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Can a 20 year old face criminal charges for dating a 16 year old

Port Saint Lucie, FL |
Attorney answers 4


Just dating and not having sex is one thing. Having sex and then the relationship blows up so that the potential for statutory rape charges come to the forefront is another.

There is no way to know from what little you post, and because no one can see into the future about whether the relationship will remain on good terms, but I observe this -- the 20 year-old is really playing with fire (a firestorm really) by having sex with a 16 year-old because of the age of emanicipation and age of minority concerns. This is so no matter what the parents say now.

Good luck.

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I agree with Attorney Brinkmeier. I would like to add there are several factors:1)what your state considers the proper age for a female to give consent; 2) how your state defines improper sexual contact or assault (traditionally known as statutory rape). In my home state of NJ a disparity of more than 3 years can meet the legal definition of sexual assault. and a woman can give consent at 16 (but other factors come in). As Attorney Brinkmeier posted this is not the wisest choice for a romantic relationship. I believe your state permits a woman of 16 to marry with her parents consent.

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Mr. Sarno is licensed to practice law in NJ and NY. His response here is not legal advice and does not create an attorney/ client relationship. The response is in the form of legal education and is intended to provide general information about the matter in question. Many times the questioner may leave out details which would make the reply unsuitable. Mr. Sarno strongly advises the questioner to confer with an attorney in their own state to acquire more information.


In Florida, you can have sex with a 16 year old as long as she really is 16 and you are under 24 years old. If she's 15 and lying about being 16, you are in trouble. If you are just dating without sex or sexual contact or conduct, then there wouldn't be a problem no matter your ages.


In Florida, the age of legal consent is 16 years old. If a person is under 16 years old, they are not able to legally give consent to have any sexual contact.

In Florida, the ages of 16 and 17 also carry some legal restrictions. Florida Statute 794.05 describes "Unlawful sexual activity with certain minors" which indicates that it is a second degree felony for a person 24 years old or older to engage in sexual activity with a person who is 16 or 17 years old.

A minor can be "emancipated" having the disabilities of nonage removed under Florida Statute 743, including by getting married.

Florida Statute 794.021 makes it so that ignorance or belief as to victim's age no defense.

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