Washington state laws on dating a minor

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Minors are legally incapable of giving consent to having sex; so for example, if Jen, a 14 year old willingly has sex with Tony, her 19 year old boyfriend, Tony can be charged with rape, since Jen is not legally capable of giving consent in the first place.

(There are also “Romeo and Juliet” exceptions, discussed below, for parties who are close in age.) But if Jen and Tony are married and living in Washington, Tony need not fear criminal charges for having consensual sex with Jen.

If you are facing a statutory rape charge, consider consulting with an experienced criminal defense attorney who regularly practices in your area.

There may be defenses that apply to statutory rape charges, and a lawyer can evaluate the strength of the prosecution’s case against you and help develop any defenses that might apply to your case.

And it also covers a minor who is 14 or 15 who has sex or sexual contact with someone who four or fewer years older than that minor.

Washington has a marital exemption for statutory rape, which allows consensual sex between a married 16 or 17 year old and the adult spouse, even though their ages would prohibit it if they were not married.

You can read the statutory rape laws for yourself over at

However, if Tony were to rape Jen (force her to have sex against her will), he would have no protection under the law even if the two are married.But in Washington, even a reasonable mistake as to the victim's age will not be a defense to a charge of statutory rape.Named after Shakespeare’s young lovers, “Romeo and Juliet” exceptions are intended to prevent serious criminal charges against teenagers who engage in consensual sex with others close to their own age.First degree rape of a child occurs when there is sexual intercourse (sexual penetration, however slight, with an object or body part) between a minor who is 11 or younger, and a defendant who is at least two years older than the minor.This offense is a class A felony, which incurs a fine of up to ,000, up to life in prison, or both.

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