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3 Ways to Fight a Statutory Rape Charge in Utah

Posted on in Sex crimes

Salt Lake City Criminal Defense AttorneyStatutory rape laws can be confusing. They can vary wildly from state to state. In Utah, statutory rape means having consensual sexual contact with a minor who was too young to consent to sexual contact with the defendant, if the defendant knew or reasonably should have known of the age difference. The exact sex offense charged will depend largely on the ages of the alleged victim and the accused offender. Unlawful Sexual Activity With a Minor, Sexual Abuse of a Minor, and Unlawful Sexual Contact With a 16 or 17-Year-Old are three different charges that can all fall under the umbrella of “statutory rape.” Even if the sexual contact was consensual, minors may not be able to provide meaningful legal consent due to their age. If convicted, you could face years in prison and a lifetime as a sex offender. You will need the help of an experienced criminal defense lawyer to fight your statutory rape charges. 

Strategies for Defending a Statutory Rape Case

In some states, there are very few possible defenses to statutory rape. In Utah, there are more defenses available. If you are facing statutory rape charges, your lawyer may be able to protect you using defenses like:

  • Close in age - Utah has “Romeo and Juliet laws” that protect young couples who are close in age. It is common for a relationship that began when both parties were in high school to continue after one part has turned 18 years old. If you were within a few years of the alleged victim’s age, you may not have done anything illegal. 

  • No knowledge of age - Teenagers often try to make themselves appear older than they are, with varying degrees of success. Some minors even use illegal tools like fake IDs to enter bars or clubs that restrict entry to those over 18 or 21 years old. If you were seven to ten years older than the victim and could not reasonably have known the minor’s age, then you may have a very strong defense. For example, if you met them in an age-restricted club and they lied to you, you might not be guilty of any sex crime. 

  • No sexual contact - False accusations made by minors or their families are not all that uncommon. One powerful defense strategy is to show that the alleged sexual contact never happened. Anything from having an alibi at the time of the alleged sexual contact to showing that the minor had a motive to lie could help. 

If you have been charged with any offense amounting to statutory rape, it is important that you take the matter seriously and fight back. 

Get Help from a Davis County Sex Crimes Lawyer

Collins Rupp, P.C. is highly experienced at defending those who have been accused of a statutory rape offense and other sex crimes. Our skilled Salt Lake City sex crimes attorneys believe that every defendant is entitled to the best possible defense. Contact us at 385-777-2753 for a free consultation. 

 

Source: 

https://le.utah.gov/xcode/Title76/Chapter5/76-5-S401.html

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