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Unlawful Sexual Conduct

Unlawful Sexual Activity

Statutory Rape Laws in Utah

Unlawful sexual activity (§76-5-401) occurs if a person 18 years old or older has sexual intercourse with a minor (defined as a person who is 14 years of age or older, but younger than 16), or engages in a sex act with the minor involving genitals, mouth or anus, or causes penetration of the genital or anal opening through a part of the human body or foreign object.

If the minor gave consent, it does not matter. Under Utah law (§76-5-401), minors are not legally capable of consenting to sexual activity, even if they did agree to participate. This crime is what is more commonly known as statutory rape.

Sentencing and Penalties

Unlawful sexual activity or statutory rape, as defined above, is a third-degree felony (§76-5-401). There are some exceptions. If the defendant is less than four years older than the minor, then the offense is classified as a class B misdemeanor. If the defendant was younger than 21 years of age at the time in which the sexual activity occurred, the offense is a class A misdemeanor (§76-5-401).

Other forms of Statutory Rape

There are other forms of statutory rape. Utah divides statutory rape into three categories: unlawful sexual activity with a minor, discussed above, but also sexual abuse of a minor and unlawful sexual conduct.

Sexual Abuse of a Minor

Sexual abuse of a minor occurs if the minor was 14 or 15 years old at the time in which the abuse took place and if the defendant was at least seven years older or had a relationship “of special trust” with the minor (§76-5-401.1). A relationship of “special trust” is defined under Utah law (§76-5-404.01) as teachers, employers, religious leaders, coaches, babysitters, or a person who is in an authority position. Sexual activity related to this crime includes touching the genitals, breasts, anus, or buttocks of the minor, or causing the minor to take “indecent liberties” to satisfy a sexual desire.

“Indecent liberties” are defined under Utah law (§76-5-416) as “touching the victim’s genitals, anus, buttocks, pubic area, or female breast,” “causing any part of the victim’s body to touch the actor’s or another’s genitals, pubic area, anus, buttocks, or female breast,” “simulating or pretending to engage in sexual intercourse with the victim,” or “causing the victim to simulate or pretend to engage in sexual intercourse with the actor or another” (§76-5-416).

Sentencing and Penalties for Sexual Abuse of a Minor

Sexual abuse of a minor is classified under Utah law (§76-5-404.1) as a second-degree felony punishable by 15 years in prison, which may be for life or life without parole if the defendant previously committed a grievous sexual offense.

Unlawful Sexual Conduct

Unlawful sexual conduct (§76-5-401.2) occurs if the minor is 16 or 17 years of age and the defendant is 7-10 years older than the minor and knew (or should have known) the age of the minor. Or if the defendant holds a “relationship of special trust” with the minor. Sexual activity related to this crime includes taking “indecent liberties,” sex, oral penetration or touching genitals.

Sentencing and Penalties for Unlawful Sexual Conduct

If an actor has sex with a minor or engages in a sex act penetrating the genitals or anus of the minor, this is a third-degree felony (§76-5-401.2). Touching the genitals, buttocks or breasts of a female minor, or taking indecent liberty with a minor, is a class A misdemeanor. If, at the time of the offense, the actor was a teacher or volunteer, then the crime is a third-degree felony (§76-5-401.2).

Experienced Defense Lawyers for Statutory Rape in Salt Lake City, Utah

The criminal defense attorneys at Liberty Law have more than 20 years of experience assisting people who have been charged with sex crimes like unlawful sexual activity or statutory rape. We have worked successfully towards acquittal or lesser charges. Call Liberty Law today at 801-709-6309 to receive a free consultation. We will carefully listen to the details of your case without judgment or bias. Let us put our expertise in action and help you to receive the best possible outcome in your case.