The role of age in the prosecution of a sex crime

It is generally accepted in Louisiana and in other parts of the United States that a person becomes an adult when he or she reaches the age of 18. Many rights are conferred upon an individual upon achieving that age; the rights to join the military and to vote are among the most commonly cited. However, age can play a very important role in determining if and how certain crimes will attach to a person’s record, especially with regard to allegations of sex crimes.

For example, under Louisiana law a youth can face felony charges for having sex with another juvenile if the alleged victim is between the ages of 13 and 17 and if the alleged perpetrator is at least four years older than the alleged victim. Even if the alleged victim consents to the sexual interaction the other can face a sex crime allegation for participating in the act.

Being convicted of a sex crime at such a young age can set a person up for a lifetime of defending his criminal history. Arrests and convictions for sex crimes can linger on individuals’ records for a very long time and can prevent people from moving forward with their lives. Certain sex crimes also require offenders to register as sex offenders, which can limit the individual’s ability to find housing, work and other necessary support.

Even when a person is under the age of 18 he or she can face serious consequences for his or her actions if they involve sexual contact with other minors. Age plays a big role in how and whether certain sex crimes will be prosecuted. Individuals who are facing sex crime allegations for conduct that occurred while they were still juveniles may choose to work with criminal defense attorneys to better understand their legal options.

Source: Louisiana State Legislature, “Part V. Offenses Affecting the Public Morals,” accessed on Dec. 22, 2014

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