What Is the Age of Consent in Missouri?

Teenagers and young adults need to be careful about who they engage in sexual activity with. Even if both partners nominally consent, Missouri law prohibits all sexual activity involving people below a certain age and bans sex between teens and partners above a certain age. Violating these laws can have severe consequences, including jail time, fines, and possibly having to register as a sex offender.

If you face sex crime charges related to violating Missouri’s age of consent laws, an experienced and knowledgeable attorney can help you pursue the best possible outcome in your situation.

Missouri’s Age of Consent Laws

The age of consent refers to the age at which state law assumes someone can make informed consent regarding sexual acts. In general, the age of consent in Missouri is 17. However, it’s essential to know the details of Missouri’s age of consent laws to avoid potential legal trouble. Here are the key facts to know:

  • Age 13 and Younger – Children 13 and younger cannot legally consent to sex with anyone. If an adult engages in sexual activity with a child under 14, they commit statutory rape.
  • Ages 14, 15, and 16 – Teens who are 14 to 16 years old can consent to sex, but only if their partner is less than four years older.
  • Age 17 and Older – Once someone turns 17, they can consent to sex with anyone who is 14 or older.

Penalties for Violating Missouri’s Age of Consent Laws

The penalties for breaking Missouri’s age of consent laws are often harsh, though they depend on the age of the parties involved and other factors. For example, fourth-degree child molestation (sexual contact between someone 16 or younger and a partner who is over four years older than them) is a class E felony and carries up to four years in prison. On the other hand, first-degree statutory rape (sex between an adult and someone younger than 14) is a class A felony and could potentially lead to a life sentence.

Because the penalties for these offenses are so severe, it’s critical for anyone facing these charges to contact a knowledgeable sex crimes defense lawyer immediately to discuss their legal options.

Accused of Breaking Missouri’s Age of Consent Laws? The O’Rourke Law Firm LLC Can Help

The team at The O’Rourke Law Firm LLC understands the high stakes in cases involving alleged violations of Missouri’s age of consent laws. We can help you face these charges and prepare a robust defense on your behalf. We’ll examine the case against you, look for weaknesses in the prosecution’s argument, challenge any evidence obtained illegally, and assist you in plea negotiations with prosecutors. If your case goes to trial, we will argue in your defense and pursue the most favorable outcome.

Don’t let sex crime charges in Missouri ruin your life and reputation. Contact The O’Rourke Law Firm today for a confidential consultation to discuss your legal rights and options.

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