In Alabama, the age of consent for sexual intercourse is 16. Generally, a person over the age of 16 can consent to sex with anyone else who is over the age of 16.
What Are Some Issues With Age of Consent in Alabama?
Age of consent is incredibly important in Alabama. An individual who is 19 years old or older has sexual contact with someone who is younger than 16 but older than 12 has committed sexual abuse. If a person over the age of 16 has sex with a person under that age, they have committed second-degree rape, provided they are more than two years older than their partner. The law is not clear as to what would happen if both partners are between the age of 12 and 16. However, it does say that a person under the age of 14 cannot be prosecuted as an adult. Moreover, having sex with a person under the age of 12 is rape in the first degree.
Are There Any Exceptions to Age of Consent?
No. In Alabama law, there are no recognized exceptions to age of consent.
Are There Any Defenses to Age of Consent?
Not really. This type of statutory rape is a strict liability offense, meaning that even if a defendant had a good faith belief or made an honest mistake as to an individual's age, they will still be criminally liable.
Homosexual Age of Consent in Alabama
In Alabama, there are laws on the books which make all homosexual intercourse, regardless of the age of the partners, illegal. However, the United States Supreme Court held in 2003 that state laws prohibiting consensual, private, homosexual conduct between adults are unconstitutional. With this law still on the books, it is not clear what the age of consent for homosexual conduct in Alabama is. However, it is probable that a state court would default to the age of consent for heterosexual conduct, assuming that the state legislature does not clarify the issue.
Should I Seek Legal Advice?
If you believe you may have violated Alabama's age of consent laws, you should seek legal advice immediately. Violating these laws carry severe criminal and civil penalties. A criminal defense lawyer will be able to advise you of your rights, and if necessary, zealously represent you in a court of law.