Being accused of any type of sex crime is very serious. When the charges involve a child or a minor, the consequences can be even more severe. When charged with sexual assault of a minor or child sexual abuse, it is important that a defendant fully understands the allegations and associated consequences. A conviction for a child sex offense can follow a person for many years if not for life, whether it be a prison sentence or registration on the sex offender registry. According to the Utah criminal code, there are numerous sex offenses that involve children and minors. Some of these offenses and their penalties are as follows:
• Child sex abuse is a charge involving a person 18 years of age or older and a victim younger than 14 years of age. It generally is a second-degree felony unless there are aggravating circumstances. Aggravated sexual abuse of a child, when a child’s parent is the defendant, for example, is a first-degree felony and carries a penalty of 6, 10 or 15 years to life. Registration on the sex offender registry is for life.
• When sexual intercourse with a person 13 years old or younger is alleged, the charge is rape of a child. A child under 13 cannot consent to sexual intercourse. Object rape of a child is charged when objects other than the defendant’s personal body parts are used to rape the child. These charges are first degree felonies in the State of Utah. Mandatory prison time for 25 years up to life is the penalty. Lifetime registration on the sex offender registry is required.
• Sodomy upon a child is also a first-degree felony. Sodomy upon a child is commonly referred to as oral sex, involving contact between the mouth, genitals or anus of the defendant and the mouth genitals or anus of a child 13 years old or younger. As with rape of a child, prison time is mandatory, and carries a 25 years-to-life sentence. Lifetime registration is required.
• If an alleged victim is 14 or 15 years old, the charge is sexual abuse of a minor, rather than sexual abuse of a child. Depending on the circumstances of the case, sexual abuse of a minor is either a third-degree felony or a class A misdemeanor.
• Utah also identifies unlawful sexual activity with a minor as a situation in which sexual activity takes place with persons aged 14 or 15 years old. These cases are either Class B misdemeanors or third-degree felonies. If sexual activity with a person 16 or 17 years old is alleged to have taken place with a person at least seven years older, a charge of unlawful sexual activity can result.
Penalties for Sex Offenses in Utah
Utah categorizes sex offenses in different brackets, each with its’ legal penalties. The State’s legislature has increased the minimum mandatory term for imprisonment for these offenses in the past. As such, when faced with such charges, leave nothing to chance. Though deemed a secondary charge in Utah, sexual assault penalties can be fatal. It stands to add extra 6+ years to the minimum primary sentence charge. And as a first-degree felony, there is no escaping Utah’s sex offenders’ registry. This can be devastating even if you manage to bargain for a reduced sentence on your first charge. The most common scenario for sexual assault penalties is 10 to 15 years for a start. If your defense team happens to sleep on the job you stand to lose out more. Things can escalate to life imprisonment or worse life imprisonment with no parole. Therefore, to avoid grievous consequences, hire the best defense attorneys.
Penalties for Sexual Abuse Charge
According to the Utah legislature, sexual abuse covers a wide degree of charges depending on the type of assault. If the plaintiff is a minor (below years of consent usually 18 years) the penalties fall under the child abuse charge. Such charges are treated as statutory charges and will continue to hold even if the child willingly participated. Child sexual abuse charges are usually considered as secondary charges in Utah. However, if charged with aggravated child sexual abuse, you stand a first-degree felony which has more stringent penalties. You stand a minimum of 15 years to life imprisonment or lifetime with no parole if bodily harm was caused and if you had a previous sexual offense charge. If the plaintiff was above 14 years of age, your case might be treated as forcible sexual abuse. Though a secondary charge, if bodily harm was caused the charge may change to the first-degree felony and carry a 15 year to life penalty.
Penalties for Rape Charge
Rape charges are taken up as serious offenses in the state of Utah. In rape charges, an adult is considered to be 14 years and above. This is contrary to sexual abuse charges where adults are considered to be above the 18-year threshold. Guilty offenders of adult rape charge stand a mandatory sentence of 5 years on the low end. However, the time can shoot up to a minimum of 15 years or more if the court deems it appropriate. As for a child rape case (a first-degree felony), the minimum mandatory sentence is 25 years to life. Life without parole is still on the table if bodily harm was done. Rape committed by a juvenile or when the accused was still considered a minor must incur a sentence with parole. Such charges still incur the minimum sentences with zero exclusion as a previous offense.
Penalties for Enticing a Minor Charge
The magnitude of enticing a minor charge penalty is tied up to a couple of reasons. First, on establishing what happened and next find out what was possibly intended. In Utah, such offenses are treated as class A Class A misdemeanor. They carry a penalty of up to 1 year of jail time or a $2,500 fine for persons below 18 years. Adults caught guilty of enticing minors face jail time of 5 years, permanent criminal record and a possible fine of $5000 to $10,000.
Penalties for Child Pornography Charge
Whether found guilty of producing, distributing or creating child pornography, you face some charges ranging from imprisonment to harsh fines. Such charges are treated as a second-degree felony with a jail term of 6 months to 15 years. You also stand to face fines of up to $10,000 if found guilty.
Penalties for Indecent Exposure Charge
A charge of indecent exposure can incur harsh penalties depending on previous records and the nature of the offense. If a first or second-time offense, the charge is regarded as class B misdemeanor punishable by a maximum fine of $2,500 or six-month jail time, if convicted. Three or more violations trigger a third-degree felony punishable by five years of jail time or a maximum fine of $5000 if guilty.
Sentencing Requirements & Required Registration For Sex Offenders
In most criminal matters, Utah employs an intermediate sentencing system, which means that judges and the Board of Pardons and Parole have discretion in determining a defendant’s sentence and release date. However, many sex offenses are subject to mandatory sentencing requirements. For example, aggravated sexual assault carries a mandatory prison sentence of six, 10, or 15 years to life. Even after serving a long sentence, the impact of a sex crime conviction will likely reverberate through a person’s life. Convicted sex offenders are required to register with the Utah State Police, which posts the names of certain sex offenders on a public website. If a person is convicted as a juvenile, he or she may also face sex offender registration upon turning 18. With this information readily available, convicted sex offenders have substantial difficulty obtaining employment and professional licensing, and are often scorned in their communities and avoided by their neighbors.
Strong Defense against Sex Crime Charges
A strong defense requires meticulous preparation and investigation, which may expose weaknesses in the prosecution’s case, such as inconsistencies in accuser statements or lack of forensic evidence.
Utah Rape and Sexual Assault Laws
Utah has a number of rape and sexual assault laws. The penalties range in severity based upon factors such as the closeness in age of the victim and defendant, whether the victim was a minor, and the degree of violence used. For example, the crime of unlawful sexual activity with a minor is a third-degree felony punishable by up to 5 years in prison and up to $5,000 in fines. However, if the defendant was less than four years older than the minor at the time of the sexual activity, it is a Class B misdemeanor punishable by up to 6 months in prison and up to $1,000 in fines. The following is a brief summary of Utah rape and sexual assault laws.
Utah Rape and Sexual Assault Laws
The following table outlines rape and sexual assault laws in Utah.
Aggravated sexual assault
During the rape, object rape, forcible sodomy or sexual abuse, the defendant threatened the victim with use of a dangerous weapon, compelled or attempted to compel the victim to submit to any of the above crimes by threatening kidnapping, death, or imminent serious bodily injury, or was aided by one or more people. (It is also aggravated sexual assault if the defendant attempted any of the above crimes and caused serious bodily injury, threatened the victim with a dangerous weapon, compelled the victim to submit by using any of the above threats, or was aided by one or more people.)
Unlawful sexual activity with a minor
Having sex engaging in sodomy or penetrating the genital or anal opening of a minor with the intent of causing substantial emotional or bodily pain or arousing or gratifying a person’s sexual desires.
Forcible sexual abuse
Touching another person’s anus, buttocks, genitals, female breasts, or taking indecent liberties or causing another person to take indecent liberties with the defendant or another person, without consent, with the intent of causing substantial emotional or bodily pain or arousing or gratifying a person’s sexual desires, and the victim is 14 years of age or older. It is sexual abuse of a minor if the victim was a minor, the defendant was at least 7 years older, and held a relationship of special trust. It is unlawful sexual conduct with a 16-17 year old if the defendant was at least 7 years older and knew or reasonably should have known the victim’s age or held a relationship of special trust. It is sexual abuse of a child if the person was under 14 years of age. It is aggravated sexual abuse of a child if the defendant used a dangerous weapon, acted by force, duress, violence, intimidation, coercion, menace, or threat of harm, committed the act during a kidnapping, caused bodily or severe psychological injury, was a stranger to or made friends with the victim for the purpose of committing the crime, used or showed pornography, caused the victim to be photographed lewdly, was previously convicted of a sexual offense, committed the same or similar sexual act upon two or more victims during the same course of conduct, more than 5 separate acts during, before or after the instant offense, had a relationship of special trust with the victim, encouraged, aided, allowed, or benefitted from prostitution, sexual acts or performances by the victim, human trafficking, or human smuggling, or caused the penetration of the child’s genital or anal opening.
Engaging in a sexual act with a person 14 years of age or older which involves the genitals of one person and mouth or anus of another person. (It is forcible sodomy if the sexual act was done without consent and it is sodomy on a child if the victim was under 14 years of age.)
Rape, object rape, forcible sodomy, sodomy with a child, and aggravated sexual abuse of a child are first-degree felonies punishable by up to life imprisonment and up to $10,000 in fines. Unlawful sexual activity with a minor is a third-degree felony punishable by up to 5 years in prison and up to $5,000 in fines. If the defendant was less than four years older than the minor at the time of the sexual activity, it is a Class B misdemeanor punishable by up to 6 months in prison and up to $1,000 in fines. Sodomy is also a Class B misdemeanor. Forcible sexual abuse and sexual abuse of a child are second-degree felonies punishable by up to 15 years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines. If the defendant caused serious bodily injury to another person, it is a first-degree felony. Sexual abuse of a minor and unlawful sexual conduct with a 16-17 year old, are Class A misdemeanors punishable by up to 1 year in prison and up to $2,500 in fines. If the defendant was 18 years of age or older and held a position of special trust as a school employee or volunteer while the minor was a student at the same school, it is a third-degree felony.
Lawyer For Sex Defense
It’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when. Legal problems come to everyone. Whether it’s your son who gets in a car wreck, your uncle who loses his job and needs to file for bankruptcy, your sister’s brother who’s getting divorced, or a grandparent that passes away without a will -all of us have legal issues and questions that arise. So when you have a law question, call Ascent Law for your free consultation (801) 676-5506. We want to help you!
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States
Telephone: (801) 676-5506