Can I be charged as a sex offender and go to jail if the age gap is less than 3 years?

Asked 12 months ago - Corvallis, OR

I'm 18 and my boyfriend is sixteen, and we are thinking about becoming sexually active. I know that the age of consent is 18 in Oregon and that it is illegal until he reaches this age. However, I then researched and found the Oregon law 163.345 for cases "in which the victims lack of consent was due solely to incapacity to consent by reason of being less than a specified age, it is a defense that the actor was less than three years older than the victim at the time of the alleged offense." It says it is a defense, but does that completely protect me? Can I still get arrested, but not be prosecuted? Because it's technically still illegal, right? Is there any possible lasting negative ramifications or does that defense fully protect me?

Attorney answers (1)

  1. Jay Bodzin

    Contributor Level 20


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . The age difference of less than three years (so long as both parties are over age 15) is known as an 'affirmative defense,' which means that, if you can prove it's true, it's a defense to the charge. In theory you could still be arrested; but you can in theory be arrested at any time, really. As long as any sexual contact you have is truly consensual, it's fine in the eyes of the law. So practice enthusiastic consent (if you don't know what this means, look it up) and safe sex (this too), and you'll be just fine.

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    Jay Bodzin is licensed to practice law in the State of Oregon and... more

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