- Laws on Underage Dating
- About the Author
- Age Laws for Dating
- Florida Age of Consent & Statutory Rape Laws
Laws on Underage Dating
Punishments vary depending on the respective ages of both victim and offender. Separate crimes exist for sodomy with minors and sexual intercourse between a child under age 14 who's attacker was at least seven years older. California does not have a close-in-age exemption. Close in age exemptions , commonly known as "Romeo and Juliet laws", are put in place to prevent the prosecution of individuals who engage in consensual sexual activity when both participants are significantly close in age to each other, and one or both partners are below the age of consent.
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Because there is no such "Romeo and Juliet law" in California, it is possible for two individuals both under the age of 18 who willingly engage in intercourse to both be prosecuted for statutory rape , although this is rare. Similarly, no protections are reserved for sexual relations in which one participant is a 17 year old and the second is a 18 or 19 year old.
The Age of Consent ranges state-by-state from 16 to 18 years old across the United States. Click the map to view any state's age of consent laws. The age of consent in California is based on the following statutes from the California criminal code:.
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California has seven statutory sexual abuse charges on the books which are used to prosecute age of consent and child abuse related crimes within the state. One or more of these charges may be used to prosecute violations of the California Age of Consent, as statutory rape or the California equivalent of that charge. The severity of the criminal charge felony, misdemeanor, etc depends on the specifics of the acts committed and the relative ages of the perpetrator and victim.
Click any charge for more detailed information. Does the Punishment Fit the Crime? While many states have strict statutory rape laws on the books, prosecutors have been inconsistent in enforcing them, says Mark Chaffin, a researcher with the National Center on the Sexual Behavior of Youth.
Age Laws for Dating
One particularly shocking case drew international attention when year-old Georgia resident, Genarlow Wilson, was charged with aggravated child molestation and sentenced to 10 years in prison for having consensual oral sex with a year-old girl. Georgia law, which has since been changed to classify this act as a misdemeanor carrying a maximum penalty of one year in prison, also required Wilson to register as a sex offender when he was released.
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Are Statutory Rape Laws Outdated? Statutory rape laws are based on the premise that although young girls may want to have sex, they may not have enough experience or discernment to make a mature, informed decision.
The laws are designed to protect young people who have less information and power than their and-over counterparts. For example, minors may be less likely than adults to understand sexually transmitted diseases, have access to contraception, and have the resources to raise a child if they become pregnant. Most people believe there is a clear line between young people wanting to date and have sex, and adults molesting or assaulting a child.
And most would agree that the difference between intimacy and abuse should be reflected in the laws of each state. But not all parties agree on how strict the laws should be. Critics of strict statutory rape laws argue that while sexual relationships between teens relatively close in age may be morally questionable, prosecuting every case would unnecessarily clog up the justice system. But advocates of more diligent enforcement of statutory rape laws believe that the laws help combat the often underreported and hard-to-prove sexual abuse and rape of young girls.
Florida Age of Consent & Statutory Rape Laws
Others add that imprisoning men who are convicted of the crime could have a significant impact on teenage pregnancy and birth rates. Know the Laws in Your State Dating is a normal part of teenage life. But with the privilege of dating comes serious responsibilities. As a parent, you have to set boundaries and rules and take middle school and high school relationships seriously.
If you suspect that your child is sexually involved with someone under the age of 18, talk to your child about the potential consequences and seek the advice of an attorney who is familiar with the laws in your state. Start your recovery today by searching for treatment centers below.
My Son Is Dating a Minor: The following are just a few examples of Romeo and Juliet laws currently in place in the United States: In New Jersey, the age of consent is 16, but individuals who are at least 13 years of age can legally engage in sexual activities if their partner is less than 4 years older than them.
In the District of Columbia, it is illegal to engage in sexual intercourse with someone who is under the age of 16 the age of consent if the defendant is 4 or more years older than the victim. According to Louisiana law, it is a misdemeanor for someone aged 17 to 19 to have consensual sex with someone aged 15 to 17 if the difference between their ages is more than two years.