What is the Age of Consent in New York?

What is the "Age of Consent?"

For centuries, it was common for men to marry a much younger woman. After all, we’ve all heard about love stories where two people met, sometimes 5, 10, or even 20 years apart, fell in love, and lived happily ever after. In the 21st Century, if the younger person is 18 or older, it’s not illegal in any state, but when the younger person is under 18, the older partner may get into substantial legal trouble.

Age of Consent Laws in New York

All states have age-of-consent laws. The term “age of consent” refers to the age at which a person can legally consent to sex. While the age of consent laws vary from state to state, they are¬†generally 16, 17, or 18.

The New York age of consent is 17-years-old. What does that mean? It means that in New York, it’s illegal for someone age 18 or older to have sex with someone who is under the age of 17, even if it is “consensual sex.”

Those who break New York’s statutory rape law commit a felony and face a prison sentence.

Does NY Have "Close-in-Age-Exemptions" or a "Romeo and Juliet Law?"

Some states have a “close in age exemption” or a Romeo and Juliet law, and New York is one of those states.

Close-in-Age Exemptions DO NOT Apply When:

  • The minor is 15 or 16 and their sexual partner is less than four years older, the New York age of consent law does not apply.
  • Likewise, if the minor is under 15, the close-in-age exemption does not apply, and the adult commits a felony offense.

“What if I’m 21 or older?” In New York, it is against the law for someone age 21 or older to have sex with a minor under 17. If a 21-year-old engages in a criminal sexual act with a minor under 17, the adult can face criminal charges with a Class E felony, punishable by 3 to 4 years in prison.

If the adult is 18 or older and has sex with a minor under 15, they can face criminal charges with a Class D felony, punishable by up to 7 years in prison. If the adult is over 18 and the minor is under 13, it is a Class B felony, punishable by 10 to 25 years in prison.

Next: Do I Have to Give a Sample of My DNA?

Click here to learn more about sex offenses under New York Penal Law Article 130. To fight felony charges for violating the age of consent in New York, contact us today.

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