Nevada "Age of Consent" Laws (NRS 200.368)
Las Vegas Criminal Defense Attorneys

No child in Nevada can legally consent to have sex unless he/she is sixteen years old.  And if the child is a student and the sexual partner is the child's teacher or coach, the age of consent is raised to eighteen.

A conviction for having sex with someone younger than the age of consent in Las Vegas carries devastating penalties such as prison, fines, and sex offender status.  But an experienced Nevada criminal defense lawyer may be able to litigate or negotiate a favorable resolution.

This page explains "age of consent" laws in Las Vegas, Nevada.  Keep reading to learn about the various relevant crimes, penalties and defenses.

What is the age of consent in
Las Vegas, NV?

The age of consent is sixteen (16) in Nevada.  Therefore it's illegal for someone to have sexual relations with a child age fifteen (15) or younger even if the child consents to or initiates the sex.  The age of consent is raised to eighteen (18) when the child is a student and his/her sex partner is a teacher, coach or employee at his/her school.

Note that Nevada's age of consent laws apply not just to intercourse but to all types of sexual conduct involving penetration.  The reasoning behind these laws is that minors do not possess the intellectual nor emotional capacity to consent to sex.

What is statutory rape in Las Vegas, NV?

Prosecutors press charges for the Nevada crime of statutory rape (also called "statutory sexual seduction") when they suspect and adult of age eighteen or older has had sex with someone below the age of consent.  A person may be found guilty of statutory rape even if he/she didn't know that the child was under sixteen.

The penalties for statutory sexual seduction in Las Vegas, Nevada under NRS 200.368 depend on the age of the accused.  If he/she is twenty-one or older, statutory rape is prosecuted as a category C felony in Las Vegas carrying a sentence of:

But if the defendant is younger then twenty-one, then courts punish statutory rape as only a gross misdemeanor in Nevada.  The penalty for a gross misdemeanor in Nevada carries:

  • up to one year in jail, and/or
  • up to $2,000 in fines

Either way, the judge may order the defendant to register as a sex offender in Las Vegas.  Therefore it's very important for people accused of the Nevada crime of statutory rape to hire counsel in an effort to negotiate a plea deal with no sex offender consequences.

Is there a "close-in-age" exemption in
Las Vegas, NV?

No.  Anyone who has sex with someone under the age of consent is vulnerable to prosecution in Nevada even if that person is close in age to the child.

Can teachers legally have sex with students in
Las Vegas, NV?

No teacher, coach or school employee may legally have sexual contact with a student at that school unless:

  • the teacher and student are legally married, OR
  • the student is at least eighteen and the sex is consensual.

The punishment for committing the Nevada crime of sexual conduct between students and teachers under NRS 201.540 and NRS 201.550 depends on the age of the student.  It's a category C felony in Las Vegas for a teacher or school employee to have sex with a student age sixteen or seventeen.  The sentence includes:

  • one to five years in Nevada State Prison, and
  • maybe up to $10,000 in fines

But if the student is fourteen or fifteen, then the sexual conduct is prosecuted as a category B felony in Nevada, carrying:

  • one to six years in Nevada State Prison, and
  • maybe up to $5,000 in fines

In addition the court may order that the defendant register as a sex offender in Las Vegas.  Failing to register may carry several years in prison and high fines.

How do you fight charges of having sex with someone under the age of consent in
Las Vegas, NV?

Nevada judges understand that many people who are charged with statutory rape may very well be innocent.  The following represent just a few of the defense strategies an attorney may employ when fighting allegations of statutory rape or student-teacher sexual contact:

  • False accusations:  Similar to the Nevada offense of battery domestic violence and the Nevada crime of rape, many defendants charged with statutory sexual seduction in Nevada are wrongly accused out of revenge, rage, mistake, or to sway child custody rulings.  If an attorney can show that the allegations were fabricated, the case should be dismissed.
  • Age of consent:  A person should not be found guilty of violating Las Vegas age of consent laws if there's any question as to the age of the "victim."  As long as the prosecution can't establish through birth certificates or other records that the "victim" was underage, the case should be dismissed.
  • Lack of evidence:  As with every criminal case, the prosecution has to prove a defendant's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt before the judge can hand down a conviction for statutory rape.  If the defense attorney can show that the prosecution's case is too weak to meet this burden, the charges should not stand.

Remember that it is no defense to statutory rape charges or student-teacher sex charges in Nevada if the defendant honestly believed that the victim was of age even if the victim lied about his/her age.

Arrested?  Call now . . . .

If you've been accused of violating Nevada age of consent laws, call Las Vegas criminal defense lawyers at 702-DEFENSE (702-333-3673) for a free meeting to discuss how they may be able to persuade prosecutors to reduce your charges or even drop them altogether so your criminal record stays clean.

For more information see the articles on the Nevada crime of sexual conduct between students and teachers, Nevada offense of battery domestic violence, Nevada crime of rape, and category B felony in Las Vegas.  To learn about statutory sexual seduction laws in California, please visit the page on California statutory rape laws.

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