Is There a Uniform Age of Consent for all 50 States in the United States?
No, there is not a uniform age of consent. The “Age of Consent” is the minimum age at which a person may consent to participation in sexual intercourse. A person younger than the legal age of consent cannot legally consent to sexual activity. The age of consent in the United States ranges from 16 to 18 years old depending on the state, meaning that a person 15 years of age or younger cannot legally consent to sexual contact. Each state enacts its owns laws which set the age of consent. If someone engages in sexual activity with a person younger than the age of consent in that state, the person could be charged with Statutory Rape or other offenses depending on the nature of the contact.
What follows is a map depicting the age of consent for all 50 states and a chart outlining the same.
*Note: This chart was current as of 2016, but could be subject to change over the years. Please do not rely on this chart to make any decisions that could impact your life. Check your own state’s age of consent laws to make sure you are fully informed, because ignorance of the law will not be a defense for you if charged with a child sexual offense.
United States Age of Consent Map
United States Age of Consent Chart
|STATE||LEGAL AGE OF CONSENT|
“Romeo and Juliet Law” in Texas | An Exception to the Age of Consent in Texas
As mentioned in the chart above, the age of consent in Texas is 17. Texas, as well as many other states, has created a so-called “Romeo and Juliet” law, an exception to the statutory rape and age of consent law. Romeo and Juliet laws are targeted toward teenagers and young adults who engage in sexual relations with someone under the age of consent (17 in Texas), but who are still close in age to the sexual partner. The Romeo and Juliet provision creates a close in age exemption and keeps these would-be offenders from being classified as sex offenders.
Under Texas law, if a person over the age of 17 has consensual sexual intercourse with someone under the age of 17, but there is also no more than a three-year age difference between the two partners, the Texas Romeo and Juliet law will not allow the older person to be charged with statutory rape or be classified as a sex offender.
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