Teen Sex and the Romeo and Juliet Defense

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There are times when teenagers make decisions that could have an impact on the rest of their lives. In such instances, parents would want to make sure that their children are not unnecessarily and unreasonably sanctioned by law or by any other means. One particular area of concern is consensual sex by teens.

Sexual hormones are quite high and emotions are intense during the teenage years. When these are not kept in check, teens are bound to find themselves crossing the lines and, perhaps unknowingly, getting in trouble. The poor judgment could also be a result of the fact that the teenage brain is not yet fully developed. As a parent, you might then ask “Will my teenage child get arrested for having consensual sex in Arizona? How can the Romeo & Juliet Defense help?”

In Arizona, the law is clear on age of consent. Failure to follow the provisions stated in the law will lead to unfortunate consequences. If your child is convicted, he will:

  • Have a tarnished reputation,
  • Have difficulty in finding employment in the future, and
  • Risk imprisonment

Anybody who has sex with a minor faces the risk both of getting convicted of a sexual offense and having to register as a sex offender for all the rest of one’s life.


Age of Consent

In various US states, the law specifically states the age of consent. The term refers to the minimum age one must reach before he can legally consent to a romantic activity, such as sexual intercourse, oral sex, etc. In Arizona, that minimum age is 18.

It is not entirely hopeless if you find that your child who is below the age of consent has had consensual sex with a partner who is likewise still a teenager. You can ask your lawyer if you can invoke the Romeo and Juliet defense.


Arizona’s Romeo and Juliet Defense

Each state that implements the Romeo and Juliet defense has different legal provisions for the law. Arizona’s version states that the defense can be applied to a charge of sexual conduct with a minor if the victim is between 15 to 17 years old. The following additional requirements should be met:

  • The commission of the sexual act is consensual.
  • The defendant is below 19 years of age or is currently attending high school.
  • and the age gap between the defendant and the victim is less than 24 months.

If your child is 18 years old and the other party is 15 years old, more than 24 months apart, the Arizona Romeo and Juliet defense does not apply.

The Romeo and Juliet provision is usually the first recourse for those who find themselves in this predicament. Those who cannot be helped by this defense can make use of the Mistaken Identity Strategy.

Depending on the circumstances of your teenager’s case, your lawyer may be able to argue a Mistaken Identity defense. This defense strategy is used in cases when it can be shown that the victim lied about his or her age.

The defense can be strengthened further by showing the court that the defendant made attempts to know the true age of the accuser.

If the defendant can show that he/she checked the victim’s social media or some identification, or even contacted the victim’s friends to verify the victim’s age


Legal Assistance for Your Romeo and Juliet

Robert A. Dodell, Attorney At Law, can help you protect your teen’s rights. Robert A. Dodell is a veteran lawyer who has handles both juvenile and adult criminal cases in Arizona. You can check out the reviews to see how satisfied his clients are with the legal services that they received.

When your teenage child is facing any kind of legal trouble, you can expect that it is going to be a really difficult time for your child and the entire family. What you need is a legal professional who can assist your child. To learn more about sex crimes visit Robert A. Dodell Attorney At Law, for a free initial consultation.

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