Statutory rape refers to sexual intercourse with a minor, and it is a crime, even if the two willing participants are only a couple of years apart. This becomes a complicated issue, especially if someone a freshman or sophomore in college is dating his or her high school sweetheart who is not yet 18. However, even minors can face penalties if they have sex with another minor.
The penalties for a statutory rape conviction can be steep. However, the penalties differ based on the age of the underaged individual.
Statutes according to Virginia law
According to the Virginia Department of Health, there are two statutes related to having sexual relations with a minor. One has to do with having sex with a child aged 13 or 14. The second statute relates to sexual relations with someone 15, 16 or 17 years of age.
Penalties associated with each statute
The conviction and associated penalties vary based on the age of the accused and the age of the minor. Anyone 18 years of age or older who is sexually active with someone aged 15, 16 or 17 faces a Class one misdemeanor. The penalty is a fine of up to $2,500, jail time of up to 12 months or both.
If someone 18 years of age or older is sexually active with someone who is 13 or 14 years of age, the accused faces a Class 4 felony. According to Virginia Law, this penalty is imprisonment of between two and 10 years and a fine of up to $100,000.
If both participants are minors, the older one faces a Class 4 misdemeanor if the child is less than three years younger, which carries a penalty of a fine of up to $250. If the child is younger by three years or more, it is a Class 6 felony. This penalty is imprisonment or jail time, a fine up to $2,500 or both.