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Does Virginia have a Romeo and Juliette law?

On Behalf of | Nov 10, 2023 | Sex Offenses |

Wisevoter reported that the average age of consent in the United States ranges between 16 and 18. This is very important when it comes to criminal situations involving underage individuals. However, the law also recognizes that there are situations where those close in age may not be doing anything criminal by dating.

Romeo and Juliet laws recognize the need for certain protections when it comes to slight age differences in relationships of individuals just above and below the age of consent.

Virginia’s law

Virginia has an age differential provision, which is somewhat similar to the Romeo and Juliet laws in other states. The age differential provision allows for a more lenient approach when it comes to sexual relationships between young people, taking into account the age difference between them. This provision can provide legal protection in situations where one partner is slightly older than the other but still within a reasonable age range.

The law allows for an age difference of up to three years. If the age difference between the two individuals involved in the relationship is three years or less and they are both over the age of 15, the law does not consider it a criminal offense. This provision aims to prevent situations where teenagers close in age engaging in consensual sexual activity from facing criminal charges.

Important note about the provision

It is important to note that this provision does not mean that there is a free pass for any age difference. The age of consent and legal boundaries are still valid.

Virginia does have legal provisions that address age differences in romantic relationships. Understanding this law and respecting the age of consent guidelines is important in maintaining healthy and legal relationships.