Age of Consent in Kansas

Where You Need a Lawyer:

(This may not be the same place you live)

At No Cost! 

 What Is the Age of Consent for Sex in Kansas?

The age of consent for sex in Kansas is 16 years old. This is the minimum age at which an individual is considered legally old enough to consent to participation in sexual activity. This means that, under Kansas age of consent laws, individuals aged 16 and older are legally capable of giving consent to engage in sexual activities.

Does It Matter if They’re Close in Age?

Kansas law does not provide any close-in-age exemptions. If two individuals are close in age, sexual activity between them can still be considered illegal if one party is under the age of consent, which is 16 in Kansas.

For example, consider a situation where one individual, Alex, is 18 years old, and the other, Jamie, is 15. Although they are close in age, if they were to engage in sexual activity, Alex could potentially face legal repercussions for statutory rape, regardless of whether Jamie gave their consent. Because Jamie is under the age of 16, the legal age of consent in Kansas, their consent may not be considered valid under Kansas age of consent laws.

Statutory Rape

The legal age in Kansas with regard to statutory rape is 16 years. It is illegal for anyone, adult or minor, to engage in consensual sexual activities with a minor younger than 16. This law is known as statutory rape, although Kansas doesn’t use this term.

There are no close-in-age exemptions, and punishment varies depending on age. Statutory rape is defined as engaging in unlawful voluntary sexual relations with a child under the age of 14. If the person engages in sexual intercourse with a child older than 14 but less than 16 years old and the perpetrator is older than 18 at the time, they can face charges for unlawful voluntary sexual relations​.

Statutory rape in Kansas is considered a strict liability crime, meaning that the person committing the act can be held liable regardless of their intent or knowledge about the victim’s age. Therefore, no defenses will apply​.

For example, let’s consider a scenario where an 18-year-old, Alex, meets someone, Jamie, at a social event. Jamie tells Alex they are 17, but they are actually 15. After the event, if Alex and Jamie engage in sexual activity, Alex could potentially be charged with statutory rape, even though Alex believed Jamie was of legal age based on the information Jamie provided.

In the eyes of Kansas law, the fact that Jamie is under the age of 16 makes it illegal for them to engage in sexual activity with Alex, and Alex’s ignorance of Jamie’s true age is not considered a valid defense.

What Are the Penalties for Violating Age of Consent Laws in Kansas?

In Kansas, violations of age of consent laws can be prosecuted under two specific charges:

  • Criminal Sodomy: In Kansas, one of the definitions of Criminal Sodomy is engaging in a sexual act with a child who is 14 or 15 years old. This is considered a Severity Level 3 “person felony,” which is a serious classification in Kansas criminal law. If convicted, the offender can face up to 59 months in prison. This charge does not take into account whether the sexual activity was consensual or not. The key factor is the age of the minor involved.
  • Rape: Rape in Kansas is defined, among other things, as engaging in sexual intercourse with a child under 14 years of age, regardless of consent. This is classified as a Severity Level 1 “person felony,” which is among the most serious classifications under Kansas law. A conviction can lead to a prison sentence of 155 months.

The severity of the criminal charge (whether it’s a felony, misdemeanor, etc.) depends on the specifics of the acts committed and the relative ages of the perpetrator and victim.​

Convictions for sex crimes, such as those related to violating age of consent laws, carry with them severe repercussions that extend far beyond the initial sentence of imprisonment.

Sex Offender Registration

In Kansas, individuals convicted of certain sex crimes are required to register as sex offenders. This registration is a form of public notification meant to protect communities from potential risk.

  • Residential Restrictions: Registered sex offenders often face limitations on where they can live. For instance, many jurisdictions prohibit registered sex offenders from residing within a certain distance of schools, parks, daycares, and other places where children are present. These restrictions can make finding housing difficult.
  • Employment Consequences: Sex offender registration can also greatly impact an individual’s professional life. Certain jobs, particularly those involving children or vulnerable populations, may be completely off-limits. Furthermore, potential employers who conduct background checks will be made aware of the individual’s status as a registered sex offender, which can negatively influence hiring decisions.
  • Duration of Registration: The duration of the registration requirement can vary depending on the jurisdiction and the specific crime, but it can often last for many years, and in some cases, it may be a lifelong requirement.

Social Stigma

There is a considerable societal stigma attached to convictions for sex crimes. This stigma can lead to a variety of negative impacts on an individual’s life.

  • Interpersonal Relationships: The stigma associated with being a registered sex offender can strain or sever personal relationships. Friends and family may distance themselves, and forming new relationships can be challenging due to the public nature of the sex offender registry.
  • Employment Opportunities: Beyond the direct restrictions imposed by the law, the social stigma can also affect employment opportunities. Potential employers, co-workers, or clients who discover the conviction may be less willing to work with the individual, irrespective of their qualifications or job performance.
  • Overall Quality of Life: The cumulative effect of these challenges can significantly affect an individual’s overall quality of life. The stress of dealing with societal judgment, combined with the practical difficulties of finding housing and employment, can lead to feelings of isolation and other mental health challenges.

Are There Any Defenses to the Age of Consent Laws in Kansas?

In Kansas, there are very few defenses available for violations of the age of consent laws. This is largely due to the strict liability nature of these offenses, meaning that the person’s intent or knowledge about the victim’s age is irrelevant to their guilt. Here is one of the few potential defenses, although its applicability and effectiveness will vary greatly depending on the specifics of the situation:

  • Inaccuracy of the Accusation: This defense involves questioning the veracity of the claim itself. If the accused can provide evidence to show that no sexual activity took place or that the timeline of events is incorrect, this could potentially serve as a defense.

Consulting a Criminal Law Attorney?

Given the seriousness of these charges and the complexity of the laws, if you or someone else is facing charges related to the age of consent in Kansas, it would be highly advisable to consult with a qualified Kansas criminal lawyer.

LegalMatch is a service that can help you find a lawyer suited to your needs. A lawyer can provide you with personalized advice, help you understand your rights and possible defenses, and represent you in court if necessary.

Law Library Disclaimer


16 people have successfully posted their cases

Find a Lawyer