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Age of consent by state

States have their own laws related to when a minor can consent to sexual intercourse.
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Most states have laws that prohibit individuals under a certain age from being able to consent to sex. Learn about age of consent laws and what the specific rules are in your state.

Defining the age of consent

Many states have statutory rape laws prohibiting sexual conduct with a minor regardless of whether the minor consented.

Age of consent: the age at which a minor can voluntarily agree to sexual intercourse.

Most states set the age of consent at 16 years, but some states set it at 17 or 18 years of age. So, even though an individual who is under the age of consent is physically able to say “yes” or “no” to sexual conduct, the law does not recognize their consent. Sex with anyone younger than this age is classified as statutory rape.

Close-in-age provisions

Close-in-age provisions, also called “Romeo and Juliet laws” allow a person who is under the age of consent to legally consent to sex as long as the older person is only a few years older than they are. For instance, if the age of consent is 16, a close-in-age provision might allow someone who is 15 to legally consent to intercourse with someone who is the age of 16 or 17, but not to anyone older than that.

The table below lists states in which sex between two minors of similar age is not considered a crime. However, even if your state does not have a close-in-age provision, a judge may still take the age difference into consideration when sentencing.

Marriage

In many states, marriage overrides any age of consent law, and the younger person can consent to sexual contact with their spouse, and no one else.

These laws vary widely from state to state. Check your state’s legal code to find out what the laws apply to your jurisdiction, and confirm your interpretation of the law with an attorney.

Age of consent by state
Age of consentClose-in-age provision
Alabama

16

yes

Alaska

16

yes

Arizona

18

no

Arkansas

16

no

California

18

no

Colorado

17

yes

Connecticut

16

yes

District of Columbia

16

yes

Delaware

18

yes

Florida

18

yes

Georgia

16

yes

Hawaii

16

yes

Idaho

18

yes

Illinois

17

no

Indiana

16

no

Iowa

16

yes

Kansas

16

no

Kentucky

16

yes

Louisiana

17

yes

Maine

16

yes

Maryland

16

yes

Massachusetts

16

no

Michigan

16

no

Minnesota

16

yes

Mississippi

16

yes

Missouri

17

no

Montana

16

yes

Nebraska

17

no

Nevada

16

no

New Hampshire

16

yes

New Jersey

16

yes

New Mexico

17

yes

New York

17

no

North Carolina

16

yes

North Dakota

18

no

Ohio

16

no

Oklahoma

16

yes

Oregon

18

yes

Pennsylvania

16

yes

Rhode Island

16

no

South Carolina

16

no

South Dakota

16

no

Tennesse

18

yes

Texas

17

no

Utah

18

yes

Vermont

16

yes

Virginia

18

no

Washington

16

yes

West Virginia

16

yes

Wisconsin

18

no

Wyoming

18

yes

These laws only apply to male-female vaginal sex.

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