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Does Michigan have Romeo and Juliet laws?

On Behalf of | Nov 10, 2022 | White-collar Crime

The age of consent in Michigan is 16 years old, which means that it is illegal for an adult to engage in sexual relations with someone under that age. Even if they consent, it doesn’t matter. The age difference is great enough that this is still considered a crime under Michigan law.

However, there are some situations in which this can get to be a little complicated, especially when teenagers are dating. For example, if a 15-year-old and a 17-year-old are in high school together and they are dating, it is not illegal for them to have an intimate relationship. But if the 17-year-old then has a birthday and turns 18, they become a legal adult. This is when Romeo and Juliet laws come into effect.

Four years apart

Essentially, the law says that people can be a maximum of four years apart. If it’s more than that, then it is still a crime. But if they are within four years, then sexual contact itself is not criminal. In this example, the couple who was already together at 15 and 17 would be able to continue being together at 15 and 18.

One thing that is very important to note is that Michigan’s law only notes sexual contact. It does not state that sexual intercourse is not criminal. So there are still cases where people can be charged with crimes, even when they may believe they are protected by these laws.

For all of these reasons and more, it’s very important for those who have been accused of sex crimes to know exactly what criminal defense options they have. A conviction could put you on the sex offenders list and stay on your record for the rest of your life, so you definitely need to know what steps to take