NRS 200.368 - Nevada "Statutory Rape" Laws

 



NRS 200.368 is the Nevada law that prohibits statutory sexual seduction, commonly referred to as statutory rape. NRS 200.368 prohibits any sexual penetration between an adult at least 18 years old with a person who is:

  • 14 or 15 years old, and
  • At least four years younger than the adult

It makes no difference if the sex was consensual or if the minor initiated the sex.

Violating NRS 200.368 is a felony when the defendant is at least 21 or has prior sex crime convictions. Otherwise, it is a gross misdemeanor. And all statutory rape convictions require the defendant to register as a sex offender.

Our Las Vegas criminal defense lawyers answer frequently-asked-questions about Nevada statutory sexual seduction laws:

old man and young girl
A person can be convicted of statutory sexual assault under NRS 200.368 even if the child consented to or initiated the sex.

1. What is the legal definition of statutory rape?

Statutory rape -- called statutory sexual seduction in Nevada -- has four "elements" that must be true:

  1. The defendant and victim have penetrative sex;
  2. The defendant is at least 18 years old;
  3. The victim is 14 or 15 years old; and
  4. The defendant is at least four years older than the victim.

"Penetrative sex" comprises any of the following sex acts:

  • Vaginal intercourse,
  • Anal intercourse,
  • Cunnilingus,
  • Fellatio, or
  • Penetration with fingers or objects

If no penetrative sex occurs, adults who have sexual contact with a minor instead face charges for lewdness with a child (NRS 201.230).

The rationale behind statutory rape laws is that young teens lack the intellectual and emotional capacity to consent to penetrative sex. In Nevada, 16 is the age of consent (NRS 200.364).1

2. Does Nevada have a Romeo & Juliet law?

Yes. Nevada has a Romeo & Juliet law, also called a "close-in-age exception" to statutory rape. Minors age 14 and 15 may have sex with teens less than four years older than them.2

Example: Rex is 18 years old. He has sex with Kyla, who is 15. Even though Kyla is under the age of consent, Rex is not committing statutory rape. This is because their age difference is less than four years. Rex and Kyla fall under the "close-in-age exception."

If Rex in the above example was 19 years old, then he would be committing statutory rape. That is because he would then be at least four years older than Kyla. 

3. What are the penalties?

The punishment for statutory sexual seduction in Nevada under NRS 200.368 depends on the age of the defendant.

 Age of defendant

 Nevada penalties for statutory rape

21 or older

Category B felony:

Under 21

Gross misdemeanor if defendant has no prior sex crime convictions:

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

Category D felony if the defendant has a prior sex crime conviction:

  • 1 - 4 years in prison, and
  • Possibly up to $5,000 in fines3

4. What are the defenses?

Three common arguments to fight statutory rape charges include:

  1. The defendant was falsely accused;
  2. The victim was old enough to consent; or
  3. No penetrative sex occurred

Statutory rape is a strict liability crime. This means that defendants may be convicted even if they believed the victim was old enough to consent. It makes no difference if the victim lied about his/her age to the defendant.4

4.1. The defendant was falsely accused

stamp (NRS 200.368)
False allegations is a common defense to sex crime charges.

Sometimes people get falsely accused of statutory rape out of anger, revenge, or a misunderstanding. In some cases, these false accusers leave a trail of damning voicemails and text messages that reveal their motives for lying.

A criminal defense attorney's job would be to conduct a thorough investigation to unearth all the available evidence. If the prosecutors see that the accuser may be untrustworthy, they may drop the charges.

4.2. The victim was old enough to consent

NRS 200.368 charges do not apply if the victim was either:

  • At least 16 years old, or
  • Less than four years younger than the defendant

If the defendant can show through records and IDs that the victim was old enough to consent, the charges should be dropped.

4.3. No penetrative sex occurred

Statutory rape only applies to situations involving penetrative sex. And the prosecution may have insufficient evidence to prove this beyond a reasonable doubt.

Assuming there is no physical evidence such as video, recorded confessions, or medical records, the D.A. may have to drop the case for lack of proof.

5. Is sex registration required?

Yes. Defendants convicted of felony statutory rape must register as a Tier III sex offender for life. And defendants convicted of gross misdemeanor statutory rape must register as a Tier I sex offender for 15 years.5

6. Can the criminal record be sealed?

Magnifying glass over paper with the text criminal record.
Gross misdemeanors may be sealed.

It depends. Gross misdemeanor convictions of statutory sexual seduction can be sealed two years after the case ends. But felony convictions may never be sealed.6

If the statutory rape charge gets dismissed, the defendant can petition for a record seal right away. It makes no difference whether the original charge was for a felony or a gross misdemeanor.7

Learn about how to get a Nevada record seal.

7. Are there immigration consequences?

Yes, statutory rape in Nevada is an aggravated felony and therefore a deportable offense.8 Therefore, non-citizens accused of it should consult with an attorney right away. Getting the case dismissed or reduced to a lesser charge may remove the deportation risk.

8. Related offenses

8.1. Sexual conduct between students and school employees

Nevada prohibits sexual conduct between school employees (such as teachers) and pupils who are at least 16 years old. Student-teacher sex is a category C felony, carrying:

  • 1 - 5 years in prison, and
  • Possibly up to $10,000 in fines

Learn more about high school student-teacher sex laws (NRS 201.540) and college student-teacher sex laws (NRS 201.550).

8.2. Date rape

Date rape is a type of sexual assault where the accused takes advantage of the victim while on a date. It is punished the same as sexual assault, which carries a life sentence. Parole may be possible depending on the circumstances of the case.

8.3. Incest

Incest (NRS 201.180) occurs when two relatives closer than second cousins (or cousins by half-blood) get married or have sexual intercourse. It makes no difference if the sex is consensual.

Incest is punishable by two years to life in prison with a possible $10,000 fine. Though the judge may grant probation instead.

Receptionists waiting for your call.
Call our Las Vegas criminal defense attorneys at 702-DEFENSE for a FREE consultation today.

Call a Nevada criminal defense attorney...

Arrested for statutory rape in Nevada? Call our Las Vegas criminal defense lawyers at 702-DEFENSE (702-333-3673) for a free consultation today. We will discuss how we may be able to persuade the state to lessen or dismiss your charges so your criminal record remains clean.

For more information see our articles on oral copulation with a minor and child sex crimes.

Arrested in California? Visit our page on statutory rape laws (Penal Code 261.5 PC).

Arrested in Colorado? Visit our page on statutory rape laws (18-3-402 C.R.S.).


Legal References

  1. NRS 200.364; NRS 200.368.
  2. NRS 200.364.
  3. NRS 200.368.
  4. Jenkins v. State, 110 Nev. 865, 877 P.2d 1063 (1994).
  5. NRS 179D.097; NRS 179D.113; NRS 179D.117.
  6. NRS 179.245.
  7. NRS 179.255.
  8. See Esquivel-Quintana v. Sessions, 581 U.S. ___ , 137 S. Ct. 1562 (2017).

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