In Hawaii, the legal age of consent to have sex is 16 years old. However, a close-in-age exception allows those 14 years or older to have sex with someone less than five years older. Therefore, a 14-year-old cannot have sex with a 19-year-old unless they are married.
Hawaii Age of Consent Lawyers
- What Is the Age of Consent?
- What Can Happen If Someone Underage Has Sex?
- Age of Consent Differences Between Males and Females
- What Is Statutory Rape?
- How Does Rape Differ from Statutory Rape?
- Can Anyone Press Charges?
- What If the Younger Person Lies About Their Age?
- What is Criminal Sexual Abuse?
- What Are the Criminal Penalties for Sexual Abuse Convictions?
- Do I Need a Lawyer?
What Is the Age of Consent?
Every state has regulations that dictate at what age an individual can legally consent to sex, called “age of consent” laws. If a person has sex with someone below the age of consent, they are guilty of statutory rape.
They have had sex with someone who, according to the law, could not possibly consent to the act. Since rape is sex without consent, they are guilty of a form of rape.
What Can Happen If Someone Underage Has Sex?
In Hawaii, it is illegal to have sex with a person under 14 under any circumstances.
Nevertheless, it is legal to have sex with a person between the ages of 14 and 16, provided that the older party is less than five years older than the minor.
If you have sex with someone under 14 years old or are older than the minor by five years or more, you may be guilty of sexual assault in the first degree. Sexual assault in the first degree is deemed a Class A felony, and the maximum prison sentence is 20 years.
Age of Consent Differences Between Males and Females
In many states, the age of consent for males and females is distinct. In some states, there is an exception to the age of consent law if the two partners are close to the same age (usually a two or 3-year difference), and in most states, penalties are more drastic if one of the partners is significantly older than the other. Note that if both partners are above the age of consent, any age difference between them is irrelevant.
Also, some states differentiate between sex between a male and a female and sex between 2 males or two females. In many states, until very recently, any homosexual sex was forbidden, regardless of age. In others, the age of consent for such acts is higher, but it is not altogether unlawful.
What Is Statutory Rape?
Statutory rape transpires when someone over the age of consent has sex with someone below the age of consent or a minor. The age of consent and the capability of parents to consent for their kids are matters that have been decided differently in many jurisdictions.
Even if a person under the age of consent says ‘yes’ and initiates sex with someone over the age of consent, the law says it is still statutory rape because that younger person has no lawful right to consent.
How Does Rape Differ from Statutory Rape?
Rape is when someone forces another individual to have sex against their will. Statutory rape is when the government has passed regulations saying that in certain circumstances, even if both individuals consent to the sex, it is still against the law.
Can Anyone Press Charges?
In some jurisdictions, anyone can press charges. If someone over the age of consent has sex with someone over the age of consent, the older individual can still go to jail even if the only individual pressing charges is the arresting officer.
What If the Younger Person Lies About Their Age?
Even if the younger individual lies about their age, the older individual is usually still charged because the older individual must determine the individual’s actual age and make sure their actions are legal.
What is Criminal Sexual Abuse?
Criminal sexual abuse is any sexual act perpetrated with the intent to do any of the following to another individual:
- Humiliate, or
The regulations regarding criminal sexual abuse vary by state and are heavily conditional on the definitions contained within the statutes of that state. State laws will often distinguish based on the age of the victim.
For example, if a child is sexually abused, the crime is commonly classified as child molestation. Yet, when an adult has been sexually abused, the law will commonly refer to the crime as either aggravated sexual abuse or rape.
Three common types of sexual abuse arise, including:
- Child sexual abuse;
- Rape; and
- Aggravated sexual abuse.
The majority of states classify child sexual abuse as dependent on the victim’s age. A person may be guilty of child sexual abuse or child molestation when they engage in sexual activity with a minor with the intent to arouse, appeal, or gratify their sexual desires.
An individual may be guilty of rape if they engage in the act of intercourse against the will of the victim through means involving:
- Intimidation; or
- Fear of severe bodily harm.
An individual may also commit the crime of statutory rape when they engage in sexual intercourse with a person under the age of 18, even if the victim gave consent. The statutory age requirement varies by state, usually between 16 to 18 years of age. Some states also have laws regarding the age of the perpetrator.
A person may be guilty of aggravated sexual abuse if the act involved any of the following exceptional circumstances:
- A weapon is used during the crime;
- The victim is over 60 years of age;
- The victim is physically or mentally incompetent and cannot consent, such as an individual with dementia;
- The offender behaves in a way meant to threaten or endanger the victim or any other individual if they do not comply; and
- Statutory rape of a family member.
It is necessary to note that policies will change per each state’s specific laws. If an individual is a victim or has been charged with a sexual abuse crime, it is paramount to contact a local lawyer immediately to determine the local laws.
What Are the Criminal Penalties for Sexual Abuse Convictions?
Laws regarding sexual abuse crimes deviate by state. Criminal penalties for these crimes may also vary by state.
An individual who is convicted of child sexual abuse or molestation may face the following results:
- A prison sentence;
- Registering as a sex offender;
- Losing the right to vote;
- Losing child custody;
- Paying a heavy criminal fine; or
- Attending required sex offender treatment programs.
If the crime is classified as a misdemeanor, an individual who is convicted may face:
- Up to one year in jail;
- Criminal fines of up to $1,000 in most states;
- Other punishments, such as community service; or
- Other punishments as prescribed in that specific state.
If the crime is classified as a felony, an individual who is convicted may face:
- Over a year in prison up to life in prison;
- Hefty criminal fines;
- Loss of privileges, including voting and gun ownership; or
- Other punishments as prescribed in that specific state.
Do I Need a Lawyer?
If you have been accused of statutory rape, you should immediately speak with a lawyer. An experienced Hawaiian 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.
It is essential to retain a criminal attorney as quickly as possible as Hawaii has stringent penalties for statutory rape.
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