Consent in Utah
In Utah, consent is defined as the “acquiescence or compliance with the proposition of sexual activity from another person or persons. A lack of consent either results from a lack of forcible compulsion or being incapable of giving consent. Utah law defines various situations where a person is unable to give consent. For example, if the person is too mentally disabled to understand what the proposition means or if the person is under the age of 30 years old.
Nonconsensual sex crimes are a serious matter. Depending on the circumstances, you could be charged with sexual assault. The severity of these criminal charges, whether it be a felony or misdemeanor, depend on the specifics of the acts and the ages of the alleged offender and victim. The stakes couldn’t be higher and that is why it’s important to act quickly. The best way to fight against sex crime charges is to hire a skilled and aggressive Utah statutory lawyer. Contact Susanne Gustin Attorney at Law today.
Unlawful Sexual Conduct Attorneys in Utah
If you have been charged and arrested for having illegal sexual relations with a 16- or 17-year-old teenager, we suggest you contact an experienced unlawful sexual conduct lawyer. Criminal defense attorney Susanne Gustin at Susanne Gustin Attorney at Law carries extensive experience with Utah sex offenses. She will work with you one-on-one to protect your rights.
Susanne Gustin Attorney at Law serves clients in Salt Lake City, Davis County, Riverton, Cottonwood Heights, Midvale, Holladay, Layton, Bountiful, Clearfield. Call Suanne Gustin at (801) 243-2814 to schedule a free consultation. With years of experience in Utah courts, she is prepared to fight diligently on your behalf.
- What is Consent?
- Unlawful Sexual Conduct in Utah
- Sexual Abuse of a Minor Crime in Utah
- Additional Resources for Consent in Utah
What is Consent?
When a sexual act lacks consent it becomes a criminal offense. In Utah, a person lacks consent if they are under forcible compulsion or if they’re deemed incapable to consent. There are various scenarios/types of people that would be unable to consent under Utah laws.
According to Utah Code 76-5-406, sexual offenses “without consent” of the victim arise when:
- The victim expresses lack of consent verbally or through conduct
- The alleged offender overcomes the victim through physical force or violence
- The alleged offender is able to overcome the victim through concealment or surprise
- The alleged offender threatens to retaliate in the future against the victim or any other person (“to retaliate” includes threats of physical force, kidnapping, or extortion)
- The alleged offender knows that the victim has a mental disease or defect, which renders the victim unable to appraise the nature of the act, resist the act, understand the possible consequences to the victim’s health or safety
- The alleged offender knows that the victim submits because they believe that the actor is the victim’s spouse
- The alleged offender intentionally impaired the power of the victim to appraise or control his or her conduct by administering any substance without the victim’s knowledge
- The victim is younger than 14 years of age
- The victim is younger than 30 years of age and at the time of the offense the alleged offender was the victim’s parent, stepparent, adoptive parent, or legal guardian or occupied a position of special trust in relation to the victim
- The victim 14 years of age or older, but younger than 30 years of age, and the actor is more than three years older than the victim
- The victim is a health professional or religious counselor
- The act is committed under the guise of providing professional diagnosis, counseling, or treatment, and at the time of the act the victim reasonably believed that the act was for medically or professionally appropriate diagnosis, counseling, or treatment
Unlawful Sexual Conduct in Utah
Utah carries strict age of consent laws. According to Utah Code 76-5-401.2, teenagers cannot consent to sex before the age of 16. Per this section of the Utah criminal code, an individual commits unlawful sexual conduct with a minor if they are between seven and ten years older than the minor. The offense also applies if the defendant is more than 10 years older than the minor or has no way of knowing the victim’s age.
An individual can be charged with either a misdemeanor or felony after being convicted of unlawful sexual conduct with a 16- or 17-year-old. Unlawful sexual conduct with a 16- or 17-year-old is considered a third-degree felony if the sexual act involves penetration through sexual intercourse or oral sex. A third-degree felony is punishable by up to 5 years in prison and up to $5,000 in fines. The offense of unlawful sexual conduct can be charged as a class A misdemeanor if the defendant touches the anus, buttocks, pubic area with the intent to cause substantial emotional or bodily pain to the individual. A class A misdemeanor is punishable by up to one year in jail and up to $2,500 in fines.
Sexual Abuse of a Minor Crime in Utah
The state of Utah also identifies sexual activity with a minor as a situation in which intercourse occurs with teenagers aged 14 or 15 years old. For the Utah crime of sexual abuse of a minor to apply, the defendant must be either more than seven years older than the minor or has occupied a position of special trust in relation to the victim. Per the statute, “position of special trust” is defined as:
- An adoptive parent;
- An athletic manager who is an adult
- An aunt;
- A babysitter;
- A coach;
- A cohabitant of a parent if the cohabitant is an adult;
- A counselor;
- A doctor or physician;
- An employer;
- A foster parent;
- A grandparent;
- A legal guardian;
- A natural parent;
- A recreational leader who is an adult;
- A religious leader;
- A sibling or a stepsibling who is an adult;
- A scout leader who is an adult;
- A stepparent;
- A teacher or any other individual employed by or volunteering at a public or private elementary school or secondary school, and who is 30 years of age or older;
- an instructor, professor, or teaching assistant at a public or private institution of higher education;
- An uncle;
- A youth leader who is an adult or any individual in a position of authority
According to Utah Code 76-5-404.1, the sexual abuse of a child offense is considered a second-degree felony. A second-degree felony conviction can result in up to 15 years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines. Aggravated sexual abuse of a child is a first-degree felony which is punishable from 5 years to a lifetime in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
Additional Resources for Consent in Utah
Consent in Utah: Unlawful Sexual Conduct – Click the link to view the statutory disposition of the unlawful sexual conduct with a 16- or 17-year-old statute. The official website of the Utah legislature also lists definitions related to the term such as “sexual conduct” and a “minor.”
UDC: Sex Offender Registry – Visit the Utah Department of Corrections (UDC) website which contains a page on the SONAR (Sex and Kidnap Offender Notification and Registration). Click the link to view offenses that require sex offender registry.
Salt Lake City Sexual Abuse of a Minor in UT
If you were arrested for having intercourse with a minor, you need the knowledge of an experienced Utah criminal defense at your disposal. Sex crime charges could have a significant impact on your future, and they should be taken seriously. Call criminal defense attorney Susanne Gustin at (801) 243-2814 to schedule a free, initial consultation.
Susanne Gustin Attorney at Law serves clients in Salt Lake City, Utah. Statutory rape lawyer Susanne Gustin also represents clients in Davis County, West Valley City, West Jordan, Sandy, Taylorsville, South Jordan, Layton, Bountiful, Clearfield, Kaysville, and Syracuse. It’s time to act now.