What is a Romeo and Juliet Law?

What is a Romeo
May 06 2022
Ryan Garvey Attorneys

If you have teenagers in your family, you may be dreading puberty. After all, according to Psychology Today, the emotional changes that come with puberty can be overwhelming for young teens to manage. Furthermore, many young adults have their first sexual experiences shortly after going through puberty.

As a caring parent, you probably want your children to make good decisions about when, where and how they choose to have sexual intercourse. Still, because of Arizona’s statutory rape law, you may wonder if your kids can face legal consequences for having sex.

Statutory rape

Like in other states, Arizona law prohibits individuals from having sexual contact with minors. If an adult has intercourse with someone under the age of 18, he or she may face criminal prosecution. After all, in the Grand Canyon State, the age of consult for sexual contact is 18.

Romeo and Juliet laws

While all states outlaw sexual contact with minors, some have Romeo and Juliet laws that shield teens from prosecution. Arizona is one of these states, as its Romeo and Juliet law is a defense to statutory rape charges.

Because of the Romeo and Juliet defense, prosecutors typically do not file criminal charges against close-in-age minors who have sexual contact with each other. For the law to apply, though, both minors must be over the age of 15. They also must be closer than two years in age to one another.

Ultimately, while it certainly makes sense to teach your children about the dangers of having sexual intercourse at a young age, Arizona’s Romeo and Juliet law probably means you do not have to worry about them facing criminal consequences.

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