What are the legal implications of an 18 year old dating a 17 year old?

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What are the legal implications of an 18 year old dating a 17 year old?

Is it legal for an 18 yeary old to be in a relationship with a 17 year old? I understand that one can legally date a 17 year old but could get accused of having sexual relations with a minor (even if the couple were just holding hands). I heard about “age gaps” in my state whereby someone can only be accused if 24 + years old with a 16 or less year old. Is this true? Also, if it is illegal, is there anything that could be filled out to prove that the person does plan on having sex with the person?

Asked on May 28, 2012 under Criminal Law, Florida

Answers:

Kevin Bessant / Law Office of Kevin Bessant & Associates

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

In most states, the age of "consent" is 16 years of age when the other person is at least 5 or more years older than the other person. Consent means that the minor has the requisite mental capacity to engage in sexual relations with another person based upon their own consent and willingness. Thus, although the person is still a minor, the law affords that person the ability to engage in sexual behavior without penalty of law to the other sexual partner. This is still a very murky area to engage in because there are many criminal laws which protect minors, even if 16 years or older, from certain sexual conduct, so it is best to understand your state perspective on this issue to avoid any criminal charges.


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