Understanding Laws Regarding Age of Consent and Sex Crimes in Illinois

Posted on in Sex Crimes

Arlington Heights statutory rape defense attorneyWe have all heard the saying that “age is just a number,” or some similar sentiment. While that saying may be true for certain couples, when it comes to sexual relationships, age can become very important, and it can be the deciding factor as to whether or not you are committing a crime. Age of consent laws were enacted to prevent children and adolescents from being taken advantage of, and these laws differ from state to state. Violating age of consent laws can result in sex crime accusations, which should not be taken lightly, since they come with serious consequences.

What Is the Age of Consent in Illinois?

The age of consent refers to when the law determines that a person is able to consent to sexual acts. In Illinois, the age of consent is 17, meaning that if a child is under the age of 17, they cannot legally give their consent to a sexual act. If a child is 16 and willingly performs a sexual act with an adult, the other person can face criminal charges, because the 16-year-old is seen as not being mature enough to consent to such an act or not fully understanding the ramifications of such an act.

Charges for Violating the Age of Consent

While engaging in sexual activity with someone under the age of consent is commonly known as statutory rape, Illinois law does not use this term. There are a few different offenses you can be charged with if you engage in sexual acts with someone under the age of 17:

  • Criminal Sexual Assault: This offense may be charged if a person engages in sexual penetration while knowing that the other person does not understand the nature of the act. A person may also be charged with this offense if the perpetrator is a family member of the victim and the victim is under the age of 18, or if the perpetrator is at least 17 years old and holds a position of power over a victim who is between 13 and 18 years old. This crime is a Class 1 felony. 
  • Criminal Sexual Abuse: This offense occurs when the perpetrator commits a sexual act other than penetration with a victim who does not understand the nature of the act, which is a class 4 felony. If any sexual conduct or penetration occurs when the perpetrator is under the age of 17 and the victim is between the ages of 9 and 17 years old, or if the victim is between the ages of 13 and 17 and the perpetrator is no more than five years older than the victim, this is a Class A misdemeanor.

Contact an Arlington Heights Criminal Defense Attorney

If you have been accused of statutory rape or any other sex crime, do not hesitate--you need to immediately contact a skilled and knowledgeable attorney. Being charged with a sex crime is an extremely serious matter--especially if it involves someone who is under the age of consent. Rolling Meadows sex crimes defense lawyer Scott F. Anderson is well-versed in the realm of defending against sex crime accusations, and he can help you avoid a conviction at all costs. Call our office at 847-253-3400 to schedule a free initial consultation.