Sexual Assault Defined
Sexual assault in Nevada is defined in by Nevada Revised Statute 200.366:
A person who subjects another person to sexual penetration, or who forces another person to make a sexual penetration on himself or herself or another, or on a beast, against the will of the victim or under conditions in which the perpetrator knows or should know that the victim is mentally or physically incapable of resisting or understanding the nature of his or her conduct, is guilty of sexual assault. There are only two elements necessary to establish the crime:
- Sexual penetration
- Lack of consent, including the inability to consent
Although it’s not always necessary, some defendants think that they need to use physical force for a sexual assault charge. However, this could not be farther from the truth. The question of consent generally relies upon whether or not the victim was able to resist or agree. This has been recently decided by Nevada’s Supreme Court and thus affects how defense attorneys can argue based on such claims of ‘consent’.
The Nevada Supreme Court ruled that a victim’s testimony of sexual assault is enough to support a conviction, regardless of whether there is other evidence. This court rule is part of the state’s law on sexual assault charges and makes it difficult to mount a defense against these types of charges.
The complexities of defending a sexual assault charge are heightened by Nevada’s rape shield legislation, which prohibits the defendant from using the victim’s previous sexual conduct as part of his or her defense. The Nevada Supreme Court has created a limited exception that allows a defendant to utilize prior false accusations of sexual assault or abuse in specific situations.
Penalties For Sexual Assault In Nevada
If you are convicted of sexual assault, the general penalty is life imprisonment. However, whether a defendant will be eligible for parole and how long they must wait depends on the age of the victim and other circumstances expressed in more detail below. Without taking those other facts into account, here is the minimum eligibility period for parole:
- 10 years, if the victim is over age 16
- 25 years, if the victim was under age 16 but over age 14
- 35 years, if the victim was under the age of 14
If a conviction includes allegations of substantial bodily harm and the victim is under age 16, the penalty is life imprisonment without parole. If, however, the victim is over age 16 at the time of sentencing, the minimum eligibility for parole instead increases to 15 years. Additionally, if the defendant has certain prior convictions regardless of other circumstances, their sentence can be increased to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole.
Related Sex Crimes
Convictions of any of these sex crimes will land you a place on the sex offender registry:
Being labeled a sex offender has lifelong consequences. To safeguard your anonymity throughout these procedures, you will require discreet representation. Under Nevada law, if you or someone you care about was raped or sexually assaulted in jail or in a supervised care facility by an offender who has been charged with committing indecent acts, the perpetrator can be held liable. When two people are not married and have sex with someone under the age of 16, it is known as statutory rape. Even if the act itself is considered consensual, the non-minor can be charged with statutory rape if he or she was forced against his or her will to participate in sexual activities. Sexual advances, sexual favors, and other verbal, non-verbal, or physical contacts of a sexual nature are all examples of sexual harassment. Both males and females can be charged with sexual harassment.
Understanding Express vs. Implied Consent
In cases involving sexual assault, the issue of whether or not a person gave consent is crucial. In these circumstances, there are two types of consent: (1) express consent and (2) implied consent.
The easiest type of consent to define and identify is express consent, which occurs when a person clearly states that he or she consents to the penetration. If you can imagine two adults sitting down and having a long conversation about their planned intimate activity, during which they go through each other’s exact wants and fears around different types and degrees of penetration, before proceeding to simply have the precise kind and degree of penetration that each one previously agreed to, then you’ve probably got yourself a scenario where express consent was present.
Although implied consent is more common, it is also far more subjective, implying that all of the elements of the situation must be evaluated to determine whether or not a reasonable person in those circumstances would have believed that consent was given. A competent Las Vegas sexual assault attorney will be able to identify and utilize any information that supports your case so that he may persuade prosecutors, as well as — if required — a court and jury, that a reasonable person in your position would believe that implied consent existed.