In legal terms, the age of consent is when someone is old enough to legally engage in sexual activity. Every state in the U.S. has its own laws regarding the age of consent including what factors may influence it.
Sex with someone younger than the age of consent is almost always a criminal offense that is punishable by jail time, fines, and registration as a sex offender.
The state of Ohio has established 16 years of age as the age of consent. In other words, if someone is 16 years old, they are legally considered to be mature enough to agree to have sex with someone else, even those 18 years of age or older.
Therefore, it’s important to have a lawyer who understands the nuances of age of consent. Hiltner Trial Lawyers has worked many statuatory rape cases throughout Ohio, and if you are accused, our team will work with you to use our understanding of the law towards your defense.
What Is Considered Statutory Rape in Ohio?
Although the state of Ohio does not use the term “statutory rape”, instead opting for the term “unlawful sexual conduct with a minor,” the crime is the same.
Statutory rape is the crime of an adult having sexual conduct with someone younger than the age of consent.
Specifically, this law prohibits the following sexual acts between a person who is 18 years old or older with anyone 15 years of age or younger:
- Vaginal intercourse
- Oral sex
- Anal intercourse
- Insertion of anything into the vagina or anus
- Penetration, regardless of degree, of the vagina or anus
The age of consent in Ohio may be 16 years of age, but there are cases where the victim was 16 or 17 years old and gave their consent to have sex with someone 18 years old or older, and the older party was prosecuted for statutory rape.
Therefore, it is in your best interest to confirm that your sexual partner is 18 years or older.
What Voids Consent In Ohio?
It is possible for someone to verbally agree to have sex, but in the eyes of the law, lack the capacity to give consent.
Some of these situations include:
- The victim’s judgment was impaired because they had taken an intoxicant or controlled substance.
- The victim was 13 years old or younger.
- The victim could not resist due to a physical or mental condition.
- The victim was coerced by force or intimidation.
What are the Legal Exceptions to Statutory Rape?
It may be possible to mount a strong legal defense from the charge of statutory rape if you meet the following criteria:
- Although it is not an ironclad defense, it may be possible to argue that you had no reason to believe that the victim was underage. It is still possible to be convicted of statutory rape, but the court is more likely to look favorably on you if a reasonable person could have mistaken your sexual partner for an adult.
- You are married to an underage spouse. Ohio law allows sex with a minor if you are married at the time.
Hire an Ohio Defense Attorney Today
If you are facing conviction for a sexual offence with a minor in Ohio, it’s vital to find a defense team with experience with these types of cases. Not only do you want to avoid spending years behind bars and potentially hefty fines, but, if convicted, you could be stigmatized as a sexual predator for the rest of your life.
Our legal professionals at Hiltner Trial Lawyers have a proven track record of getting the best possible outcomes for our clients. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation and talk about your case.