Until they are emancipated or turn 18, juveniles normally will be treated as such in criminal cases , including age and status offenses. Take, for example, the widely publicized case of Marcus Dwayne Dixon, an year-old high school honor student and star football player who had sex with a year-old female classmate. As a parent, you have to set boundaries and rules and take middle school and high school relationships seriously. Instead, it varies depending on a few factors, such as the age of both parties, and the age difference, if any, between them. But not all parties agree on how strict the laws should be. Parents, particularly those with teenage daughters, certainly have cause for concern. The age of consent refers to the age in which a person is capable of consenting to sexual intercourse with another. Romeo and Juliet Make a Comeback Statutory rape is defined by the FBI as non-forcible sexual intercourse with a person who is younger than the statutory age of consent. For the most part, there is no single age at which a person can consent to sexual activity. The statutory rape laws vary greatly from state to state, with more than half of the states setting the legal age of consent at 16 other states range from 14 to However, such laws, as applied to consenting adults in private situations, have been declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court. The purpose behind most statutory rape laws is to punish grown adults who take sexual advantage of a minor.
A person between the ages of 13 and 15 can consent to have sex with someone who is up to 3 years older than them, but a person between the ages of 15 and 17 may consent to sex only if the other person is 2 years older or less. Instead, it varies depending on a few factors, such as the age of both parties, and the age difference, if any, between them. Parents, particularly those with teenage daughters, certainly have cause for concern. Research shows that teenage girls tend to have their first sexual experience with male partners who are three or more years older. If you're a minor who needs to know more information about how the legal ages laws impacts your life, then you should contact an experienced attorney who can help you understand your rights or can assist with the emancipation process. Today, most laws are gender neutral, and a number of women in authority positions such as Mary Kay Letourneau, Debra Lafave, Pamela Rogers Turner, and Pamela Smart have been prosecuted for engaging in sexual relationships with younger males. 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. However, such laws, as applied to consenting adults in private situations, have been declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court. Are Statutory Rape Laws Outdated? The following are just a few examples of Romeo and Juliet laws currently in place in the United States: He walked out of prison on May 3, , at age 19, a free man. However, there are still restrictions in some states about the type of sexual activity that is permissible, such as oral sex and sodomy, as well as restrictions on relationships involving a minor and a person of authority, including teachers, coaches, or tutors. Generally, the differences in age laws reflect varying community and societal values regarding a minor's level of responsibility and decision-making. Take, for example, the widely publicized case of Marcus Dwayne Dixon, an year-old high school honor student and star football player who had sex with a year-old female classmate. 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. If the victim is under the age of consent, then it will be legally impossible for the victim to consent to sexual intercourse whatsoever. As a criminal lawyer , she can also help you file the appropriate court papers and represent you in your legal matters. California law declares it a misdemeanor to have sex with someone younger than 18 if the offender is less than three years older; someone more than three years older could be charged with a felony. The medical treatment includes care for pregnancy and childbirth, as well as care for sexually transmitted infections; there are special rules regarding abortion and sterilization. All states have special provisions if any physical force was used or serious physical injury resulted. In regards to the age difference, Louisiana is unique because it allows a larger age gap between younger minors than older minors. Legal Responsibilities of Minors and Parents There is a legal process by which a minor can become an adult in the eyes of the law, referred to as the emancipation of a minor. 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. While Louisiana sets the standard age of majority at 18, emancipation can allow for a minor to be responsible for his or her own wellbeing and make all of his or her own decisions regarding school, healthcare, and other matters. Search for a Local Attorney Contact a qualified attorney. Only 12 states set a specific age ranging from 16 to 18 , while in the majority of states, the age of consent depends on multiple factors, including the ages of each partner and the number of years between them.
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