In Colorado, the age of consent for sexual activity is 17 years old. Like many other states, where a minor is concerned, the age difference between the two parties becomes a big focus.
Are There Any Exceptions?
Close-in-age: In Colorado, a person who is under 15 can legally consent to have sex with someone who is no more than 4 years older.
Additionally, a person under 17 can legally consent to sex with a person who is no more than 10 years older. This is quite a liberal age difference, particularly when compared to other states. Under this law, an individual who is 24 could legally have sex with a 15 year old, provided it is consensual.
Common Law marriage: Colorado is one of the few states that recognize Common Law marriage. When 2 people live together for a certain amount of time, and hold themselves out to the public to be married, they are treated as legally married in Colorado. The Colorado law on this subject does not state a minimum age for common law marriage, and a Colorado court recently held that a 15-year-old girl could legally enter a Common Law marriage. In such a situation, the age of consent laws would presumably not apply to her and her spouse, regardless of their respective ages.
Are There Any Defenses?
Not really. Colorado law does not appear to provide for any mistake of fact defense, making it a strict liability crime. Therefore, even if someone reasonably believes the person they are having sex with is the appropriate, legal age, or even if they were lied to about the age, they can be held criminally liable.
Should I Seek Legal Help?
If you believe you have violated Colorado's age of consent laws, you should seek the legal advice of a Colorado lawyer immediately. A local criminal defense lawyer will be best situated to advise you of your rights and present your options to you.