In the state of Illinois, 17 years of age is typically the age of consent for sexual activity of any type. Anyone who is younger than 17 cannot legally consent to sexual activity that involves sexual conduct – the touching of any sexual organ by someone else. Note that this includes voluntary sexual conduct with someone who is not 17 years of age or older. Even if the act itself was voluntary in nature, legally that individual is unable to lawfully consent to sexual activity. In this way, you can think of the term “consent” as a legal term when it comes to minors under the age of consent, not necessarily a factual term that describes the situation itself.
If you are being investigated or charged for a sex crime, you need to find an experienced attorney knowledgeable in criminal defense in order to help you avoid a criminal record as well as being placed on the sexual offender registry. Brian G. Hiatt, attorney at law, understands Illinois consent law and is ready to fight for your rights and with your best interests in mind.
Consent Law in Illinois
To put the above information into more concrete terms, picture a young couple where one partner is 17 years old and the other is 16 years old. Should the 17-year-old touch any sexual organ of the 16-year-old for sexual gratification, they could be found guilty of a sex crime and could be made to register on the sex offender registration list maintained by the State of Illinois. Note that the same holds true even if both individuals in question are under 17. Because neither of them can legally consent to sexual activity, they could both be prosecuted for a sex crime.
It is fair, of course, to say that the prosecution of the aforementioned examples is fairly rare. They serve to illustrate the way that consent law works in the state of Illinois, however, by showing just how severe the law can be. It is important to keep this in mind in order to avoid committing a sex crime even inadvertently – but it is even more important to keep this strict consent law in mind when it comes to knowingly carrying on sexual relations with someone under the age of consent. To be blunt, these kinds of crimes are far more likely to be prosecuted when there is a significant age disparity between the two individuals in question.
Note that if one of the parties happens to occupy a “position of supervision” over the other party, then the age of consent is raised to 18. This position of authority might include any of the following:
- Church Leader
Statutory Rape in Illinois
Now that you better understand the age of consent in Illinois as well as how consent law in general works in the state, let’s talk about statutory rape. Statutory rape laws in Illinois all revolve around the idea that anyone younger than 17 years of age (18 years of age if the other partner is an authority figure) is unable to consent to sexual acts. Again, the word “consent” in this context is a legal term and doesn’t necessarily mean that the act in question was nonconsensual. It means that one of the individuals involved was unable to lawfully consent to the actions.
If you are being investigated for statutory rape, you need an experienced attorney well versed in criminal law. Note that you should not wait to seek one out – your attorney will need plenty of time to understand the situation and build your defense in order to give you the best chance at receiving the most favorable judgment possible. Do not make the mistake of assuming that just because you aren’t too much older than the individual in question, you will not be charged with criminal sexual abuse. Even if you are 17 and your partner 16, you could be found guilty and labeled a sex offender.
For more information regarding your options as well as the possibility of invoking a “Romeo and Juliet” defense, reach out to Brian G. Hiatt, attorney at law. Contact him today at 815-340-5441 for a consultation.