Understanding Sex Crimes In Utah
The state of Utah segments sex crimes involving minors into different classifications each with unique sets of penalties.
Being accused of any type of sex crime is very serious. When the charges involve a child or a minor, the consequences can be even more severe. When charged with sexual assault of a minor or child sexual abuse, it is important that a defendant fully understands the allegations and associated consequences. A conviction for a child sex offense can follow a person for many years if not for life, whether it be a prison sentence or registration on the sex offender registry.
What are some types of crimes against children in Utah?
According to the Utah criminal code, there are numerous sex offenses that involve children and minors. Some of these offenses and their penalties are as follows:
- Child sex abuse is a charge involving a person 18 years of age or older and a victim younger than 14 years of age. It generally is a second-degree felony unless there are aggravating circumstances. Aggravated sexual abuse of a child, when a child's parent is the defendant, for example, is a first-degree felony and carries a penalty of 6, 10 or 15 years to life. Registration on the sex offender registry is for life.
- When sexual intercourse with a person 13 years old or younger is alleged, the charge is rape of a child. A child under 13 cannot consent to sexual intercourse. Object rape of a child is charged when objects other than the defendant's personal body parts are used to rape the child. These charges are first degree felonies in the State of Utah. Mandatory prison time for 25 years up to life is the penalty. Lifetime registration on the sex offender registry is required.
- Sodomy upon a child is also a first-degree felony. Sodomy upon a child is commonly referred to as oral sex, involving contact between the mouth, genitals or anus of the defendant and the mouth genitals or anus of a child 13 years old or younger. As with rape of a child, prison time is mandatory, and carries a 25 years-to-life sentence. Lifetime registration is required.
- If an alleged victim is 14 or 15 years old, the charge is sexual abuse of a minor, rather than sexual abuse of a child. Depending on the circumstances of the case, sexual abuse of a minor is either a third-degree felony or a class A misdemeanor.
- Utah also identifies unlawful sexual activity with a minor as a situation in which sexual activity takes place with persons aged 14 or 15 years old. These cases are either Class B misdemeanors or third-degree felonies. If sexual activity with a person 16 or 17 years old is alleged to have taken place with a person at least seven years older, a charge of unlawful sexual activity can result.
Help for defendants
Being accused of a sex crime against a child can be a frightening experience. Talking to an experienced criminal defense attorney who has extensive experience in child sex cases is critical. Call Susanne Gustin Attorney at Law at (801) 243-2814 or complete the online contact form today.