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Understanding the Age of Consent Laws in Illinois

 Posted on September 24, 2023 in Sex Offenses

Naperville, IL sex crimes defense lawyerIllinois is one of eight states where the legal age of consent for sexual contact is 17 years old. Anyone who engages in sexual activity with a partner under the age of consent is breaking the law and can be charged with crimes ranging from a misdemeanor to a felony. This includes minors with adults as well as minors with other minors.

Are you being accused of criminal sexual abuse or assault? Then it is in your best interest to speak to a lawyer immediately. These are serious crimes with serious penalties, and you need someone on your side to protect your rights.

Are There Close-In-Age Exemptions in Illinois?

Close-in-age exemptions, often referred to as “Romeo and Juliet laws'' do not exist in Illinois' Age of Consent law. In Illinois, Individuals who engage in sexual activity with someone under the age of consent can face legal prosecution, regardless of their age or the age of their partner. Even if two people are both under the age of consent, they can still be subject to statutory rape charges. This is because the law recognizes that minors are not always able to give truly informed consent to sexual activity.

Did I Violate the Illinois Age of Consent?

Engaging in sexual activity with a minor in Illinois who is under the age of 17 is a clear violation of the Illinois Age of Consent law. Those found guilty of breaking this law can face prosecution under Illinois sexual abuse statutes and charged with sex crimes. The penalties for convictions will vary based on the charges but can include prison sentences ranging from one to 60 years and the possibility of being registered as a sex offender.

What is a Sex Offender?

A sex offender is someone who has committed crimes of a sexual nature. Sex crimes are a broad category of crimes that include sexual assault, rape, child sexual abuse, and sex trafficking. Sex offenders can be male or female, and they can be of any age. These individuals are typically required to register with the police and provide information about their whereabouts. In most states, child sex offenders are also prohibited from entering a school zone.

Sexting and the Illinois Age of Consent

It is important to clarify that Illinois Age of Consent laws do not encompass "sexting." Instead, this particular activity is governed by child pornography laws. Under these laws, it is a criminal offense to capture images or record videos involving minors engaged in sexual activities. Soliciting sexually explicit pictures or videos from minors is also deemed a criminal act.

A minor in the case of “sexting” refers to anyone below the age of 18. While sexual intercourse between consenting individuals aged 17 and 18 may be allowed, the sharing of explicit images between one another may be subject to criminal charges.

Possession of sexually explicit photos and videos of a minor is also illegal under federal law. While minors are not normally prosecuted for possessing sexually explicit photos or videos of other minors, they can still be charged with child pornography. Any adult who produces, receives, or distributes sexually explicit images of a minor can also be charged with child pornography.

Contact a DuPage County Sex Crimes Attorney

Sex crime accusations can have a serious negative effect on someone’s life and mental state. If you are being accused of a sex crime, contact a Naperville, IL sex crimes defense attorney right away. The Law Office of Philip R. Nathe can ensure you receive an aggressive and exceptional defense. Schedule a free consultation with our attorney at 630-416-7600.

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