When You Did Not Know Your Date’s Age
Teenagers lie about their ages. This is especially prevalent on the Internet and in settings like clubs where they mingle with young adults or attempt to buy alcohol. When an adolescent lies about his or her age, an adult could become interested in pursuing a sexual relationship with him or her. This, however, is a sex crime.
In Illinois, the age of consent is 17 years old. This means that children under the age of 17 cannot legally engage in sexual activity with adults or with other minors because they cannot consent to sex.
Finding out a date’s actual age can be a shocking moment for an adult. If you find yourself in this position, stop all contact with the minor and contact a criminal defense lawyer immediately to determine how to proceed with the case.
There are circumstances where it is possible to truly be ignorant of an individual’s age, but whether this is a valid defense strategy for you depends on many different factors, such as your own age and whether you reasonably should have known how old your date really was at the time of your sexual relationship. His or her age now does not matter—the victim’s age at the time of sexual contact determines whether a sex crime occurred.
When Ignorance of a Minor’s Age is a Valid Defense to a Sex Crime Charge
In many states, ignorance of the victim’s age is not a valid defense to a sex charge involving a minor. Generally, this is the case in Illinois as well. However, there are a few circumstances under which this is a legitimate defense strategy.
In Illinois, sexual contact between two individuals between the ages of nine and 16 and sexual contact between a minor at least 13 but less than 17 years old with another individual five or fewer years their senior is a Class A misdemeanor. For a criminal sexual abuse charge, not knowing the younger partner’s age can be a valid defense.
Aggravated criminal sexual abuse is defined as sexual contact between an individual over 17 and an individual under 13. Ignorance of the minor’s age is not a valid defense in this type of case.
Aggravated criminal sexual abuse can also be charged when an individual over 17 engages in sexual contact with a minor between 13 and 16 when there is an age difference greater than five years.
Generally, ignorance of the younger party’s age is not a valid defense in this type of case. However, if the defendant can show that he or she reasonably believed the minor to be older, the court may consider this fact.
Work with an Experienced Naperville Sex Crimes Attorney
If you have been charged with any type of sex crime, start working with an experienced Naperville criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible to develop an appropriate, effective defense strategy for your case. To learn more and get started, contact our team at Law Office of Glenn M. Sowa, LLC today to set up your legal consultation in our office.