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However, many may be surprised to discover that the title of this particular play also has a separate and distinct meaning within the context of the law. Specifically, Romeo and Juliet laws are statutes that create close-in-age exemptions to various sex crime penalties. For instance, if a particular state did not have any form of a Romeo and Juliet law, and instead only had a strictly enforced age of consent of years-old, anyone having consensual sex with someone under the age of 16 could be found guilty of a sex crime — regardless of whether the accused was 17 or years-old.
The age of consent in New Jersey is 16 years old, meaning that anyone who is at least 16 years of age can dating laws in new jersey consent to sexual activity with another adult—no matter what age. A person who is at least 13 years old can consent to sexual intercourse with anyone who is at most four years older, allowing minors below the age of consent—but who are also close in age—to have consensual sex. Not to be confused with forcible rape, this means the adult had sexual relations with another person who is under the age of consent. Consent Laws in NJ The age of consent in New Jersey is 16 years old, meaning that anyone who is at least 16 years of age can legally consent to sexual activity with another adult—no matter what age. The following are the two types of statutory rape crimes in New Jersey: Sexual assault — When an adult has sexual contact with a minor who is under 16 years of age if the adult is at least four years older than the minor or when an adult is a relative or in a supervisory position e.
Statutory rape is a serious crime, and as such should reasonably be distinguished from a consensual sexual relationship between two teenagers. The charge of statutory rape typically applies to sex between an adult someone over age 18 and someone under the age of consent in New Jersey, The only requirement is that the accused had sexual relations with someone under the age of consent.
Nonetheless, it is prosecuted as a sexual assault crime, and penalties can include prison time and registration as a sex offender. A mistake or misrepresentation in age is not a valid defense.
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Young adults and their parents have good reason to be concerned if they think they may be subject to criminal charges, but there are some variables to age of consent rules. In the interest of recognizing that consensual sex between two teens should not be a crime, New Jersey has what is known as a Romeo and Juliet law, creating an exception to statutory rape for two young people who are close in age.
Basically, where one person is not more than four years older than the other, they may have consensual sex with a partner between 13 and 16 years old. The age of legal consent in New Jersey varies according to the circumstances, from as young as 13 if in a consensual relationship with someone no older than 17, to as old as 18 where engaged in sexual contact with a relative or other authority figure.
That said, because of the nature of the status crime, you can still have charges brought against you, and you could raise the close-in-age facts as a defense.
Bear in mind that age of consent laws vary ificantly from state to state. If you travel to, say, California, any act occurring within that state would be treated according to California law.
Some states, including California, have no Romeo and Juliet exception and set the age of consent at Should a statutory rape charge be brought against someone in your life, contact an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately. For more information on this area of law, see our overview of sex offenses. Understanding Oregon's Measure View More Criminal Defense Articles ».
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What is a Romeo and Juliet Law? The of statutory rape in New Jersey law break down as follows: 1. Aggravated sexual assault: sexual penetration with someone who is under the age of 13, or between the ages of 13 and 16 and the defendant is a relative or is in a supervisory, disciplinary or parental position 2.
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Sexual assault: sexual contact with someone under age 16 where the defendant is at least four years older, or between 16 and 18 and the defendant is a relative or is in a supervisory, disciplinary or parental position The age of legal consent in New Jersey varies according to the circumstances, from as young as 13 if in a consensual relationship with someone no older than 17, to as old as 18 where engaged in sexual contact with a relative or other authority figure.
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