In North Dakota, statutory rape refers to engaging in sexual activity with an individual under the age of 15, as the legal age of consent is 15. Anyone aged 18 or older engaging in sexual activity with someone under 15 is considered to have committed statutory rape, regardless of the minor’s consent. North Dakota strictly enforces these laws to protect minors from sexual exploitation and abuse.
Unlike many other laws, consent is not a defense. This means even if the sexual activity is consensual, you still committed statutory rape.
Statutory rape is a serious crime with significant consequences.
Statutory rape laws arise from the idea that anyone under the age of 18 is incapable of giving informed consent.
The age of consent varies from state to state. However, North Dakota statutory rape laws define 18 years old as the age of consent.
If you have been charged with violating statutory rape laws, you face imprisonment, fines, and sex offender registration.
North Dakota Statutory Rape Laws
North Dakota statutory rape laws fall into various categories. Which crime you are charged with depends on the specific facts and circumstances.
Gross Sexual Imposition
Gross sexual imposition includes sexual acts or sexual contact with a minor who is 15 years of age or younger.
The age of the accused at the time of the crime will determine if a conviction carries five years in prison or up to a life sentence. There may also be substantial fines if you are convicted.
Corruption of a Minor
North Dakota statutory rape laws also include corruption of a minor, which is defined as sexual acts between a minor who is 15, 16, or 17 and a defendant who is at least 18 years old.
Again, depending on the age of the parties involved, penalties range from one year in jail to up to five years in prison.
An accused may also face fines or a combination of both.
Continuous Sexual Abuse of a Child
Under North Dakota rape laws, a person can be charged with continuous sexual abuse of a child if they engage in three or more sexual acts or sexual contacts with a minor under the age of 15 over a span of three or more months.
Possible defenses to a statutory rape charge will be similar to the defenses available under other North Dakota rape laws.
These may be as simple as, “this conduct did not occur” or “it was someone else.”
There are also two additional defenses that apply specifically to statutory rape.
The first is the Romeo and Juliet exception, which is intended to avoid the most severe criminal penalties for teenagers who engage in consensual sex or sexual acts with someone close to their age.
The second defense is mistake of age, which applies if the victim is 15, 16, or 17. If the alleged victim is 14 years old or younger this defense cannot apply.
The Attorneys of Arechigo & Stokka Are Here for You
We provide direct and personal attention to each and every client. A statutory rape conviction can have drastic and lifelong consequences. Let us defend you.
Attorney John Arechigo has a passion for criminal defense in St. Paul, MN. John received his J.D., from Hamline University School of Law and also carries a Bachelor of Arts from, The University of Minnesota. John was named Attorney of the Year for 2019 by Minnesota Lawyer. Additionally, John was also named as a 2019 Rising Star and was selected to Minnesota Super Lawyers in 2021. He devotes nearly 100% of his practice to defending individuals charged with a crime.