviction. However, practically speaking, having such a relationship while "potentially legal" can lead to other serious complications and consequences. It is best to make such a serious decision in your life when both parties are emotionally mature enough to handle such a relationship and the ramifications of a romantic relationship at a young age. Once a young woman becomes pregnant, there are decisions one must make that will affect the rest of one's life. Additionally, most parents do not accept/approve of such relationships, (understandably so) and you must consider the repercussions of engaging in such a relationship with a minor and having to deal with his or her parents' reaction. There are other financial, emotional, and physical repercussions for engaging in a romantic relationship at such a young age, all which could have dire consequences. However, the point of this guide is to provide pertinent laws and helpful information and the rest is up to you. What are "special relationships"? What is "Child Seduction"? While anyone can commit child molestation or sexual misconduct, only a person over the age of 18 in a position of supervision or trust over a child can commit the crime of child seduction. A person who engages in any sexual activity with a child over the age of 16 but under the age of 18 commits child seduction where the defendant is: the child's guardian, adoptive parent, adoptive grandparent, or stepparent the child's teacher or an employee of the child's school, or a military recruiter who is attempting to enlist the child. (Ind. Code Ann. Sect. 35-42-4-7.) For example, a teacher or a legal guardian who sleeps with a 17-year-old student or minor is guilty of child seduction. What if I make a mistake as to a person's age? Defenses Indiana law provides important defense to statutory rape. In many states, a defendant's mistaken belief as to a child's age is not a defense to a statutory rape. However, in Indiana, it is a defense in some sex crimes that: the defendant mistakenly believed the child to be of a particular age the defendant's belief was reasonable (supported by the circumstances-please note--this is factually based), and if the child were that age, the conduct at issue would not be criminal. For example, if the child said that he or she was 17 years old, and other people told the defendant that the child was 17 years old, and the child was friendly with other 17 and 18-year-old children, then a defendant might be (please note this is not conclusive) able to avoid a conviction for sexual misconduct. This defense does not apply in cases of sexual misconduct by force or violence, because that conduct is criminal no matter what the victim's age. (Ind. Code Ann. Sects. 35-41-3-7, 35-42-4-9; Lechner v. State, 715 N.E.2d 1285 (Ind. Ct. App. 1999).) Please note, this is only a potential defense, not unequivocal, and very narrowly tailored to the facts and circumstances at hand. For instance, even if a person mistakenly believes the minor is 16 (or even older) and they are only 14, that will not be a defense. The minor must be at least 15 in the case of a consenting adult relationship to raise the defense of mistaken age. (See, IC 35-42-4-3 (c)). Also, as there are many exceptions to these rules, (for instance, the use of force, violence, or drugs are never excused in any circumstances) and this guide is general information and citation to Indiana's pertinent laws. The best way to protect yourself is to not get involved with a minor romantic relationship and wait until both parties are physically and emotionally mature to handle such a relationship. However, in the event you do find yourself in such a situation, or you have been charged or investigated for a crime in connection with a relationship with a minor, and/or you are questioned in such a relationship, do not make any statements, and seek the advice, expertise, and guidance of experienced counsel immediately.