Can an 18 year old and 15 year old date?
2 attorney answers
Dating in this case is legal. Sex is not.
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. In New York, there is a partial Romeo and Juliet exemption for consensual sex between a minor who is 15 or 16 and someone who is younger than 21. There is also a partial exception for consensual sex between a minor who is 11, 12, 13, or 14 years old, and a defendant who is younger than 17. This is a partial exception because, while these parties are protected from felony prosecution, they may nonetheless be charged for sexual misconduct (a misdemeanor), which can incur a sentence of up to one year in jail.
Practically speaking, if the other mother's opposition turns into pressure on her daughter to claim statutory rape, your son would be in trouble.
Sexual contact with a person younger than 11, however, is always a felony, and a conviction can result in up to 25 years in prison, depending on the facts of the case.
● Dating: There is no state in the US with laws against dating. There are laws about touching and sex. What is involved in your "dating"? And what do the parents think about it? If sexual contact is involved in the dating relationship, the ages and age difference of the couple, the nature of the sexual contact, whether it was consensual or not, when it took place, and the state in which it took place would be important to know. Each particular state may or may not have specific laws that apply to the conduct. A parent CANNOT legally authorize sex with their underage child. If they do, they can go to prison as well as the child raper.
● Majority: The age of majority is when a person becomes an adult. In most states that is 18. Exceptions are Alabama & Nebraska (19), and District of Columbia & Mississippi (21). Until then they are a minor child, and their parents pretty much control their life, including whom they date. If the parents wish, they can report it to the police if someone interferes with their control. After reaching the age of majority, the new adult can date anyone, leave home against their parent's wishes, live where they want, associate with anybody they wish, pay their own bills and bail themselves out of jail.
● Sex and Dating a Minor: Dating a minor UNDER the age of consent -- without sexual contact -- is not illegal as long as the minor's parents/guardians are OK with it. Some state's laws allow minors who have reached the age of consent (16, 17, or 18 depending on which state) to legally engage in consensual sexual intercourse/contact with anyone the same age or older. And Romeo&Juliet exceptions might also apply. So dating -- with or without sexual contact -- a minor who is AT or OVER the age of consent is not illegal as long as the parents or guardians are OK with it. In either case, If they are not good with it, they could file police reports that result in charges of "Contributing to the Delinquency of a Minor", "Interference with Parental Control" or something else (even Kidnapping) that might be appropriate in that particular state. They can also get a No Contact/Restraining Order/Order of Protection against the person. For example, In Mississippi, the age of consent is 16, but the age of majority is 21. A 20-year-old minor can legally consent to sexual contact. So with their parents' permission, it is perfectly alright. If the parents don't agree, they should wait until they are 21 to keep their lover out of trouble.
● Side note to the older person: Children often have "Romantic Love and Sex Fantasies" about their dates that they tell their friends or write down in a diary or journal. That can cause HUGE problems when parents find out about it and go to the police. Innocent people are in prison because of stuff like this. Also, children often seek revenge when the adult drops them for another, and accuse them of rape.
● Sexting: Important Warning . . . If sexually suggestive photos of any person under 18 are taken and/or shared -- even if they are over the age of consent -- federal laws regarding production, distribution, and possession of Child Pornography come into play. There may be additional state laws that prohibit it, but the feds love to send child pornographers to prison.
● In general, to be completely legal, adults should not "date" minors.
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