And Nevada is considering a bill that would give judges discretion over whether children convicted of sex crimes need to register as a sex offender. Tough penalties for teens convicted of illegal sexual behavior were often written into statute over the past 20 years as part of broader efforts by state legislatures to protect children from predators, following federal laws that called for better tracking of sexual offenders.
State-by-State Differences in Sexting Laws
The state currently only has one charge at its disposal to address such cases: sexual exploitation of a minor, a felony that requires sex offender registration. David Finkelhor, director of the Crimes Against Children Research Center, said bills that limit penalties for consensual sex are less about condoning the activity than acknowledging the long-term consequences for children with records as they head to college and look for jobs.
Legislators say crafting laws to limit sexual activity between teens requires striking a balance between giving young people a chance to explore their sexuality and protecting victims and punishing offenders when things get out of hand. And in Colorado, prosecutors pushed to retain the right to charge some children with felonies. Sex with someone below the age of consent is typically illegal, but most states impose lesser penalties for consensual teen sex.
Under current Montana law, an offender who is more than three years older than the victim faces up to life in prison and must register as a sex offender. Offenders who are just two or three years older than victims face up to six months in jail for a first offense.
Under the new legislation approved by the Montana Legislature, sex between people 14 through 18 would still be illegal, but the punishment would be limited to five years in prison with judicial discretion over whether the offender needs to register. But automatically adding perpetrators to the sex offender registry ruins their lives without making the community safer, she said. Prosecutors and those who treat sex offenders supported the bill, but groups including the American Civil Liberties Union of Montana called to expand the age range to include people in their early 20s.here
Virginia Statutory Rape Lawyer | Romeo and Juliet Laws
But brain development continues into the mid-twenties, and without fully developed prefrontal cortexes, young adults struggle more with problem-solving and impulse control. She suggested expanding the bill to cover to year-olds, as long as the activity is between people who are no more than five or six years apart.
But some legislators worried that expanding the age range would allow young adults to take advantage of children. Chas Vincent, a Republican. Mai Fernandez, executive director of the National Center for Victims of Crimes, said the law needs to protect young people who consent to sexual activity with someone older who may have more power and resources. In Colorado, where the House passed a bill last week that includes new, lower penalties for teens who are caught sexting, prosecutors successfully argued that felony charges should remain an option in extreme circumstances.
In sexting cases, people whose images are shared can also face legal repercussions. And advocates for victims in Colorado pushed to limit the penalties for teens whose sexting was only brought to light when another teen shared their image.
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Under the Colorado legislation, which now moves to the Senate, teens found guilty of a felony could face time in a juvenile facility, but would most likely receive treatment. They could also petition the court to not be included on the sex offender registry.
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Call us today at A statutory rape conviction can result in years in prison since it is considered to be like any other rape case where the perpetrator did not have consent to have sex with the victim. However, in cases when the victim is a minor, the state considers the minor unable to give consent. These cases and the laws that surround them can be particularly complex, especially in situations that involve two minors. Romeo and Juliet laws provide an exception to situations involving a sexual relationship between two young people that could be considered a sex crime.
Are there 'Romeo and Juliet' laws in Virginia?
These laws allow for a person to successfully defend themselves from being convicted of statutory rape if their age and that of their partner falls within the acceptable age difference defined by the law. If a Romeo and Juliet Law applies to your case, benefits that you may receive include:.
Texas law requires a person to be at least 17 years of age in order to be able to consent to have sexual intercourse. If you have been accused of statutory rape, a skilled Houston sex crimes lawyer can help you build a defense that can get your charges reduced, or even dropped. Being accused of rape can be extremely stressful and overwhelming for anybody, and attorney Ned Barnett understands how these cases disrupt the lives of our clients.
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