18 dating a 15
In South Carolina, there is a Romeo and Juliet exemption for consensual sex between a minor who is 14 or older and a defendant who is 18 years old or younger.For example, a 15-year-old who engages in consensual sex with a 17-year-old cannot be charged with statutory rape.Of course, rape that does involve force or an assault is illegal in South Carolina and prosecuted as forcible rape.Assaults of a sexual nature may also be charged under the state’s assault and battery or child enticement or molestation laws.But if Jen and Tony are and living in South Carolina, Tony need not fear criminal charges for having consensual sex with Jen.This is because South Carolina has a marital exemption to the state’s statutory rape laws.
Their incapacity is written into the statute—hence the term, “statutory” rape.
This offense is a felony, and a conviction can result in 25 years or more in prison without the possibility of parole. It also includes penetration, intercourse, oral sex, or anal sex between a 14- or 15-year-old minor, and a defendant who is in a position of authority or older than the minor (when the marital exemption, described below, does not apply). Code § 16-3-655 (2018).) Third degree criminal sexual conduct with a minor occurs when a defendant who is 18 years old or older commits or attempts to commit lewd acts on a minor under 16 years old.
This offense is a felony and can incur up to 20 years in prison. A lewd act includes sexual contact meant to arouse or gratify the parties’ sexual desires. Code § 16-3-655 (2018).) State law requires, in addition to the applicable fines and prison time, that people convicted of certain sexual crimes (including statutory rape) register as sex offenders for specified periods of time. Code § 23-3-430 (2018).) Defendants charged with statutory rape have the usual defenses available to all criminal defendants, such as “Someone else committed this crime,” or “The alleged conduct did not occur.” But, under South Carolina law, some other defenses can apply in statutory rape cases.
This is just one reason why the law is confusing and hard to follow.
Before you start having sex, it’s important you understand what giving (and getting) sexual consent means. According to the , it’s a criminal offence for any kind of sexual activity to take place between two people where one or both participants is under 16.
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Penalties depend on the age of the parties and the type of sexual contact that occurred, as described below.