Although not often publicized, having sex with a dead person is not legal. Convictions for sexual penetration of a dead body carry extremely severe penalties including harsh prison sentences and possible fines.

There is a statute criminalizing sex with a dead person?

Yes. NRS 201.450 defines sexual penetration of a dead human body.

NRS 201.450 – Unlawful act; penalty.

  1. A person who commits a sexual penetration on the dead body of a human being is guilty of a category A felony and shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for life with the possibility of parole, with eligibility for parole beginning when a minimum of 5 years has been served, and shall be further punished by a fine of not more than $20,000.
  2. For the purposes of this section, “sexual penetration” means cunnilingus, fellatio or any intrusion, however slight, of any part of a person’s body or any object manipulated or inserted by a person into the genital or anal openings of the body of another, including, without limitation, sexual intercourse in what would be its ordinary meaning if practiced upon the living.

What constitutes “sexual penetration” for the purposes of this statute?

Anything that would be considered sexual penetration in any other context. In other words, the insertion of anything into any orifice of a dead person, or the insertion of any part of the dead person into another person (living or dead), for the purpose of sexual gratification in any form.

It is also important to understand that “sexual gratification” refers also to fetishes or other sexual fantasies.

What are the possible penalties?

Sexual penetration of a dead human body is a category A felony in Nevada and carries with it a possible sentence of:

  • Life in a Nevada State Prison, with the possibility of parole after 5 years; and
  • Possible fines up to $5,000

Are there any Defenses?

Yes, of course there are. Some of the possible defenses include:

  • No sexual penetration – Showing that there was no penetration of a sexual nature involved would mean that there was no violation of the statute. Depending on what the “penetration” was, this defense may be difficult to prove, but insertion of scientific objects, and possibly even fingers, can be shown to have non-sexual purposes, such as investigation, research, embalming, or other scientific purposes.
  • Lack of Evidence – As with any crime, the prosecution bears the burden of proving every element of the crime “beyond a reasonable doubt.” Given the nature of this crime, finding evidence can prove to be difficult. If there is not enough evidence to uphold this high level of proof, then the charges should be dropped or dismissed.

What should I do if I’ve been charged with Sexual penetration of a dead human body?

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.

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