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.

Defense Attorney Explains Sex Crimes in Salt Lake City, Utah

The stigma associated with sex crime allegations could potentially devastate a person’s reputation. Often people accused and convicted of sex crimes have a hard time obtaining employment, applying for loans, or even gaining housing. That doesn’t even include the statutory penalties associated with sex crimes including jail and expensive fines.

If you or someone you know has been accused of a sex crime, it’ within your best interest to contact Susanne Gustin Attorney at Law. Susanne Gustin almost a quarter of a century experience handling sensitive high profile sex crime cases. She will do everything possible to build a strong defense for you while keeping the trial as discreet as possible. Learn about your legal options today by contacting Salt Lake City sex crimes defense lawyer Susanne Gustin today.

You can contact Susanne Gustin Attorney at Law at (801) 243-2814. She accepts clients throughout the greater Salt Lake County and Davis County area including West Valley City, Sandy, West Jordan, Murray, South Jordan, Midvale, Riverton, Taylorsville and Herriman.

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Types of Sex Crimes in Utah

What Utah classifies as a “sex crime” can actually include a range of possible offenses. Under the Utah Criminal Code, crimes such as rape, sexual assault, or possession of child pornography area all labeled as a sex offense. However, you may be surprised that some crimes that include little contact are also considered sex offenses. For instance, acts of voyeurism where you take photos of a person’s body without their consent are considered a sex crime in Utah.  

The following are some examples of sex crimes under Utah law.

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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 30 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 30 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 30 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 30 years old is alleged to have taken place with a person at least seven years older, a charge of unlawful sexual activity can result.

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Can A Sex Crime Be Expunged in Utah?

Utah allows residents to expunge their criminal record if they are eligible. The term “expunge” or “expungement” in context to the Utah’s judicial system means that your criminal record will no longer be visible to the general public. That means any potential employers, landlords, or your peers will not have access to your criminal record, and you can legally say you were never arrested or convicted of a crime. 

On May 1st, 2020 the state of Utah began to automatically expunge criminal records that were dismissed with prejudice, resulted in an acquittal, or are deemed to be “clean state eligible.” The process of having your case automatically expunged will depend on the type of the case. If the case had resulted in a dismissal/acquittal, then the judge can automatically issue an expungement order without a petition. 

A person qualifies as “clean state eligible” if they were convicted of a low-level crime and have waited a certain amount of time. Listed below is the amount of time that must pass for you to be considered clean state eligible by the state of Utah.

  • Five years for infractions and class C misdemeanors
  • Six years for class B misdemeanors
  • Seven years for class A misdemeanors for drug possession 

You may not qualify as clean state eligible if you have been convicted of multiple crimes or more serious charges surrounded the low-level offense. Additionally, you must have no fines or restitution due and no pending charges.

Even if you were convicted, you may still be able to expunge your sex crime off your criminal record. You can petition for expungement after you’ve completed all the conditions of your sentence and obtained a Certificate of Eligibility from the Utah Bureau of Criminal Identification. In addition to those requirements, you must also satisfy the following waiting periods before applying for expungement. 

  • 10 years for an alcohol or drug related traffic offense
  • 7 years for a second or third degree felony
  • 5 years for a felony drug possession charge or class A misdemeanor
  • 4 years for class B misdemeanors
  • 3 years for a class C misdemeanor or infraction

It’s important to note certain crimes cannot qualify for expungement. These do include certain high level sex crimes. The following offenses are not eligible for expungement if you were convicted of the crime:

  • Capital, first-degree, or violent felonies; or
  • A sex offense that requires registration as a sex offender

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What Crimes Get You on the Utah Sex Offender List?

The penalties associated with sex crimes are severe, but they don’t end at potential incarceration or fines. You could also be required to register as a sex offender with the Utah Department of Corrections. You’ll be required to register with the state twice a year and must update law enforcement every time you move, leave the state, or find a new job. The general public will have access to your sex offender status and law enforcement may alert the community if you move to a new area.

The following are convictions offenders must register as a sex offender for 10 years following the date of termination of their sentence.

  • Sexual battery (four convictions for registration)
  • Lewdness (four convictions for registration)
  • Kidnapping
  • Voyeurism
  • Unlawful Sexual Activity with a Minor
  • Unlawful Sexual Conduct with a 16 or 17 Year Old
  • Incest
  • Forcible Sex Abuse
  • Lewdness Involving a Child
  • Aggravated Human Trafficking
  • Custodial Sexual Relations (only if the victim is underaged)
  • Sexual Abuse of a Minor
  • Sexual Exploitation of a Vulnerable Adult
  • Soliciting, attempting, or conspiring to commit any felony offense listed above 

Some offenders will be required to register for life if they were convicted of: 

  • Rape
  • Rape of a Child
  • Child Kidnapping
  • Aggravated Kidnapping
  • Object Rape
  • Object Rape of a Child
  • Forcible Sodomy
  • Sexual Abuse of a Child or Aggravated Sexual Abuse of a Child
  • Sodomy on a Child
  • Enticing a Minor Over the Internet
  • Aggravated Exploitation of Prostitution
  • Sexual Exploitation of a Minor
  • Aggravated Sexual Assault

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Additional Resources

RAINN | Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network – Visit the official website for the RAINN, the largest anti-sexual violence organization in the nation. Access the site to learn more about sex crime laws in your state, detailed survivor stories, sex crime statistics and more.

Sex Crime Laws in Utah – Visit the official website for the Utah Criminal Code to learn more about sexually motivated crimes and their penalties. Access the statute to read the elements for crimes such as rape, forcible sex abuse, sexual assault, and other relevant sex crimes. 

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Salt Lake City Attorney for Sex Crimes in Utah

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.

We accept clients throughout the greater Salt Lake County and Davis County area including West Valley City, Salt Lake City, Sandy, West Jordan, Midvale, Riverton, Herriman, Millcreek, Farmington, Bountiful, Layton, Kaysville, Clearfield, Syracuse, Centerville and Woods Cross.  

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