The "age of consent" in Las Vegas and throughout Nevada is 16 years. An adult who has sex with a minor younger than 16 violates the state's statutory rape laws.
A person can get prosecuted for the Nevada crime of statutory rape of a minor even if no "rape" occurred and the sex was completely consensual. And if the person is ultimately convicted, he/she face harsh punishments such as prison time, high fines, and potentially lifelong sex offender status.
Our Las Vegas criminal defense lawyers have over thirty years of combined experience in fighting sex offense cases and negotiating statutory rape charges down to lesser offenses or even full dismissals. For your convenience, on this page we provide basic information about Nevada statutory sexual seduction law including the definition, possible penalties, and how we can help.
The legal definition of statutory rape (officially called "statutory sexual seduction") in Las Vegas, Nevada, refers to either of the following:
- Ordinary sexual intercourse, anal intercourse, cunnilingus or fellatio committed by a person 18 years of age or older with a person under the age of 16 years; or
- Any other sexual penetration committed by a person 18 years of age or older with a person under the age of 16 years with the intent of arousing, appealing to, or gratifying the lust or passions or sexual desires of either of the persons.
As you can see, statutory rape punishes any sexual act between an adult of eighteen years old or more and a child of fifteen years old or younger even if the child fully consents to the sex. The rationale behind Nevada statutory rape laws is that children do not have the intellectual or emotional capacity to consent to sex.
Stated another way, the "age of consent in Nevada" is 16 years.
For general information about Nevada child sex crimes, see our article on Nevada child sex crimes.
Strict Liability crime
The most unfair aspect of Las Vegas statutory rape law is that it is considered a "strict liability crime" in Nevada. This means that someone may be found guilty of this offense even if he/she was genuinely unaware that the victim was under sixteen.
There is nothing more frightening than being accused of a crime, especially a sex offense where the potential consequences are so dire. But it is important to remember that Clark County judges do realize that many of the people who are charged with statutory sexual seduction in Nevada are falsely accused, and there are several defenses your attorney may use to try to achieve a favorable resolution.
- False accusations: As with the Nevada crime of battery domestic violence and the Nevada crime of sexual assault, many of the people who are charged with statutory rape in Clark County are falsely accused by other people out of revenge, anger or to influence child custody proceedings. If your attorney can show that the allegations are bogus, your case should be dismissed.
- Age of consent: As we stated, the legal age of consent in Nevada is 16 years. If the alleged victim in your case was sixteen years old or more at the time, then statutory rape charges cannot stand.
- Lack of evidence: In order for you to be convicted of statutory rape in Nevada, the prosecution has to prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. As long as your attorney can show that the state's evidence is too weak or ambiguous to sustain a guilty verdict at trial, then the prosecution should be willing to negotiate down or dismiss the charges.
Note that it is not necessarily a defense to statutory sexual seduction in Nevada that the accused reasonably believed that the victim was of age, or even that the victim lied to the accused about his/her age.
The punishment for statutory sexual seduction in Nevada under NRS 200.368 depends on the age of the person being accused. If he/she is twenty-one or older, statutory rape is treated as a category B felony in Las Vegas carrying:
- one to ten years in Nevada State Prison, and
- maybe up to $10,000 in fines
But if the accused is younger then twenty-one years old, then courts are more forgiving and punish statutory rape as only a gross misdemeanor in Nevada, carrying a sentence of:
- up to 364 days in jail, and/or
- up to $2,000 in fines
But if the person under twenty-one has previously been convicted of a sexual offense, a statutory rape conviction is a category D felony in Nevada, carrying:
- one to four years in Nevada State prison, and
- maybe up to to $5,000 in fines
Note that statutory sexual seduction is also considered a crime against moral turpitude in Nevada, so non-citizens convicted of it may be deported from the U.S."
Statutory rape between school employees and pupils (NRS 201.540; NRS 201.550)
Nevada has a separate law specifically prohibiting sexual conduct between school employees (such as teachers) and pupils. If the school employee is twenty-one or older and the student is sixteen or older, any sexual conduct is punished as a category C felony in Las Vegas carrying:
- one to five years in Nevada State Prison, and
- maybe up to $10,000 in fines
And if the school employee is twenty-one or older and the student is fourteen or fifteen, then any sexual conduct is treated as a category B felony in Nevada, carrying:
- one to six years in Nevada State Prison, and
- maybe up to $5,000 in fines
Sex Offender Registry
If someone is convicted of statutory sexual seduction in Nevada, he/she will usually be ordered by the judge to register as a sex offender for life. This is why it is so important for anyone accused of statutory rape in Las Vegas to retain counsel to try to negotiate a plea bargain that has no sex offender consequences.
Read more about Nevada sex offender registry laws.
Arrested? Call now . . . .
Getting accused of the Clark County crime of statutory sexual seduction under NRS 200.368 is very serious in Nevada, but there are ways to fight the case. Please call our Las Vegas criminal defense lawyers at 702-DEFENSE (702-333-3673) for a free consultation today to discuss how we may be able to persuade the state to lessen your charges or even throw them out altogether so your criminal record remains clean.
- If you are seeking information about statutory sexual seduction laws in California, then please visit our page on California statutory rape laws
For more information see our article on the Nevada crime of oral copulation with a minor.