If I’m 19 years old and I’m dating a girl who is 16, is it legal for me to have sex with her?

UPDATED: Jun 6, 2011

Advertiser Disclosure

It’s all about you. We want to help you make the right legal decisions.

We strive to help you make confident insurance and legal decisions. Finding trusted and reliable insurance quotes and legal advice should be easy. This doesn’t influence our content. Our opinions are our own.

UPDATED: Jun 6, 2011Fact Checked

Get Legal Help Today

Compare Quotes From Top Companies and Save

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

If I’m 19 years old and I’m dating a girl who is 16, is it legal for me to have sex with her?

By sex I mean sexual penetration. Is this legal under the state of NM? I’ve done a lot of research but different sites say different things about age differential and different ages of consent, etc. Can I legally do this or will I go to jail as a sex offender?

Asked on June 6, 2011 under Criminal Law, New Mexico


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

It appears that in New Mexico, as long as you are not in a position of authority over the girl (e.g. a teacher), that in your situation it would not be illegal. Note that some people do seem to read the relevant provision, which is criminal sexual contact in the fourth degree or criminal sexual penetration of the fourth degree, differently, as not requiring the element of authority; however, even those people seem to agree that it requires that the older party be both over 18 (which you are) and at least four years older than the younger party (which you do not seem to be.) As you note, there is some confusion or disagreement.

You should look at the NM penal code directly yourself to see if you feel this is appropriate and legal. Here are two useful links to get you started:



IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption