The legal age of consent in Ohio is 16 years. Generally, anyone under the age of 16 years is considered by law to lack the legal capacity to engage in sexual acts. Even if you believe the person to be older than 16 years of age, you can still be charged with a sex crime.
Sex crimes in Ohio carry severe penalties. If you face a charge of sex with a minor or other sexual offense, it is in your best interest to talk to a Dayton sex crimes attorney immediately. Speaking with the police or a prosecutor without a lawyer can make matters much worse.
Charges for Unlawful Sexual Conduct With a Minor in Ohio
According to Ohio Revised Code §2907.4, a person 18 years of age or older shall not knowingly or recklessly engage in any sexual conduct with anyone, other than the person’s spouse, who is between 13 and 15 years of age. Violation of the statute is a crime known as unlawful sexual conduct with a minor. If the person is under the age of 13 at the time of the sexual conduct, the crime is statutory rape.
Unlawful sexual conduct with a minor includes intercourse and other sexual acts. The charges for unlawful sexual conduct with a minor depend on the ages of the parties involved.
If the alleged perpetrator is less than four years older than the victim at the time of the sexual conduct, the charge is first-degree misdemeanor. However, if the offender is four or more years older than the victim, the charge increases to a fourth-degree felony. The charge for an offender who is 10 years or older than the victim is a third-degree felony.
Additionally, other factors can result in more severe charges, such as the duration and nature of the conduct, commission of other crimes in conjunction with the unlawful sexual conduct, and the relationship between the parties.
Punishments for Unlawful Sexual Conduct with a Minor in Ohio
The penalties for unlawful sexual conduct with a minor depends on the charge. For instance, a first-degree misdemeanor generally carries a $1,000 fine and six months in jail. A fourth-degree felony carries a $5,000 fine and up to 18 months in jail.
A third-degree felony carries a fine of up to $10,000 and up to five years in jail. If the charge is a second-degree felony, the penalty increases to a fine of up to $15,000 and up to eight years in prison.
Circumstances and factors in the case can also increase the penalties and punishments. In some cases, an offender could face mandatory prison sentences for a conviction of unlawful sexual conduct with a minor.
In each case, the person is required to register as a sex offender. Other penalties that a court may order include payment of court fees, probation, and counseling.
The consequences of a sex crime conviction can extend far beyond the penalties ordered by the court. You could lose your right to own a firearm or vote. You may also have difficulty entering college, obtaining a job, renting a house, or maintaining your immigration status.
Fighting Charges of Unlawful Sexual Conduct with a Minor
Law enforcement agencies and other government agencies often pursue allegations of sex crimes involving minors aggressively. In many cases, they rush to judgment and err on the side of caution before they have all facts in the case. Unfortunately, allegations of a sex crime with a minor can ruin a person’s reputation and have negative consequences even if the allegations are proven false.
If the police arrest you for unlawful sexual conduct with a minor or any other sex crime, you must take steps to protect your legal rights. Even if you are not yet charged with a crime, a criminal investigation can have severe negative repercussions for you and your family.
When you are innocent, you may be inclined to cooperate with the investigation to prove your innocence. You may want to tell what happened to “clear things up” before the matter goes any further.
Resist the urge to answer questions until you have met with a Dayton sex crimes lawyer. You have the right to remain silent and the right to legal counsel. It is in your best interest to exercise both of those rights immediately.
Contact a Dayton Sex Crimes Defense Attorney Now for Help
Contact us today to schedule a free consultation with an experienced Ohio criminal defense attorney at Suhre & Associates, LLC. We are here to answer your questions and provide legal advice when you need it the most.