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What is the age of consent for young adults in Ohio?

by | Sep 29, 2021 | Sex Offenses

The teenage years for most young adults are a time of personal growth and some experimentation. Learning about their bodies and their sexuality can be an important part of maturation for many young adults. Many teens will have their first romantic and sexual encounters while still enrolled in high school. 

Still, becoming sexually active is a decision that comes with many potential consequences. Young women can become pregnant, even if they use birth control. This could lead the young men who cause these pregnancies to face legal consequences or financial responsibilities. They could also contract a sexually transmitted infection. 

Only those who truly understand the implications of physical intimacy can legally consent to it. When does a young adult or teenager become legally able to consent to sex under Ohio law?

Ohio has two separate rules for the age of consent

Two laws determine the age of consent for a young adult under state law. In general, Ohio recognizes 16 as the age when a teenager can consent to sexual activity with someone else. Anyone over the age of 18 who has sexual contact with someone who has not yet reached the age of consent could face statutory rape allegations as a result. 

However, Ohio does have a close-in-age provision in its statutory rape law. Those as young as 13 can consent to physical intimacy with another young adult who is not yet 18 years of age. Bigger age gaps and previous offenses can increase the charges and penalties someone faces for an age of consent violation. 

Learning about the laws in Ohio can help those accused of a statutory sexual offense.