What is the Age of Consent in Ohio?
In the state of Ohio, the age of consent for sexual activity is 16 years of age. This means that no one under the age of 16 can provide legal consent to have sex. Even if that person (or those people) want to have sex, it’s against the law for them to do so.
In Ohio, if you have sex with someone who is under the age of consent, you can face serious criminal charges. And, if you have sex with someon who is sixteen or older and you are over the age of eighteen, you could also be charged with a sex crime.
Because sex crimes are a very sensitive and serious issue, they are prosecuted vigorously. In some cases, authorities can be overzealous and charge individuals with a sex crime even if all of the evidence doesn’t add up. Concepts such as sexual conduct, sexual contact, sexual activity, and consent are often fluid, and though the law and police try to make each case black and white in an attempt to charge and convict perpetrators, the truth is that there is significant gray area with these matters.
If you have been charged or accused of a sex crime in Ohio – especially one involving someone under the age of consent – the first thing you need to do is hire a qualified criminal defense attorney. A good lawyer will be able to investigate your case and determine which defense to mount to minimize the consequences of your charges or get them thrown out entirely.
What are the Penalties for Sexual Conduct with a Minor in Ohio?
The state of Ohio has significant penalties for those who are convicted of the different sex crimes the state prohibits. The most serious sex crime is rape which is sexual conduct that is not consensual either by threat of force, force, or by impairing the victim with drugs or alcohol.
Statutory rape also falls into this category and refers to when an individual over the age of 18 engages in sexual conduct with a minor under the age of 13. Note that sexual conduct does not merely mean intercourse but also includes fellatio and other forms of penetration.
The penalty an individual could receive for such a crime depends on the age difference between the two parties involved. For example, if the perpetrator is less than four years older than the victim, it is a first-degree misdemeanor punishable by a fine of $1000 and up to six months in jail.
If the perpetrator is more than four years older than the victim the severity of the crime increases significantly. In this case, the crime jumps to a fourth-degree felony which comes with a $5000 fine and up to 18 months in jail.
The severity of the charges, the amount of the fine, and the length of jail time can also increase if the perpetrator is more than ten years older than the victim or if the perpetrator has been previously convicted of another sex crime.
Fines and jail time, however, are hardly the only punishment for sex crimes. If convicted, an individual might have to register as a sex offender which would have implications for the rest of their lives and make it difficult in obtaining an education, finding gainful employment, or adequate housing. In some cases, an individual’s right to own a firearm and vote could also be revoked if convicted of a sex crime.
Possible Defenses for Sex Crimes
Whether you believe you are falsely accused, innocent, or guilty, the most important thing to remember is to remain silent when being questioned by police officers about an alleged sex crime. Anything you say will be used against you later on. Only talk to police officers in the presence of your lawyer. Many suspected of sex crimes have made their cases much more difficult to defend because of testimony they have given to police officers without their lawyers present to advise them.
In addition to advising you what to say and not say to police, your lawyer will also know what type of defense you can use against the sex crime charges you are facing. Perhaps in their rush to solve the case, the investigating officers unlawfully searched your home or car, obtained evidence, or forgot to read you your rights before questioning you.
If that is the case, the evidence they gathered is inadmissible in court and cannot be used against you. A criminal defense lawyer will be able to tell if anything like this happened in your case and will know how to get such evidence dismissed.
There are a number of other procedural matters lawyers can use to make sure their client’s rights are not abused. If you have been charged with a sex crime, contact a criminal defense lawyer immediately so they can get to work mounting your defense as early as possible.