Although minors are often educated on how to respond to or report adults who touch them inappropriately, teens can also cross boundaries and touch other teens without proper consent. While some may write it off as mere “experimentation,” minors can still be criminally charged and treated as sexual predators within the Pennsylvania criminal justice system. If your teen has been charged with touching another teen without consent, you should be prepared for them to face possible criminal charges. Our Criminal Defense Team at the Lento Law Firm is experienced in navigating the intricacies of representing juvenile defendants and will work to obtain the best possible result for your family.
Consent Laws in Pennsylvania
In Pennsylvania, the age of sexual consent is 16 years or older, and any minor under the age of 16 cannot consent to sexual activity. For teens who are 16 years of age or older, the law allows them to consent to sexual activity but only with other teens who are between 16-17 years old.
The Romeo and Juliet Law
Although the state's laws on consent are stringent, certain exceptions may apply. Pennsylvania is one of the many states that apply a series of exceptions commonly referred to as the “Romeo And Juliet Law.” Although the law is a series of several statutes codified in various sections across the state's statutes, legal professionals may refer to these exceptions under this romanticized title.
Under this law, some age requirements will not be legally enforced if the couple is “close in age.” In Pennsylvania, teens can consent to sexual activity with other teens as long the age gap is a maximum of 4 years. In other words, a 13-year-old could consent to sexual activity with a 17-year-old.
What Happens if There Was No Consent
Teenagers should be properly educated on how to solicit and communicate consent. However, this may not always be the case, and your teen may find themselves in a situation where they did not ask for consent, or there was a miscommunication between the couple. If this is the case, they could face several criminal charges, such as Aggravated Indecent Assault, Statutory Sexual Assault, Institutional Sexual Assault, and Indecent Assault. Although the type of charges will depend on very specific facts and vary from case to case, they carry significant penalties, regardless of whether your teen is charged as a minor or as an adult.
Pennsylvania Juvenile Criminal Defense Attorneys
Sexual assault crimes are taken very seriously by the criminal justice system, especially when minors are involved. If your teen has been accused of touching another teenager without proper consent, they need the help of an experienced criminal defense attorney who is familiar with the intricacies of managing a juvenile defense. Contact our compassionate and diligent Criminal Defense Team at the Lento Law Firm for help today. Reach us anytime by calling (888) 535-3686 or by using our online contact form.