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Generally speaking, Romeo and Juliet laws were developed to prevent or lessen prosecution of a young adult engaged in consensual sexual activity with a minor.
For example, some Romeo and Juliet laws would prevent an year-old from being prosecuted for statutory rape for having consensual sex with a year-old. The age at which a person can legally consent to sexual activity in Michigan is 16 years old. This means that anyone under the age of 16 does not have the legal capacity to consent to sexual activity.
The age of consent is different when there is an authority figure involved. In these cases, the age of consent is For example, if a teacher is involved in a sexual relationship with a student, the age of consent in this situation is 18, not This law says that if someone is under 16 years old and engages in sexual contact with someone four years older or less, it is not a crime.
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Therefore, an older participant is not guilty of criminal sexual conduct if the participant is no more than four years older than the younger participant, and the sexual act does not involve penetration. Unfortunately, there has been a recent example of the Romeo and Juliet law not being applicable.
In this case, two teenagers had a long at least two yearsconsensual dating and sexual relationship. The female was 18 and the male was The relationship lead to a pregnancy, which lead to criminal sexual conduct charges for the female.
Even though the two participants were less than five years apart in age, the Romeo and Juliet law did not apply because the relationship involved sexual penetration. The female was charged with and plead guilty to third degree criminal sexual conduct, a felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison.
If a law enforcement representative contacts you or your son or daughter asking for more information regarding a sexual relationship with a teenager, contact a Michigan Sex Crimes Lawyer with extensive experience and expertise in criminal sexual conduct cases immediately. Many times, detectives will come off as non-confrontational, even friendly, at first.
A good attorney can take over communications with law enforcement and advise you on further conversations with the detective with the goal of preventing charges from being filed. If you are dealing with this situation, the focused criminal defense attorneys at the Barone Defense Firm can help.
If you are a victim of sexual assault and need help, there are resources such as the National Sexual Assault Telephone Hotline. They can be reached at HOPE. Michigan Criminal Defense Law Blog.