Sexual misconduct can happen to anyone at any time. It can cause more damage than is visible. This is so because researchers have found that most of the time, the abuse is caused by someone of an acquaintance or a family member. Strangers conduct only 30% of cases. With such grave numbers, it becomes complicated for victims to open up due to the association, especially in minors. Hence, being aware of legal aid for sexual misconduct with a minor can guide proceeding in the right direction.
What is counted as sexual misconduct with a minor?
Unless one of the adults does not consent to the conduct, most sexual behavior between adults is not a criminal violation. Whereas, Minors are not in a position to grant permission under the law. A person who isn’t at the age to consent in any legal matter is referred to as a “minor.” A minor, for example, cannot enter into a valid contract. Actual legislation and the maximum ages at which a person can be charged with a crime differ by state.
A person involved in sexual behavior with a minor under the stipulated ages defined by the state law commits a felony, regardless of the kid’s apparent permission or agreement. In most places, instances involving young children such as those under the age of 12–13 carry substantially harsher penalties and punishments.
Many states define a “Romeo and Juliet” exception in their penal codes for circumstances where sexual behavior happens between a young adult and a minor whose ages are only a few years apart. If the young adult did not use force or coercion on the child and the minor is a teenager, this exception usually prevents the young adult from being charged with a sex offense.
Sexual misconduct can be categorized as first-degree or second-degree. However, the difference is that in first-degree misconduct, sexual intercourse is a must.
A gross misdemeanor is sexual misconduct with a minor in the second degree. An offender could be punished to 364 days in prison and a $5,000 fine.
Sexual misconduct in the first degree with a minor is a Class C felony. An offender might face a term of up to five years in prison and a $10,000 fine. A conviction results in 36 months of community detention (similar to parole).
Anyone convicted of a sex offense of either degree must register as a sex offender for ten years.
Conviction of a sex crime against a minor carries with it a lot of stigmas. Their families and society frequently shun those who have been condemned. They are commonly subjected to onerous behavior restrictions while in community custody. They are widely prohibited from living within a thousand feet of a school, a playground, or a park, which leaves very few options in some communities. They are frequently barred from simply visiting such locations, let alone driving by them. They must also obtain authorization to travel, even if it is only to the next county.
When charged with sexual misconduct with a minor, it can affect the defendant’s life if falsely accused. Also, the penalties are grave in such cases due to the baggage involved to the victim. Hence, it is crucial to consult a law firm that can adequately handle the case.