Sex & The Law

No Means NO

Maybe you were the victim of a date rape, or you think your sister was touched inappropriately. Maybe your best friend is pregnant and hiding it from her family. As a young adult, you could face a variety of difficult situations involving sex and the law.

Sexual assault is any type of sexual activity to which you did not consent. Battery is the unlawful touching of another person against that person’s will. A person convicted of sexual assault or battery may receive a jail sentence of up to 20 years, depending on the seriousness of the crime.

Date Rape

Date rape (also called acquaintance rape) is when an encounter turns into non-consensual sex. Keep in mind that friendship, dating, or even marital status does not convey an invitation to sexual intercourse. It is rape if one person says, “no.”

Date Rape Drugs

Date rape drugs are drugs that may be slipped into an unsuspecting victim’s drink to render him or her physically helpless and pave the way for a sexual assault. The victim may have little or no reason to suspect that anything is amiss. Such drugs are often colorless and tasteless, and they may leave the victim unable to recall what took place.

To protect yourself from being given date rape drugs:

  • Don’t accept drinks from other people, except trusted friends.
  • Open containers yourself.
  • Keep your drink with you at all times, even when you go to the bathroom.
  • Don’t share drinks.
  • Don’t drink from punch bowls or other large, common, open containers.
  • Don’t drink anything that tastes or smells strange.
  • Have a non-drinking friend with you to make sure nothing happens.

Statutory Rape

Statutory rape laws in Idaho depend, in part, on the age difference between the two people engaged in sexual activity. If a person over 18 has sex with a person younger than 16, that person is guilty of statutory rape. If a person is 16 or 17 and has sex with someone three years older, that is also statutory rape.

Statutory rape is punishable by at least one year in state prison and if you are at least five years older than a minor, you could be found guilty of a felony, and sentenced to up to 25 years to life in prison, depending on the type of contact.

A mistake about a person’s age is not a defense for statutory rape. For example, if a 15 year old told a 20 year old she was 18 at the time of contact, the 20 year old can still be charged with statutory rape.

Child Molestation

Idaho laws prohibit sexual abuse or lewd conduct with a child under 16. It need not involve sexual intercourse, and consent is not an issue. Such conduct could be charged as a felony, and lead to a sentence of up to 15 years in prison for sexual abuse, or life in prison for lewd conduct.

Sexting

Sexting is the act of electronically posting or forwarding sexually explicit photographs or videos, primarily using cell phones. When a person creates, sends, or even has in their possession pictures or videos of a person under 18 engaged in sexually explicit conduct, including erotic nudity, a prosecutor has discretion to charge it as a violation of child pornography laws. If convicted, the violator faces stiff criminal penalties and may have to register as a sex offender for the rest of his or her life.

Sex Offender Registry

If you are convicted of a sex crime, you may have to register as a sex offender for life. A sex offender registry requires people convicted of certain felony sex crimes to register their name, address, and criminal classification with their local sheriff. This registry is available to the general public.

Pregnancy

It does not matter whether or not you are married. Both parents are responsible to provide support until the child turns 18 or graduates from high school, whichever is later. If one parent fails to provide required support, the other parent can take the case to court. A judge can also order that a parent’s wages, or a portion of them, be deducted from a work paycheck and used for child support payments.

Idaho has a Safe Haven Act aimed at deterring a parent from abandoning an unwanted newborn in unsafe locations, like a dumpster or public restroom. A newborn’s custodial parent can voluntarily surrender an infant under 30 days old to a place or person and not risk prosecution for child abandonment or child abuse. Examples of safe havens include hospitals and doctor’s offices.

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