Illinois Sex Crimes Defense Attorney: Age of Consent in Illinois
Teenage romance isn’t all roses and sweet kisses in Chicago. Teenage romance can be a serious sexual offense that can land you in prison or force you to register as a sex offender for at least 10 years. If you are facing a sex crime charge in Illinois, it is important that you have an experienced Chicago criminal lawyer fighiting for you.
What is the Age of Consent in Illinois?
In Illinois, the age of consent at which a person is presumed able to consent to and engage in sexual activity is 17 (see 720 ILCS 5/12-15). We caution that there’s no close in age consensual sex exception to this rule, or “Romeo and Juliet” escape clause. If a boyfriend and girlfriend are 15 and 16 and engage in sexual activity as defined under the law, the boy could be accused of a serious sex crime if the girl gets pregnant or the relationship goes sour.
Our attorney knows that if there is less than 5 years’ difference in age between the two lovers, and each party to the relationship is at least 13 years old, the teenage sex crime is a misdemeanor (unless force or violence was involved, or a party was mentally disabled). Either participant could be charged with the misdemeanor of criminal sexual abuse, punishable by up to one year in prison and a fine of $2,500. The judge could sentence you to probation, but you would still have to register as a Sex Offender.
We can explain that sex offender status means that any interested person can look up your picture, status, and address online. And you will be limited as to where you can live, work, and even visit. Experience shows that it’s usually the teenage boy who is charged rather than the girl, though legally either party might find themselves fighting serious Sex Offense charges.
Criminal sexual abuse might not be “abuse” as you usually think of the term. Legally, criminal sexual abuse arising from a youthful romance is sexual penetration (even with a tongue or fingers) or sexual contact (fondling, for instance) between two people under 17 but at least 9 years old. If a party is under 9 years of age, the same exact conduct becomes a felony with far more serious consequences.
We also warn that if both parties participate in consensual sex are at least 13, but one of the participants is at least 5 years older than the other, the charge relating to the conduct is a felony. Where the age difference is 5 years or more, the charge becomes aggravated criminal sexual abuse, a class 2 felony punishable by 3 to 7 years in prison and a fine of up to $25,000. When you have a skilled attorney to guide you, a judge might sentence you to probation, but only after you have undergone a thorough and humiliating sex offender evaluation.
Basically, anyone engaging in a sexual act with a partner under the age of consent commits a serious Sexual Offense under Illinois law. Even where the offender was also under the Age of Consent at the time of the offense.
Contact our firm if you face a serious charge involving sex with someone under the age of consent
We understand the serious consequences of a conviction for as sex offense, even for the “crime” of an ill-fated teenage romance. A bad relationship in your youth shouldn’t destroy your life and your future.
As a dedicated lawyer, knowledgeable on legal issues of consensual sex in Chicago, we can help you uncover the evidence you need to build a successful defense to your charge. If you had a “reasonable” belief that your partner was 17 or over, you have a valid defense. But that defense and the “reasonableness” of your belief can be challenging to prove in court, especially under the emotional onslaught posed by a victim and that victim’s family. You need a skilled attorney to help you approach your defense in a strategically sound manner and present a convincing case.
Contact our firm today for a free and completely confidential legal consultation to discuss your case and examine your legal options.