What is Statutory Rape?
Statutory rape is a legal term for sex with an individual who has not reached the age of consent from a statutory standpoint. In Ohio, the legal terminology for statutory rape used by the Ohio Revised Codes is unlawful sexual conduct with a minor. When you engage in consensual sex with a minor (age 13–15 and not your legal spouse) and you are 18 years or older, you are committing unlawful sex with a minor under Ohio Revised Code (ORC) §2907.04.
Charges for unlawful sexual conduct with a minor vary depending on the circumstances of the crime and can be filed as follows:
- First-degree misdemeanor charges. If you are less than four years older than the minor, the offense is a first-degree misdemeanor. For example, if the minor is 15 years old and you are 18, or the minor is 16 and you are 18 or 19, your sexual conduct is a misdemeanor.
- Fourth degree felony. If you are 18 or older, your sexual conduct is a fourth-degree felony.
- Third degree felony. If you are ten or more years older than the minor, your sexual conduct is a third-degree felony.
Second-degree felony. If you were previously convicted or pleaded guilty to rape (§ 2907.02), sexual battery (§2907.03), or unlawful sexual conduct with a minor, your sexual conduct is a second-degree felony.
Penalties for unlawful sexual conduct with a minor
Degrees of felony under Ohio Revised Code §2929.13 Sanction imposed by degree of felony are as follows:
- Fourth degree felony. 6–18 months in prison. Fine $5,000
- Third degree felony. 1–5 years in prison. Fine $10,000
- Second-degree felony. 2–8 years in prison. Fine $15,000
- First-degree felony. 3–10 years in prison. Fine $20,000
A first-degree misdemeanor under Ohio law carries penalties of six months maximum in jail and a fine of $1,000.
Many people have the idea that if sexual relations are consensual, they are under no legal threat. However, people who commit statutory rape can face serious felony charges under Ohio law. In addition to a prison sentence, you face life as a registered sex offender and often limited housing and job opportunities.
If you face charges for statutory rape, it is vital to seek legal help from an experienced Columbus sexual assault attorney who can protect your rights.