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  • Writer's pictureBrad Keating

What Is the Legal Age of Consent in Ohio?

Updated: Nov 3, 2020

Generally, the age of consent is defined as the age when a person can - in the eyes of the law - legally consent to engage in any sexual activity. Every state has different rules, and the law can change based on various factors. If you plan to date or have sexual conduct with a minor person, it is important to know the age of consent in that state.


What's the Age of Consent in Ohio 2020?

In Ohio, the age-of-consent is 16 years old. The criminal law for Ohio does provide other exceptions and guidelines for those who have sex with a minor child.


Consenting Age in Ohio

What the Law Says

The law is quite clear, though it can be a little confusing. Generally, the law states that if you are 18 years old or older and engage in sexual conduct with someone who is less than 16 and older than 13, you are considered reckless. The person with whom you are having sex is not of consenting age. Therefore, you are in violation of the law in Ohio.


That means that you have had unlawful sexual conduct with someone who is not the appropriate age or older, which is 16 in this case. If you do choose to have sex with a minor, it is considered a fourth-degree felony. This applies whether the offender knows the person or not.


However, if you are four years old or less than the minor person, this is only a first-degree misdemeanor. Therefore, if you have sex with someone who is 15 years of age and you are 18 or 19, you are in violation of the consent age law. A first-degree misdemeanor can mean $1,000 in fines and six months in jail.


When the offender is more than 10 years older than the minor, this is considered a third-degree felony. Most people call this statutory rape. The minor might be willing to have sex with you, but any sexual conduct is considered illegal through the age consent laws in Ohio. Such a third-degree felony can mean anywhere from one to three years in jail, as well as fines of up to $10,000. When crimes happen of a sexual nature, you could be labeled a sex offender for the rest of your life. Please be aware of the laws in your area.


Can a 16-Year-Old Date a 20-Year-Old in Ohio?

According to Ohio family law, yes, a 16-year-old is considered old enough to make their own decisions. Therefore, they can choose to date someone who is older than them, regardless of the age difference. However, if you are 20 years old and have sex with someone younger than 16, this is considered statutory rape and can be punishable by law.


Can a 16-Year-Old Date a 21-Year-Old in Ohio?

Technically, yes, a 21-year-old can have sex with a 16-year-old person. However, consensual sex can still make you guilty if you force the person to perform a sexual act. This can mean talking them into it or taking it against their will. In this case, the 16-year-old is the victim and may choose to report the incident. In this case, the police department could charge you with a crime. If this happens, you may need a criminal defense attorney to help you reduce your risk of going to prison. Ultimately, it's unwise to date someone under the age of 18.


Can a 16-Year-Old Date an 18-Year-Old in Ohio?

Since the law states that the age of consent is 16, it is possible for an 18-year-old to date someone 16 or 17 years of age. This is not considered statutory rape. However, the lines can get blurred easily, so it might be wise for you to date someone your own age or over 18, even though it is legal.



Whether you are interested in the legal age to babysit in Ohio or other Ohio family laws, The Keating Firm LTD. can help you get the information you are looking for

Disclaimer: The details included in this blog is offered for educational purposes only, and should not be taken as lawful guidance in any way. No recipients of material from this blog, clients or otherwise, should or should not act on the basis of any material consisted in the blog without seeking the appropriate legal or other professional guidance on the particular facts and situations at issue from an attorney accredited in the recipient's state.

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