Gibson Law Office LAFAYETTE: (765) 742-8440 | FORT WAYNE: (260) 739-5425
Sexual Misconduct with a Minor – Defenses and Legal Representation

Sexual misconduct charges are serious and require an aggressive defense. In Indiana, the charge of sexual misconduct with a minor is based on the respective ages of the defendant and alleged victim. In many sexual misconduct cases, the sex act was consensual and is illegal only because of the age of the parties. Lafayette, Indiana defense attorney Brett Gibson has won acquittal at jury trial on sexual misconduct charges and other sex crimes. Defending sexual misconduct charges requires strategy, preparation, and jury trial experience.

What is Sexual Misconduct with a Minor in Indiana?

The criminal charge of sexual misconduct with a minor makes it a felony for a person 18 years of age or older to have sexual contact with a person at least 14 years old, but less than 16 years old. The level of offense depends on whether sexual fondling, touching, intercourse, or deviate conduct occurred. If the defendant is at least 21 years of age, the offense elevates to a higher level felony.

Penalties and offense levels for sexual misconduct include:
  • If a person at least 18 years old has sexual intercourse with a person at least 14 years old but less than the age of 16, the offense is a Level 5 felony and carries a penalty of 1 to 6 years in prison. However, if the defendant is at least 21 years of age, the offense is a Level 4 felony and carries a penalty of 2 to 12 years in prison.
  • If intercourse did not occur, but the State alleges that a person at least 18 years old sexually fondled a person under age 16, it is a Level 6 felony and carries a penalty of 6 months to 2 1/2 years. However, if the defendant is at least 21 years old, the offense elevates to a Level 5 felony.
What are Defenses to Sexual Misconduct with a Minor in Indiana?

It is a defense to a charge of sexual misconduct with a minor that the defendant reasonably believed the alleged victim was 16 years old. The so-called “reasonable belief” defense places the burden on the defendant to prove by a preponderance of the evidence (more likely than not) that he or she reasonably believed the alleged victim was at least 16 years old. Relevant defense evidence may include:

  • The defendant witnessed the victim driving a car
  • Social media profiles that indicate the victim is at least 16
  • Texts, e-mails, and other communications indicating the victim’s age
  • Statements made by the victim or others regarding age 
It is also a defense to sexual misconduct with a minor if the parties were in a dating relationship, and the defendant was not more than four years older than the victim. The so-called Romeo-Juliet defense requires proof that the parties were in an on-going dating relationship and is only available to a defendant who is less than 21 years old.
 
The reasonable belief defense and Romeo-Juliet defenses are affirmative defenses. This means that a person accused of sexual misconduct must file a timely notice with the court to utilize these defenses. Thus, it is extremely important to have an experienced criminal defense attorney early in the case.
 
Lafayette, Indiana Sexual Misconduct Defense Attorney: Statewide Practice

Lafayette, Indiana Attorney Brett Gibson has won acquittal at jury trial on sex crimes charges in multiple Indiana counties. Regardless of where your case is pending, you need a defense lawyer with significant trial experience. Gibson Law Office has won acquittal at jury trial in counties hours from our office. We always charge a flat fee and never charge for travel time. With offices in Lafayette and Fort Wayne, we only handle criminal cases and have represented clients in more than 50 counties. We have defended clients in every region of Indiana, including Tippecanoe County, Montgomery County, Fountain County, Miami County, Allen County, Huntington County, Jay County, and Blackford County. Whether you are charged in Bluffton, Bloomington, Muncie, Peru, or Plymouth, we will strategically defend you. If you are facing sexual misconduct charges, shouldn’t you take the opportunity for a free consultation with a legal team that will aggressively defend you?  

 

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Lafayette
Gibson Law Office
133 N. 4th St.
Suite 73
Lafayette, IN 47901

Phone: (765) 742-8440

Fort Wayne
Gibson Law Office
701 S. Clinton St.
Suite 300
Fort Wayne, IN 46802

Phone: (260) 739-5425
Email: info@bbgibson.com
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