What Constitutes Rape of a Child in Utah?
All forms of rape involve having sexual intercourse with the victim without the victim’s consent. When the victim is an adult, lack of consent usually involves the defendant using force or violence against the victim or while the victim is unconscious or incapacitated in some way. Such is not the case with charges for rape of a child in Utah.
For purposes of rape charges, a child is anyone who is under the age of 14. See Utah Code 76-5-402.1. Under Utah law, children cannot consent to having sexual intercourse; they are legally incapable of consent. See Utah Code 76-5-406(2)(i). Thus, there is no intent, knowledge, or motive required on the defendant’s part for him to be found guilty of rape of a child. The mere act of having sexual intercourse with a person under 14-years-old is by itself enough for him to be found guilty.
What are the Penalties?
Rape of a child is a first degree felony and except for a few exceptions carries with it a prison sentence of 25 years to life. There are mitigating and exacerbating factors that can increase or decrease the level of penalties and imprisonment.
For example, if the defendant caused the child serious bodily injury during the act, or if the defendant had previously been convicted of a grievous sexual crime, then judge will sentence him to life in prison without parole.
For first time offenders under 21-years-old there is also an exception, if the judge finds that it would be in the interest of justice and places his reasons on the record. But even then, the judge is limited on what he can do and has only three options: he can imposed imprisonment of 15 years to life, 10 years to life, or 6 years to life. Additionally, no matter the sentence, the judge must impose prison. Individuals convicted of rape of a child are not eligible for probation.
Because of the penalties of this crime you cannot afford to not have the very best representation for such charges. Salcido Law Firm is one of the most experienced trial law firms for sex crimes in the state of Utah. Give us a call at 801-413-1753 to discuss your charges and find out what type of defense we can put together for you.