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If only fondling is involved, the offense drops one felony level. For years in Indiana, the age at which a person could legally consent to have sex was 16.
But lawyers for young defendants accused of having sex with 14- and 15-year-olds now can pose a defense against charges of sexual misconduct with a minor.
The Class B felony, punishable by as many as 20 years in prison, becomes a Class A felony, punishable by as many as 50 years in prison, if the perpetrator is at least 21; if the act was committed with a weapon or threat of force; if serious bodily injury results; or if the person knew the victim was slipped a drug without his or her knowledge.
Sexual misconduct with a minor is defined as a person at least 18 years of age engaging in intercourse or deviate sexual conduct with someone aged 14 or 15.
Even though a person can face serious prison time for engaging in sexual acts with someone under the age of consent, quite a few people don't even know the age of consent. There's a presumption in the law that prior to 16, you're not capable of consenting," Porter County Prosecutor Brian Gensel said.
The Class C felony, punishable by as many as eight years in prison, becomes a Class B felony if committed by someone at least 21.It becomes a Class A felony if committed while armed, if injury occurs or if drugs were slipped to the victim.