States have the ability to set their own age of consent. This is the age at which someone is deemed old enough and mature enough to consent to sexual activity. An older person who violates this could find themselves facing charges and having to register on the sex offenders’ list.
In California, the age of consent has simply been set at 18. This works well because this is also the age when someone becomes a legal adult.
This age is also very important to note for people who may have recently moved to California. Other states do you have lower ages that they have chosen, such as 16 in Alabama or 17 in Missouri. Do not assume that the age of consent is the same everywhere.
What if the younger person initiated the sexual contact?
Essentially, an age of consent was established to ensure that adults were not acting in a predatory manner toward minors. As a result, if someone is accused of having a sexual relationship with someone who is under that age, they may claim that the other person – the younger individual – was the one who initiated it. They’re not denying that the activity took place. But they’re saying that it wasn’t statutory rape because the younger person was the one who initiated the relationship and the older person wasn’t being predatory.
However, that doesn’t matter under California law. If the age of consent was violated, either person could have initiated the contact. It is up to adults to understand where this line has been set and to avoid situations that could cause complications.
That being said, those who are facing these types of accusations need to know about all of their criminal defense options. These types of accusations can have a major impact on your life.