Incest is a very taboo subject. It carries harsh penalties in Nevada.
What is the legal definition of Incest?
Incest is defined in NRS 201.180.
NRS 201.180 – Incest: Definition; penalty.
Persons being within the degree of consanguinity within which marriages are declared by law to be incestuous and void who intermarry with each other or who commit fornication or adultery with each other shall be punished for a category A felony by imprisonment in the state prison for a minimum term of not less than 2 years and a maximum term of life with the possibility of parole, and may be further punished by a fine of not more than $10,000.
I know there are different degrees of relation, so what is the legal definition of incest?
In Nevada, incest refers to any relatives who are closer than second cousins (or first cousins if your parent is only a half sibling of their parent).
If two people are closer in relation than second cousins, they will be committing incest if they marry, have sexual intercourse, or commit adultery with each other.
If both parties are adults and they consent to the marriage, intercourse, or adultery, then they can both be charged with incest.
What if one of the parties does not consent to the act?
Incest requires consent by the party being charged. Consequently, if one party forces sexual intercourse on the other, then the party who forced the sexual intercourse can be charged with both incest and sexual assault.
What if one of the parties is underage?
If one of the parties is a minor, then they cannot consent to the marriage, intercourse, or adultery. Consequently, the minor cannot be charged with incest.
Also, the adult who forces sexual intercourse with a related minor can be charged with incest, child abuse, and sexual assault.
What are the possible penalties?
Incest is a very serious crime in Nevada. It is a category A felony, and carries with it a possible sentence of:
- A sentence of at least 2 years in a Nevada State Prison, with the possible maximum sentence of life with the possibility of parole; and
- Possible fines up to $10,000.
That is a very wide range in the possible sentence. How is the exact sentence determined?
The judge will decide what the sentence is based on a number of factors:
- The exact relation of the parties involved. The closer the relation, the more severe the sentence will be;
- The age of the parties. If one of the parties is a minor, their exact age will factor into the judge’s determination. If both parties are minors, then the judge will consider the all of the other specific circumstances involved before making a determination. Similarly, if both parties are adults, then the judge will look to the remaining circumstances in making a final determination.
- Whether the act was consensual. Obviously acts that are not consensual will face much harsher penalties than acts that are undertaken between two consenting adults.
Are there any Defenses?
Yes, of course there are. In fact, Libel is an extremely vague and difficult to prove charge. Some of the possible defenses include:
- No Relation – Incest obviously requires that the parties are closer relations than second cousins. If you can show that you are not closely related enough for incest, then the charges against you should be dropped or dismissed.
- No Marriage – People will often refer to themselves as husband and wife even though they have never been legally married. If you can show that you were never legally married to the relative you are being charged with committing incest with, then the charges against you should be dropped or dismissed.
- No Sexual Intercourse – As with marriage, if you can show that you and your relative never had sexual intercourse, then the charges against you should be dropped or dismissed.
What should I do if I’ve been charged with Incest?
As with any crime, it is very important that you speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible so that you can discuss the specific circumstances as well as any defenses that may apply to your case.