Dating age laws in massachusetts

This scenario is not a hypothetical: There are no exceptions to the child rape law for people close in age who are dating. Paul School rape case because New Hampshire makes statutory rape a misdemeanor when the two individuals are close in age.

Massachusetts Court Rules 16-Year-Olds Can Have Sex Even If Parents Disapprove

There is no such provision in Massachusetts: Many of my clients are unaware that a mistake as to the age of their partner is not a defense. A person convicted of rape will be required to register as a sex offender. In the juvenile court a judge has the discretion to waive the registration requirement, but if the accused is 18 or over and therefore not a juvenile he must register by law no matter what the circumstances behind the conviction might be.


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A judge can only waive the registration requirement for someone 18 or older if the conviction is for indecent assault and battery over Indecent assault and battery under 14 requires registration just like rape. The other area where confusion lies among my clients is what constitutes consent.

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This was the issue in the St. Paul School rape trial: Massachusetts law, like New Hampshire law, does not require actual physical force or threat of bodily harm for a rape conviction. Another area of misunderstanding among my clients is that a drunk or high person who otherwise seems interested in having sex may be unable to consent due to their intoxication.

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It is also rape if the victim is unconscious, asleep, or otherwise helpless and therefore incapable of consenting to sex. This only applies to heterosexual conduct. Massachusetts currently has no law which addresses the age of consent for homosexual conduct. Under Massachusetts state laws, the standard for the age of consent is even higher when one partner maintains a position of power over the other partner, such as an employer, a teacher, or a member of the clergy.

In such cases the age of consent may be 18 and in some instances 21 years old.

Statutory Rape

Persons must be at least 18 years old to legally marry in the state of Massachusetts. Unlike some other states, parental permission is not considered to be sufficient to allow persons to marry who are under 18 years old.


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A court order must be obtained from a district court where the minor resides before the marriage documents can be filed. The law dictates that an individual under the age of 16 is incapable of consenting to sexual intercourse, and therefore, the law assumes that even if the minor willingly engaged in sexual intercourse, the sex is not consensual.

Statutory rape differs from the crime of forcible rape in that force or threat of force need not be present. This distinction characterizes statutory rape as a strict liability crime, and mistake as to age or identity of the victim is not available as a defense. In the event you are facing a criminal charge of statutory rape, please do not hesitate to contact an experienced Massachusetts sex crimes defense attorney as soon as possible.

Massachusetts Court Rules Year-Olds Can Have Sex Even If Parents Disapprove

In certain circumstances, early intervention by a lawyer may be hugely beneficial on the outcome of a case. The crime of statutory rape is defined by Massachusetts General Laws c. The law stipulates that the crime is punishable by imprisonment for life or any term of years in either the state prison or house of correction. Any second or subsequent offense of statutory rape shall result in a mandatory sentence of 5 years upon conviction.

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