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Age of Consent: Does it Need an Increase?

May 27th, 2014 at 7:06 am

age of consent, Chicago juvenile crime lawyer, Cook County criminal defense lawyer, statutory rapeLegal Inconsistencies

There is not a universal approach to the legal age of consent across the country. Rather, states take different approaches to declaring what the age of consent is within their borders and the enforcement of such according to law. Some suggest a national age of consent of 18 to clear up these inconsistencies. In general, the ages of consent range from 16 to 18 years of age. In Illinois, the age of consent is 17 years old.

Arguments against Young Age of Consent Laws

One of the main arguments against a younger age of consent is the disparity between a state saying a 16 or 17 year old can legally have sex with an adult, but are not considered adults in the eyes of the law in any other situation. Opponents of such young ages of consent say the states that have such laws place too much responsibility on young people and put them at a higher risk for negative consequences of being sexually active with adults.

Further, a considerable age difference between sexual partners can be emotionally damaging, especially when one of them is still a teenager. If a teen has a negative sexual experience with an adult, they may be more likely to have negative sexual experiences as adults and suffer from anxiety, depression, and contract STDs and STIs.

Statutory Rape

The crime of statutory rape occurs when an adult has sex with minor who is under the age of consent. While this crime is important to protect young people from predators and sexual abuse, it may also come into play in a less threatening situation. Consider a scenario where an 18-year-old high school student has sex with a 16-year-old high school student. Such activity is against the law, but it seems unjust to punish someone on the other side of the age of consent who is so close in age to the other as severely as an older offender. In cases such as these, some laws may reduce the punishment for violations of statutory rape, as the purpose behind the laws regarding age of consent and statutory rape are less relevant when applied to couples so close in age.

Criminal Defense Attorney

The crime of statutory rape is a serious one that deserves attention. If you or someone you know has been charged with a crime in the Chicago area, the criminal defense attorneys at the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley can advise you of your rights. Contact us today to schedule a consultation in our Rolling Meadows office.

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