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Virginia’s age of consent


Many people in Virginia may not be aware of the laws in the state that govern when a person may legally agree to participate in sexual behavior. These laws are not always black-and-white insofar as there is not only age that applies in all cases. Instead, as Age of Consent explains, the age at which a person may consent to sexual activity depends in part on the age of the other person involved in the activity.

There are multiple offenses for sex crimes involving minors in Virginia. Some of these offenses are graded as misdemeanors and others are graded as felonies. As a general rule, a person in Virginia is not able to legally consent to sexual activity until they are a legal adult and have reached 18 years old. However, there are exceptions for people between 13 and 17 years old. This is because of a clause referred to as the Romeo and Juliet law or the close-in-age exemption.

For people who are between 13 and 15, they may be able to legally consent to sex with another person who is also between 13 and 15. The same holds true for people between 15 and 17 years of age. This does not, however, mean that a 13-year-old and a 17-year-old are legally allowed to have a consensual sexual relationship. 

If you would like to learn more about the different types of charges and penalties that may be associated with a statutory rape allegation, please feel free to visit the sexual crimes with minors page of our Virginia criminal defense website.

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