Nevada "Date Rape" Laws (NRS 200.366)
Explained by Las Vegas Criminal Defense Attorneys

"Date rape" refers to nonconsensual sex between people who were seeing each other socially. Although date rape may not seem as egregious as other sex offenses, it is prosecuted as standard sexual assault in Nevada and therefore carries a possible lifelong prison sentence.

Our Las Vegas criminal defense lawyers are seasoned negotiators with thirty years combined experience in persuading prosecutors to dismiss rape charges or to reduce them to lesser offenses. For your information we have provided below a summary of Nevada date rape law including the definition, potential punishments, and how we can help your case.

Definition

The legal definition of date rape (also called "acquaintance rape") in Las Vegas, Nevada is the same as sexual assault under NRS 200.366 in that it prohibits one person from subjecting another "to sexual penetration . . . against the will of the victim or under conditions in which the perpetrator knows or should know that the victim is mentally or physically incapable of resisting or understanding the nature of his or her conduct."

The only distinction is that date rape refers to those instances of sexual assault where the accused and the victim were significant others, friends or acquaintances.

A classic date rape scenario in Nevada is when a guy and a girl are consensually "making out," but then the guy forces sex on the girl despite her having told him to stop. Another typical situation is a guy drugging a girl with Rohypnol ("roofies") and then having sex with her while she is passed out and unable to resist at all.

Defenses

Although date rape is one of the gravest offenses you can be charged with, it is often very difficult for prosecutors to prove. Below are some defense strategies your attorney may utilize in Clark County sexual assault cases:

  • False accusations: Judges and prosecutors are well aware that women sometimes make false accusations of date rape against their boyfriends or ex-boyfriends out of anger or revenge. But if the prosecution cannot produce sufficient proof that a rape occurred or if the defense attorney can show that the "victim" had motivations to lie, then the Las Vegas sexual assault case may be dismissed.
  • Consent: You cannot be convicted of date rape if the "victim" gave his/her consent to the sex. Therefore if the prosecutor cannot prove that you forced the "victim" to have sex against her will (or else that you should have known she was too incapacitated to resist), then the Nevada sexual assault charges cannot stand.
  • No sex: Nevada date rape laws punish only instances of nonconsensual sexual penetration such as intercourse. The laws do not extend to allegations of unwanted groping. If your attorney can show that any sexual activity that took place did not involve penetration, then you may be charged with the lesser Nevada crime of open and gross lewdness, but not sexual assault.

Note that it is usually not a defense to date rape if the victim was intoxicated voluntarily or involuntarily. Whenever the accused knows or should have known that the victim was too incapacitated to resist or understand what was going on, he may be charged with rape for having intercourse with her.

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Penalties

As a violation of Nevada sexual assault law, date rape is prosecuted as a category A felony in Clark County. A conviction usually requires that the defendant register as a sex offender in accordance with the Nevada sex offender registry. A typical sentence turns on the following factors:

  1. the age of the victim,
  2. whether the date rape resulted in substantial bodily harm in Nevada to the victim, and
  3. the accused's criminal history.

If substantial bodily harm results:

The Nevada judge will impose life in Nevada State Prison without the possibility of parole unless the victim is sixteen or older, in which case the judge may elect to grant the possibility of parole after fifteen years.

If substantial bodily harm does NOT result:

Then the Nevada judge may impose life in Nevada State Prison with the possibility of parole. The mandatory minimum of prison time depends upon the age of the victim:

  • if the victim was sixteen or older, then parole may be granted after ten years.
  • if the victim was fourteen or fifteen, then parole is possible after twenty-five years.
  • if the victim was thirteen or younger, then parole may be allowed after thirty-five years.

If the accused is a repeat offender:

If the accused was formerly convicted of sexual assault (or a sexual offense against a child), a subsequent conviction of sexual assault in Nevada with a child under sixteen carries a life without the possibility of parole.

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Statutory Sexual Seduction (NRS 200.368):

In dating circumstances where consensual sex is carried out between an adult of eighteen or older and a minor of fifteen or younger, the state may bring charges for the Nevada crime of Statutory Sexual Seduction. If the accused is twenty-one or older, then it is prosecuted as a category C felony in Nevada carrying:

But if the accused is younger then twenty-one, it is only a gross misdemeanor in Clark County carrying:

  • up to 364 days in jail, and/or
  • up to $2,000 in fines

Plea Bargains

Depending on the circumstances, Clark County D.A.s may be willing to plead down date rape charges to lesser offenses such as the Las Vegas crime of battery under NRS 200.481 as part of a plea agreement. The advantage of pleading to battery is that it is only a misdemeanor in Nevada, it carries a lower sentence, and you probably would not have to register as a sex offender.

Call us if you are facing charges . . . .

If you have been accused of date rape, then you must retain counsel as soon as possible to protect your rights and negotiate with prosecutors to try to have the charges reduced to a lesser offense or dismissed altogether. For further information phone our Las Vegas criminal defense lawyers at 702-DEFENSE (702-333-3673) for a free consultation today.

In addition, you may also find helpful information in our related articles on the Nevada crime of Open and Gross Lewdness; Nevada crime of Statutory Sexual Seduction; Nevada Sexual Assault law; the Las Vegas crime of battery; and California Date Rape Laws.

  • To learn about date rape laws in California, visit our page on California date rape laws.

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