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 may be slipped into an unsuspecting victim’s drink to make 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 wrong. Such drugs are often colorless and tasteless, and they may leave the victim unable to recall what took place. Though there is a rule of thumb that if you are suspicious or if your drink taste salty, get a new drink. 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.

One of the most common date rape drugs is Rohypnol. It comes
as a white, dime-sized pill that dissolves quickly in liquids. The manufacturer has changed the formulation so that when dissolved in liquid, it turns the liquid blue, which might help someone spot whether their drink has been tampered with. Generic versions of the pill don’t have this feature.

Statutory Rape
Statutory rape laws in Idaho depend, in part, on the age difference between the two people engaged in sexual activity. It is a felony for any person at least five (5) years of age older than a minor child who is sixteen (16) or seventeen (17) years of age to engage in explicit sexual conduct.

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. Additionally, consent is not a defense.

Child Molestation
Idaho laws prohibit sexual abuse or lewd conduct with a child under 16. It doesn’t need to involve sexual intercourse, and consent is not an issue. Even if the minor consents, it is still prohibited. Molestation can 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 is the act of electronically posting or forwarding sexually explicit photographs or videos, usually by cell phone. When a person creates, sends, or even possesses pictures or videos of a person under 18 engaged in sexually explicit conduct, including erotic nudity, a prosecutor may 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.


It does not matter whether or not you are married. Both parents are responsible to provide support until their 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 an unsafe location, 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, fire stations and doctor’s offices.