Jul 19, 2023

Does Missouri have a Romeo and Juliet law?

Sex Crimes Articles

If you have teenagers in your family, you undoubtedly know your good parenting can only go so far. You must eventually give your kids freedom to make some mistakes that are part of the growing-up process. Hopefully, those mistakes do not violate any law.

It is not uncommon for teens to engage in sexual activity with other teens, of course. In fact, according to reporting from U.S. News and World Report, almost 40% of teens have sex before they reach the age of 18. Still, sexual contact with a minor is against the law in Missouri.

In Missouri, one must be at least 17 to consent to sexual intercourse. Therefore, any sexual activity with a person who is under 17 probably constitutes statutory rape in Missouri. While the law focuses on adults who have sex with minors, prosecutors may go after minors who are younger than 17.

Romeo and Juliet laws in Missouri

Many states have Romeo and Juliet laws that shield minors who have sex with minors from criminal prosecution. These laws keep teens who engage in sexual activity with each other from having criminal records. Unfortunately, Missouri does not have a Romeo and Juliet law.

Criminal exposure

If your son or daughter has intercourse with another teen, he or she may be vulnerable to prosecution. Whether your teen faces felony charges, though, likely depends on the ages of everyone involved. Generally, the younger the victim, the more serious the charges and harsher the penalties.

Even though things may seem bleak, there are probably ways for your teen to defend himself or herself against criminal charges. Ultimately, exploring these options as earlier as possible may help protect your teen’s future.

Consult with a Criminal Defense Attorney Today

If you are suspected of statutory rape in Missouri, it’s in your best interest to contact a criminal defense attorney to understand all your options and get ahead of this as quickly as possible.

Legal Resources

Statute 566.032