In Ohio, the age of consent for sex is 16 years old. This means that, generally speaking, someone who is 16 can consent to sex with an older person, no matter what the age difference is between them. Sex with someone under the age of 16 in Ohio is presumptively statutory rape.
Ohio’s age of consent law currently only applies to heterosexual sexual encounters. That is because Ohio still has black-letter law that makes all homosexual conduct illegal, regardless of age. However, such laws have been rendered unconstitutional by the Supreme Court, so long as the parties are consenting adults acting only in private settings. Because of this, it is not clear what Ohio’s age of consent is for homosexual conduct, although it may be assumed that it is the same as the age for consent to heterosexual acts.
Like many other states, Ohio permits certain allowances in its age of consent law. If both parties are below the age of consent, and are close to the same age, they can sometimes avoid engaging in statutory rape by legally consent to have sex with each other. As a general matter, anyone between the ages of 13 and 16 can consent to have sex with someone who is under 18.
Age differences also impact the sentencing for statutory rape in Ohio. If there is an age difference of less than four years between the victim and the perpetrator, then the perpetrator may end up in prison for a total of six months. However, if the perpetrator is a decade or more than the victim, then the perpetrator could face a total of 20 years in prison.
Facing any jail time is scary, especially if that time is a decade or more. The best way to deal with being accused of statutory rape in Ohio is to contact an Ohio attorney right away. A local lawyer skilled in criminal defense can help you defend yourself against statutory rape claims and avoid receiving the maximum sentence.