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Sex with Minor Can Lead to Jail

Dear Dr. Dave and Dr. Dee,

My boyfriend and I have been together three years. I am 14 and my boyfriend is 16, and what if we had a baby? Would he go to jail? Is there was a way to prevent him from going to jail if he had to go?


Write me back soon

Dear Write me back soon,

Underage sex between two minors may not be a crime in some states. However, the age of 14 is under the age of consent in most states. Many states consider age 16 the age of consent, but it can vary anywhere from 14 to 18.

Basically, the age of consent is the age at which a person is considered competent to give consent to having sex. Age of consent is based on the premise that below a certain age, a person is being manipulated or coerced into having sex and thus not able to give permission.

In some states it is illegal for a person to have sex with anyone below a certain age unless it is their spouse. However, your boyfriend is not considered an adult and is only 2 years older than you, so he might not be charged depending on the state in which you reside. Or, your boyfriend could be charged with sexual misconduct, abuse, assault, or statutory rape with punishment ranging from a fine to jail time. See the link below for possible punishment for underage sex by state.

A report by Norman-Eady, Reinhart, and Martino gives this explanation:

"Most states do not refer specifically to statutory rape; instead they use designations such as sexual assault and sexual abuse to identify prohibited activity. Regardless of the designation, these crimes are based on the premise that until a person reaches a certain age, he is legally incapable of consenting to sexual intercourse. Thus, instead of including force as a criminal element, theses crimes make it illegal for anyone to engage in sexual intercourse with anyone below a certain age, other than his spouse."

Norman-Eady, et. al. provide statutory rape laws and penalties by state at this link:

If you are pregnant, let your parents know, discuss any concerns you have, and seek legal counsel if necessary.