While Las Vegas is known as an adult playground for the United States of America, the Sin City moniker can lead some folks to make erroneous assumptions that can lead to hot water—or even criminal charges. For instance, many tourists come to the Strip, see the smut peddlers on the boulevard and assume—incorrectly, of course, that this is a laissez faire, anything goes kind of place. The reality is a bit more nuanced than that and what you might deem a “misunderstanding” could get you thrown behind bars and facing lifetime sex offender registration. Remember, in Sin City, as in the rest of these fertile plains, ignorance of the law is not an excuse! Read on to learn about the age of consent in Nevada.
In Nevada, including throughout Clark County and in cities ranging from Henderson to Pioche, from Laughlin to Boulder City, and from Elko down to Primm—the age at which an individual can consent to sex is 16 years old. If he or she is not old enough to legally obtain their driver’s license, than he or she is not legally able to consent to sexual intercourse. The fact that you met the individual in a bar, casino, or through a website, or a dating application like Tinder or Friend finder, or through a social media site like Facebook and/or Instagram is of little consequence—this is as close to a “strict liability” offense as one can get. Either the person you are with has attained the age of consent or they have not. Period.
Nevada age of consent law is contained within the sexual assault and seduction subsection of Chapter 200 of the Nevada Revised Statutes, specifically within section 200.364. Persons aged 17 that have intercourse with someone under 16 may still be guilty of a crime—but that crime will not be sexual assault of a minor child, given that the so-called perpetrator in this scenario was also under the age of 18. If over 18, and found to be having sexual intercourse with an individual aged fifteen (“15”) or younger, you could be subjected to criminal charges ranging from Sexual Assault of a Minor to Statutory Sexual Seduction, Open and Gross Lewdness to Luring and Enticing a Minor to Perform a Sex Act. There are a host of felonies that could await an individual that fails to heed the age of consent.
Finally, I feel I would be remiss if I failed to mention that the age of consent of 16 is applicable to crimes against the person—but there are other crimes that certain individuals, by nature of their chosen profession—need to be aware of. For instance, teachers, coaches, clergy working at school sites, camp counselors, scout troop leaders, church youth group directors and the like are held to higher standard. Prior to 2015, this was not always the case. Teachers in high schools throughout the Las Vegas Valley had been having sex with students—seemingly with impunity thinking that the age of consent being reached gave them carte blanche. They were wrong.
The Nevada Legislature saw this as a problem and changed the law in the 2015 session.
State law now says that if someone is or was employed or volunteered at a public or private school, they cannot engage in sexual content with a student they’ve had contact with as part of their job who is 16 or older and who has not received a high school diploma or its equivalent. It’s a class C felony.
In practical reality, this can be a harsh rebuke for a man or woman that feels they are having a “consensual” relationship with a person “who has reached the age of consent.” For instance, if I am an 11th grade United States History teacher at the high school I cannot have sexual intercourse with the pretty 16 year old junior that sits in the back of my period 3 class. While this is not sexual assault by virtue of the student having attained the age of consent, this type of conduct violates county codes punishing violation of the public trust and the community. Specifically, adult professionals working in these capacities ought to be aware that.
If you are charged with a criminal offense involving the age of consent in Nevada then you need an experienced Las Vegas sex crimes attorney to assist you. Our experienced criminal defense attorneys can help! Give us a call at (702) 385-9777 for a free consultation!