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Can sex between teenagers lead to a criminal record?

On Behalf of | Aug 23, 2021 | Sexual assault |

Sex can be confusing enough for teenagers without having to think about the age of consent, your relative ages, and whether your partner is telling the truth about how old they are.

Michigan consent laws are not entirely clear-cut. Courts and legal teams continue to debate how to interpret them, so it is no surprise that teenagers can get in trouble because they did not understand the laws or because the other person lies about their age.

At what age can teenagers consent to sex?

Consensual sex between teenagers is legal in some cases and illegal in others. It depends on the respective ages of the two parties involved. Minors who are both 16,17 or 18 years of age can have consensual intercourse with each other without breaking the law. 

Anyone having sex with a person under the age of 16 could face prosecution and be put on the sex offender registry. If, however, the younger party is at least 13 years of age, and the more senior party is no more than four years older, they could appeal to the court to apply the “Romeo and Juliet” exception. They could still face punishment — but could avoid being put on the sex offenders registry if the court approved their request.

Can you still be charged if the other person lied about their age?

Some people are so keen to have their first sexual experience that they claim to be older than they are. While the older party could claim they acted in good faith, they still broke the law, and a court may still punish them.

If your child faces criminal charges for engaging in consensual sex with their boyfriend or girlfriend, it is crucial to get immediate help. A conviction and being placed on the sex offenders registry could harm them for years to come.