The age of consent is defined here in Indiana and in many places as the age at which an individual can legally and competently consent to sexual activity. The listed age here is 16 years old, but there are variables involved. Indiana, for example, has a “Romeo and Juliet law” that also allows individuals ages 14 and 15 years old to willingly engage in sexual activity as long as the other partner is no more than four years older.
Violating the age of consent
If the couple does not fall within legal guidelines, then the older partner could be charged even if the actions were consensual. Regardless of the dynamic between the two, the younger partner is always considered the victim.
Charges for violating the age of consent will vary upon the circumstances. This can be a relatively minor misdemeanor to statutory rape to a Level 1 Felony with a sentence of up to 40 years. Go here for more complete descriptions and potential charges, but measurable factors include:
Age difference: This can make a difference in the charges
Non-consensual touching: The act of touching another individual’s breast, buttocks, or genitals to arouse oneself is defined as sexual battery.
Non-consensual actions: Regardless of the age, the individual forcing themselves upon another by physical force, threat or coercion can be charged with rape and assault and will have to register as a sex offender.
Touching someone who is mentally disabled: This is also considered sexual battery, although charges can be more severe depending on the actions.
Defense against these charges
It is important to remember that those charged with violations of age of consent, sexual assault and rape charges have a right to defend themselves in a court of law. Misunderstandings, changing stories, prior history and issues of consent all factor into determining an outcome in court or negotiating a plea. The key is to take these charges seriously and contact an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately to defend oneself and their future.