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Are All Sex Crimes Felonies in Utah?

 Posted on February 28, 2024 in Sex crimes

UT defense lawyerSex crimes encompass a wide range of acts. If you receive a sex crime conviction in Utah, you will risk spending time in jail, paying steep penalties, and being publicly listed as a sex offender. A sex offense can ruin your reputation, destroy your professional goals, and even compromise personal relationships.

If you are facing allegations of a sex crime, you need a Salt Lake City sex crimes attorney to defend your interests.

Felony versus Misdemeanor

The main difference between a felony and a misdemeanor is the amount of jail time. A felony carries at least one year in prison, with a misdemeanor having a maximum sentence of one year.

Utah Sex Crimes and Penalties

Below, we provide an overview of common sex crimes in Utah and the potential penalties for each.

Unlawful Sexual Activity with a Minor

A person has committed sexual abuse of a minor if the offender inappropriately touches a minor that is four years or younger.

Inappropriate touching can be defined as:

  • Touching the anus, buttocks, or any part of the genitals, or
  • Touching the breasts of a female, or
  • Taking other indecent liberties with a minor.

Under most circumstances, unlawful sexual activity with a minor is a third-degree felony, punishable by up to five years in prison and a potential fine of $5,000.

Certain mitigating factors may apply. For instance, this offense is a class B misdemeanor if the minor was less than four years younger than you at the time of the sexual act. If found guilty, you could be sentenced to up to six months of imprisonment with a maximum fine of $1,000.

If you can prove that you were less than 21 years old at the time, you may be charged with a class A misdemeanor. If convicted, you may be facing up to one year in jail and a potential fine of $2,500.


According to Utah Code §76-5-402, any sexual intercourse or sexual penetration without the consent of the victim is considered rape. It does not matter if you and the victim are married. As a first-degree felony, it is punishable from five years to a lifetime in prison. However, if you caused serious bodily injury to the victim during the act, then the minimum prison sentence will increase to 15 years.

The 15-year minimum term will also apply if you were younger than 18 years old and have a prior conviction of a grievous sexual crime. However, if you are older than 18 years old and have a prior conviction of a grievous sexual crime, you will be sentenced to life without parole.

Sodomy on a Child

If you engage in any sexual act or even sexual touching with a child under 14 years old, you may be charged with sodomy on a child. It is usually considered a first-degree felony, which can lead to 25 years to life in prison.

You could receive life without parole for causing the victim serious bodily injury and have a prior conviction of a grievous sexual crime. This would apply if you were an adult at the time of the sexual offense.

A prosecutor will levy charges against you only hearing from the victim’s perspective. A Davis County sex crimes defense attorney will listen to your version of events and build their defense based on all the facts.

A Salt Lake City, UT, Sex Crimes Defense Attorney Fighting for You

Sex crime charges are difficult to fight, especially if you do not understand the intricacies of the law. If you are fighting a sex crime charge, you need to speak with a Davis County, UT, sex crimes defense attorney. Reach out today online or call 385-777-2753 to schedule your free consultation.  

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