Is a minor legally allowed to date an adult, if they do not have sex?

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Is a minor legally allowed to date an adult, if they do not have sex?

Can a 16 year-old legally be allowed to date someone who just turned 20 if they do not have sex?

Asked on November 30, 2010 under Criminal Law, California

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Technically, no it is not.  But you are treading on thin ice here.  It would be so easy to step over the line.  Even just once and the crime of "unlawful sexual intercourse" (statutory rape) has been committed.  In CA the age of consent is 18.  This means that is illegal for anyone to engage in sexual intercourse with a minor (someone under the age of 18), unless they are that person's spouse.  CA employs a "tiered" system; the greater the difference in age, the greater the penalty. If the person engaging in sex with a minor is less than 3 years than the minor, then they are guilty of a misdemeanor.  However, if they are more than 3 years older than the minor (your situation) then they are guilty of a felony.  And a felony carries up to a year or more in jail.

Even if you don't have sex, if someone alleges that you have, you will be in the position of having to defend against the accusation.  Not something that you want to have to do.  Perhaps, its best to wait until you are a little older to date someone who is 20.


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