Understanding the Age of Sexual Consent in Indiana
When two people mutually agree to engage in sexual activity, that is considered to be a consensual activity. However, Indiana law requires more than just verbal consent when considering whether a certain sexual activity is legal. In particular, the age of sexual consent in Indiana is 16 years old. This means that no one under that age can legally consent to sexual activity or other sexual conduct, even if they explicitly and/or verbally agree to it.
If you’ve engaged in an activity where the age of sexual consent in Indiana is of concern, it’s best to contact a skilled criminal defense attorney, ideally one with experience handling Indiana sex crimes. To speak with one today, call the former deputy prosecutors at Keffer Hirschauer LLP at 317-857-0160 or complete our online contact form to schedule a free consultation. Our team has experience both prosecuting and defending those accused of sex crimes in Indiana and can offer unique insight into the approach the prosecution may take in the case against you.
Romeo and Juliet Law: Age of Sexual Consent in Indiana
In Indiana, the age of sexual consent is 16 years old. However, the law does contain some exceptions which allow younger people to provide consent in some situations. These exceptions are contained in the Indiana Romeo and Juliet laws located in Indiana Code 35-42-4-9(e), and were passed by the General Assembly to prevent high school students from being charged with a sex crime for participating in sexual activity with their peers. For example, prior to the passage of the Indiana Romeo and Juliet law, a high school junior who engaged in some sort of sexual activity with a high school freshman could have been accused of statutory rape, even if the act was completely consensual and the two were in an ongoing personal or romantic relationship. If the high school junior was found guilty, they could be charged with sexual misconduct with a minor, a Level 5 felony in Indiana, committed to a juvenile facility, and/or required to register as a sex offender.
Under the current Indiana Romeo and Juliet law, someone can have consensual sex with a 14- or 15-year-old if all of the following elements apply:
- The person is no more than 4 years older than the victim
- The two parties are in a dating or ongoing personal relationship
- The sexual act was not committed by using or threatening deadly force
- The sexual act was not committed while armed with a deadly weapon
- The sexual act didn’t result in serious bodily injury to the victim
- The sexual act was not committed as the result of drugging the other person without his or her knowledge or knowing the other person was drugged without their knowledge
- The sexual act was not committed by a person with substantial influence over the victim or in a position of authority over the victim
- The person’s criminal record does not contain another sex offense
- The person is not promoting prostitution
If the older person does not meet all of requirements listed above, then they could be charged with sexual misconduct with a minor in Indiana, a Level 5 felony punishable by up to six years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
Need to Speak with a Criminal Defense Attorney Today?
If you or a loved one is facing allegations that involve the age of sexual consent in Indiana, it’s vital that you speak with an experienced Indiana sex crimes lawyer as soon as possible. You may feel really overwhelmed right now, but it’s best to get started building your defense as early in the criminal process as possible.
To speak with one of our Indianapolis attorneys today, call 317-751-7186 or complete this online contact form to schedule a free consultation. Our Indianapolis criminal defense lawyers have handled dozens of cases just like this and are prepared to do whatever it takes to protect your reputation, minimize your penalties, or, if possible, have the charges against you dropped altogether.