Nevada Revised Statute § 200.368 defines statutory sexual seduction (also called statutory rape) as penetrative sex with a person under the age of 16. Nevada also has a “close-in-age exception” that permits 17- and 18-year-olds to have sex with minors less than four years younger than them.
Here are five key things to know about Nevada’s statutory sexual seduction laws:
- Statutory rape occurs when an adult engages in sexual penetration with a minor under 16 – Nevada’s legal age of consent.
- Nevada’s “Romeo and Juliet exception” allows 14- or 15-year-old minors to have consensual sex with people less than four years older than them.
- Potential defenses to statutory rape are that you were falsely accused, the alleged victim was old enough to consent, or that no penetrative sex occurred. It is not a defense that the sex was consensual or that the minor initiated the sex.
- Felony statutory rape convictions cannot be sealed from your criminal record, though gross misdemeanor convictions can be sealed two years after the case closes.
- The penalties for statutory rape depend on your age:
Age of defendant
Nevada sentence for statutory rape
|21 or older||Category B felony:|
|Under 21||Gross misdemeanor if you have no prior sex crime convictions: |
Category D felony if you have a prior sex crime conviction:
Below our Las Vegas criminal defense lawyers discuss:
- 1. What is the legal definition of statutory rape in Nevada?
- 2. Does Nevada have a Romeo & Juliet Law?
- 3. What are the penalties for statutory sexual seduction?
- 4. What are the defenses?
- 5. Is sex registration required?
- 6. Can the criminal record be sealed?
- 7. Are there immigration consequences?
- 8. Related sexual offenses
- Additional resources
Statutory rape — called statutory sexual seduction in Nevada — has four “elements” that the prosecutor must prove in court:
- The defendant and victim have penetrative sex;
- The defendant is at least 18 years old;
- The victim is 14 or 15 years old; and
- The defendant is at least four years older than the victim.
Penetrative sex comprises any of the following sex acts:
- Ordinary sexual intercourse (vaginal intercourse),
- Anal intercourse,
- Fellatio, or
- Penetration with fingers or objects
If no penetrative sex occurs, adults who have sexual contact with a minor instead face sexual abuse charges for lewdness with a child (NRS 201.230).
The rationale behind statutory seduction 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
Yes. Nevada has a Romeo & Juliet law, also called a “close-in-age exception” to statutory sexual seduction. Minors ages 14 and 15 may have sex with teens less than four years older than them.2
Example: Rex is 18 years old. He has consensual 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, he would be committing statutory sexual seduction. That is because he would then be at least four years older than Kyla.
The punishment for statutory sexual seduction in Nevada under NRS 200.368 depends on the age of the defendant. NRS 200.368 states:
A person who commits statutory sexual seduction shall be punished:
1. If the person is 21 years of age or older at the time of the commission of the offense, for a category B felony by imprisonment in the state prison for a minimum term of not less than 1 year and a maximum term of not more than 10 years, and may be further punished by a fine of not more than $10,000.
2. Except as otherwise provided in subsection 3, if the person is under the age of 21 years, for a gross misdemeanor.
3. If the person is under the age of 21 years and has previously been convicted of a sexual offense, as defined in NRS 179D.097, for a category D felony as provided in NRS 193.130.3
In our experience fighting statutory seduction charges at Las Vegas Defense Groups, three effective arguments that could get charges reduced or dismissed include:
- The defendant was falsely accused;
- The alleged victim was old enough to consent; or
- 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 lies about his/her age to the defendant.4
4.1. The defendant was falsely accused
Sometimes people get falsely accused of statutory sexual seduction 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 alleged victim was old enough to consent
NRS 200.368 charges do not apply if the victim was either:
- At least 16 years old, or
- 14 or 15 years old and 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 sexual relations. 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.
Yes. Defendants convicted of felony statutory sexual seduction must register as Tier III sex offenders for life. Plus defendants convicted of gross misdemeanor statutory rape must register as Tier I sex offenders for 15 years.5
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.
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.
8.1. 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
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.
Incest (NRS 201.180) occurs when two relatives closer than second cousins (or cousins by half-blood) marry or have sexual intercourse. It makes no difference if the sex is consensual.
Incest is a category A felony punishable by two years to life in prison with a possible $10,000 fine. Though the judge may grant probation instead.
For more information, refer to the following:
- National Sexual Assault Hotline: Confidential 24/7 Support – Help and guidance by the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN).
- What is statutory rape? – Article provided by WomensLaw.org.
- What is statutory rape? – Summary provided by AgeofConsent.net.
- Constitutionality of Statutory Rape Laws – Scholarly article in UCLA Law Review.
- Statutory Rape: A Guide to State Laws and Reporting Requirements – Overview by the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE).
- Nevada Revised Statute 200.364; NRS 200.368.
- NRS 200.364.
- NRS 200.368.
- Jenkins v. State, (1994) 110 Nev. 865, 877 P.2d 1063 (1994). See also Thomas v. Sheriff, Clark County, (1973) 89 Nev. 17, 504 P.2d 1313; Cooper v. State, (1979) 95 Nev. 114, 590 P.2d 166.
- NRS 179D.097; NRS 179D.113; NRS 179D.117. See also Austin v. State, (2007) 123 Nev. 1, 151 P.3d 60, 123 Nev. Adv. Rep. 1.
- NRS 179.245.
- NRS 179.255.
- See Esquivel-Quintana v. Sessions, (2017) 581 U.S. ___ , 137 S. Ct. 1562.