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Unlawful Sexual Misconduct with a Minor: Ohio Definitions, Penalties, and Defenses

According to ORC § 2907.04(A), unlawful sexual misconduct with a minor is defined as follows:

“No person who is eighteen years of age or older shall engage in sexual conduct with another, who is not the spouse of the offender, when the offender knows the other person is thirteen years of age or older but less than sixteen years of age, or the offender is reckless in that regard.”

This is a specific intent crime, which means that it is committed knowingly and purposefully, with full understanding of the nature and consequences of the criminal act.

Penalties

  • Unlawful sexual misconduct with a minor is a fourth degree felony, punishable by six to eighteen months in prison, with a maximum fine of $ 5,000.
  • If the offender is less than four years older than the victim, the crime is a first degree misdemeanor, punishable by up to six months in prison and up to a $1,000 fine.
  • If the offender is ten or more years older than the other person, unlawful sexual conduct with a minor is a felony of the third degree, punishable by a prison term of 1 to 5 years and a maximum fine of $10,000.
  • If the offender previously has been convicted of or pleaded guilty to a violation of section02, 2907.03, or 2907.04 of the Revised Code or a violation of former section 2907.12 of the Revised Code, unlawful sexual conduct with a minor is a felony of the second degree, punishable by 2 to 8 years in prison and a maximum fine of $15.

Collateral Consequences can include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Loss of employment
  • Loss of the ability to obtain employment
  • A criminal record
  • Loss of custody and/or visitation rights
  • Loss of a professional license or the ability to pursue the same
  • Isolation from the community
  • The stigma of offender status

Defenses

Lack of Intent negates an essential element of this specific intent crime.

Mistaken Identity, meaning that law enforcement charged or convicted the wrong defendant.

False Accusations, based on the desire for revenge or other motivations.

Affirmative Defense Admission to the offense, but a crucial fact in issue negates an essential element of the crime and, therefore, a finding of guilt.

Lack of Evidence, to the extent that the prosecution cannot meet its burden of proof beyond a reasonable doubt.

Note: Consent is not a defense to the crime of Unlawful Sexual Misconduct with a Minor because a minor is inherently incapable of consent.

Unlawful sexual misconduct with a minor is an extremely egregious offense and a charge or conviction can have everlasting effects.

If you have been charged with or convicted of unlawful sexual misconduct with a minor, you must contact an expert sex crimes defense attorney immediately.


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