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Chicago Criminal Defense Attorney
Former Cook County Felony Prosecutor

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Is IL Sex With a Minor a Crime If You Don’t Know Their Age?

In today’s age of technology, meeting people online or through a dating app is an everyday occurrence. Even social media platforms are used for people to meet and date new people.

While many of these online resources have age limits to help keep minors active, it doesn’t always work. It’s easy for a minor to lie about their age. What happens if you meet a person, hook up with them, and then find out they aren’t the legal age of consent in Illinois? Did you commit a sex crime?

The truth is that, while there are many factors in these types of cases, having sex with a minor in Illinois is a crime and can lead to criminal charges. Read on to find out more.

Consent in Illinois

In the state of Illinois, there is an age of consent. That age is 17 years old. What that means is that anyone over the age of 17 can freely engage in sexual activity with a partner, but anyone under that age is deemed legally unable to give their consent. Having sex with them can lead to criminal charges for sex crimes.

Sex Crimes in Illinois

Adults are held to a higher standard legally when it comes to sex acts with minors. In Illinois, even if a minor tells you they are older than the age of consent, you can still be liable for sexual acts you commit with them. This could lead to being charged with an Illinois sex crime.

The two most common crimes a person will face if they have sex with someone underage include:

Criminal Sexual Abuse

This occurs when someone engages in sex acts that do not include penetration with a minor. You can be charged with this crime if both you and the victim are between the ages of 9 and 17 or if the victim is older than 13 but younger than 17 – and the defendant is at least five years older than they are.

In most circumstances, this crime is a Class 4 felony. It can put you behind bars for up to three years and make you responsible for fines of as much as $25,000. If a person has a criminal history of sexual abuse, then the penalty can be more severe.

You can also be charged with aggravated sexual abuse, which is a Class 2 felony. It can result in up to seven years in prison.

Criminal Sexual Assault

The other crime that can be charged in situations where a person has sex with a minor is criminal sexual assault. This is defined as engaging in penetrative sex with someone without their consent. If they are under the age of consent in the state, then even if they tell you yes, it doesn’t legally count as consent – because they are not considered legally able to give it.

Criminal Sexual Assault in Chicago

Criminal sexual assault is normally considered a Class 1 felony, which is very serious. It can result in up to 15 years in prison and make the defendant responsible for fines of as much as $25,000.

In general, it’s up to an adult to ensure your sexual partners with whom you have sexual relations are of legal age. Even if a victim lies about their age, legally, the responsibility lies with the adult in the situation to do their due diligence.

About the Author:

Andrew M. Weisberg is a former felony prosecutor who now serves as a defense attorney in the greater Chicago area. He has extensive experience in handling all types of criminal cases, from sex offenses and domestic violence to retail theft-related crimes, murder, and drug crimes. His work has been recognized by Avvo, Expertise, National Trial Lawyers, and others, and he has been featured on countless news outlets for his experience and knowledge in criminal law.

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