In Alaska, the age of consent law is unique. Rather than focusing on the age of one of the parties, it places far more emphasis on the age difference between the individuals. However, the cutoff age for statutory rape is 16.
What Are Some Issues With Age of Consent in Alaska?
Generally, if the age difference between the parties is less than 3 years, there is no crime.
As a general matter, if both parties are over the age of 16, there is nothing to worry about. When one of the parties is below the age of 16, it becomes more complicated, and the age difference between the parties becomes vital.
For example, if an 18 year old has sex with a 15 year old, sexual abuse in the second degree has been committed, since the 15 year old is below the age of consent and there is a 3 year age difference between them. However, if the 18 year old had instead been 17, there would be no crime. Likewise, if a 14 year old has sex with a 17 year old, then a crime has been committed. However, had the 14 year old been 15, there would have been no criminal act.
In short, any two people who are over the age of 16 can consent to sex in Alaska, but if one of the partners is under 16, and there is at least a 3 year age difference between the partners, it is illegal for them to have sex.
Are There Any Exceptions to Age of Consent?
Not exactly. Other than the statutory language in Alaska, which provides for exceptions spelled out above, 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.
Should I Seek Legal Advice?
If you believe you may have violated Alaska'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.