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Age of Consent in PA: Charges and Penalties

What is the legal age of consent in PA?

The legal age of consent in PA is 16 years of age. Therefore, sexual intercourse with anyone who is less than 16 years old is illegal under most circumstances. Penalties for violating this law can include decades of jail time and steep fines. However, if you are 18 years or older, you may only legally have sexual contact with someone else who is also 18 years or older.

Keep reading to learn more about Pennsylvania age of consent laws and how they may affect your rights.

The definition of the legal age of consent in PA

The age of consent in Pennsylvania is the point at which a person has reached an acceptable legal age to engage in sexual activity. Interestingly, the age of consent can vary depending on the ages of the participants involved. Therefore, it is important to understand how these laws change depending on your circumstances.

Legal age of consent in PA changes depending on the ages of the participants

Legal Age of Consent for Sex in PennsylvaniaThere is no single, blanket rule regarding the legal age of consent in PA. Violating the age of consent laws can result in charges for statutory rape. In some situations, a “close in age exemption” or “Romeo and Juliet law” may apply. Here is how the age of consent can change depending on the ages of the participants:

  1. Children under 13 years old cannot legally consent to sexual activity. Furthermore, there are no exceptions to this rule. This is commonly called a “statutory rape” law.
  2. Teens between 13-15 years old can only consent to sexual activity with others who are less than 4 years older than they are. If the other participant is 4 or more years older, the teen cannot legally give consent to the sexual behavior.
  3. Those who are 16 or 17 years old are able to consent to sexual activity. But, if the other participant is over the age of 18, that adult may still be charged with corruption of a minor.

Other sex-based offenses and their penalties

Statutory rape is not the only offense that can result from sexual behavior. Even if your conduct does not violate the rules outlined above, you may still receive other charges.

Interestingly, these laws may specifically involve the legal age of consent in PA, but some may not. When they do, we may call the law a “corruption of minors statute.” Examples of other charges may include:

Indecent Assault

Generally, Indecent Assault occurs when you engage in sexual conduct with another person who did not provide their consent. In addition, this could also occur if you force or threaten the other person to participate.

Further, Indecent Assault can occur when the other participant is unconscious or unaware of the sexual conduct. Someone may also be incapable of providing consent due to a mental disability.

Penalties for Indecent Assault can vary:

  1. Second degree misdemeanor – Up to 2 years in prison
  2. First degree misdemeanor – Up to 5 years in prison
  3. Third degree felony – Up to 7 years in prison with a fine up to $15,000.00

Aggravated Indecent Assault

Aggravated Indecent Assault is similar to Indecent Assault. However, this charge specifically includes the act of penetration. It may, or may not, involve the legal age of consent in PA. Punishment may include:

  1. Second degree felony – Up to 10 years in prison with a fine up to $25,000.00
  2. First degree felony – Up to 20 years in prison with a fine up to $25,000.00

Involuntary Deviate Sexual Intercourse

Involuntary Deviate Sexual Intercourse typically involves forcing someone to engage in sexual intercourse. Importantly, this can also include situations where the other participant is unaware that the intercourse is occurring. Penalties include:

  1. First degree felony – Up to 20 years in prison with a fine up to $25,000.00

Statutory Sexual Assault

Statutory Sexual Assault elements are complicated. As a result, it becomes highly important to understand how the age of consent in PA impacts the charges that may result. For example, you can be guilty of a second degree felony if you and the other participant are not married, they are under 16 years old, and:

  1. You are between 4 and 7 years older than the other participant; or
  2. You are between 8 and 10 years older.

The charge becomes a first degree felony if you are 11 or more years older than the other person and you are not married.

Institutional Sexual Assault

Pennsylvania laws regarding Institutional Sexual Assault recognize that certain imbalances of power can make consent legally impossible. Here, rules surrounding the age of consent in PA do not matter. Therefore, you can be convicted of this crime even if you and the other participant are of the same exact age and are both adults.

If you engage in sexual behavior with someone who receives services from certain entities, and you are an employee or agent of that entity, you can be convicted. These types of entities include:

  1. Schools (this can include both teachers and coaches);
  2. State or county jail facilities;
  3. Personal care facilities or group homes; and
  4. Certain licensed residential facilities serving children.

Kitay Law Offices can help if you have been accused of violating the age of consent

Everybody is entitled to a legal defense when they are charged with a crime. If you have been charged with a sex-based offense, we can help. Contact Kitay Law Offices online or by calling 888-KITAYLAW today.

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