Age of Consent Differences in the US: Do You Need a Sex Crime Lawyer?

John L. Calcagni III
Age of Consent Differences in the US

In the US, laws vary on a state by state basis. This can make understanding the laws about certain crimes difficult. You could live in one state but commit a crime in another, and face those state’s penalties for breaking the law. The age of consent is very different in states and could lead to some confusion. If you find yourself dating someone younger than you, you should understand the age of consent differences. Depending on the age of your partner, you may need a sex crime lawyer.

What is the age of consent?

The age of consent refers to the legal age at which someone can have sex. If you are over the legal age and have sex with someone who is under the age, you could face severe penalties. Often, you need a sex crime lawyer to defend you against charges.

In other countries of the world, the age of consent may vary depending on sex and sexuality. The definition of sex also varies. However, the US has the same definition, as well as the same age of consent for both males and females. If someone finds out that you are having sex with someone under the age of consent, then they could contact the police and press charges. The parents of the underage individual could choose to press charges, as could the underage individual herself.

Some people don’t realize that willing sex can still be against the law. Whether or not you have willing sex, it is illegal if the other individual is under the age of consent. The reasoning for this law is protection. Authorities want to protect people who are too young to understand the meaning and implication of sex. If someone is under the age of consent, the court considers them a child and too young to understand.

Consent Laws in the US

Although the age of consent in the US does vary, the age of consent is between 16 and 18 in all states. In the past, some states had younger age limits and also limited the situations in which the age of consent could apply. For example, a minor who was unchaste in character could be precluded from filing charges against an adult sexual partner. All of that changed in the past decades. Now, having sex with someone under the age of consent is illegal in any situation.

There are 31 states that list the age of consent at the age of 16. In that list, you can find Massachusetts. Only eight states list the age of consent at 17. Finally, 11 states list the legal age of consent at 18. There are some exceptions to state laws. For example, in Massachusetts, the age of consent moves up to 18 years of age if the victim lived a “chaste life” and you induced them to have sex.

In some states, you could evade prosecution if you are close in age to the underage individual. However, this varies, and you could end up facing charges despite being close in age to the other party. Once again, only a sex crime lawyer can help you understand the situation.

Penalties for Violating the Age of Consent

Having sex with someone under the age of consent can result in criminal charges. Although these charges vary depending on the situation and your location (they vary by state), there are a few common charges. One of the most common charges is statutory rape. You might also know of these charge as corruption of a minor or unlawful carnal knowledge. Although the legal jargon varies, the act is the same – it involves sex with an underage individual.

If you are an adult and have sex with someone who is under the age of consent, you could face statutory rape charges. For these charges to apply, the underage individual needs to be over the age of puberty. There does not need to be any force for a statutory rape charge to apply. As long as the other party is underage and over puberty, willing sex counts as statutory rape.

Sexual contact of any type with a child who is under the age of puberty constitutes as child sexual abuse. In the eyes of the law, child sexual abuse is a very strict charge. It’s important to understand the definition of sexual contact because it includes more than just sex.

The penalties for statutory rape or child sexual abuse vary. However, statutory rape charges usually result in jail time between one year and 15 years. Additionally, there are thousands of dollars in fines. For less serious incidents, you could face a misdemeanor. However, statutory rape can be a felony. It depends on the circumstances of your situation.

Hiring a Sex Crime Lawyer

If you commit statutory rape, then you need a sex crime lawyer. The penalty for such a crime can be high, and you need legal representation to prevent severe consequences.