In the District of Columbia, the age of consent for sex is 16 years old. Unlike some other states, the District of Columbia does not have a separate law for homosexual conduct. Furthermore, the law is written in gender-neutral language, so it appears to apply equally to heterosexual as well as homosexual conduct.
The District of Columbia, like many states, makes exceptions to its age of consent laws when the actors are close to the same age. Statutory rape only occurs in D.C. if there is more than a four-year difference between the victim and the perpetrator. Therefore, a person as young as 12 could have sex with a 15-year-old and not engage in statutory rape because the age difference between the two is less than four years.
Does District of Columbia Have Close-in-Age Exceptions?
District of Columbia does not have a close-in-age exemption that allows someone to be with a minor if they are over the age of consent, but close in age. This means that anyone who is over the age of consent and engages in sexual activity with a minor in the Dostrict of Columbia would be liable for prosecution including those who are only a few years older than the minor.
What Happens if I Violate the District of Columbia Age of Consent?
If you violate the age of consent laws in the District of Columbia and engage in sexual activity with a minor, you can be prosecuted under the District of Columbia sexual abuse laws and charged with various sexual crimes such as sexual assault and first degree rape even if the sexual activity was considered to be consensual.
What Does A Statutory Rape Accusation Mean In D.C.?
The punishments for violations of age of consent laws are quite harsh in D.C., and may include fines in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, along with life in prison. However, the District of Columbia does lessen the punishment if the defendant is in a serious relationship with the victim and the defendant is over the age of 18, but that sentence may still involve seven and a half years in prison.
Do I Need a Lawyer?
Being accused of sexual assault or a violation of the age of consent laws in DC is very serious and you may be prosecuted for the violation and could face prison time. Your best hope of avoiding a prison sentence for statutory rape is to contact a District of Columbia lawyer who is skilled in criminal defense. An experienced criminal defense attorney will be able to advise you of your rights, help you with a defense, and advise you as to what options may be open to you.