Legal age for dating

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Statutory rape occurs when a person over the age of consent engages in sexual intercourse with someone under the statutory age of consent, also known as a minor. In most states, the age of consent has been arbitrarily deated by statute. However, this age of consent varies widely from state to state. Statutory rape is a strict liability crime, meaning that the consent of the younger person or mistake about their age is not a defense. Federal law makes it criminal to engage in a sexual act with another person who is between the age of 12 and 16 if they are at least four years younger than you.

Each state takes a different approach as the age of consent has ranged from 10 to Some states, such as California and New York, set an age at which all sexual intercourse is considered statutory rape. For example, a state might set the age of consent at In this hypothetical state, two seventeen-year-olds who had consensual sex could both theoretically be convicted of statutory rape.

Other states imply a different method which, like the federal statute, takes Legal age for dating the relative ages of both people. In these states, such as Texas, the age of consent is determined by age differentials between the two persons and limited by a minimum age. For example, a state might set a minimum age of 14 but limit consent to partners who are within 3 years of their age.

This would allow a sixteen-year-old to lawfully have sex with a fourteen-year-old, but make it criminal for an eighteen-year-old to have sex with that same fourteen-year-old. If you need a quick guide for each state, a chart is provided below. Be aware that the law may be more complex than the chart shows and that the information given is subject to change. You can refer to our reviews if you want to know what our clients have to say about us. Peter Clarke. While at LegalMatch, Peter used his expertise to cover a wide range of topics in criminal law, personal injury, constitutional law, and estate planning.

Peter is also an editor and writer, and you can find out more about him by checking out his Linkedin. Law Legal age for dating Disclaimer. Can't find your category?

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Legal age for dating

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Ages of consent in North America