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What is the Legal Age of Consent in Louisiana?

what is the legal age of consent in louisiana

Did you know that the top criminal charge among the over 13,000 sex offenders registered in the state of Louisiana is the carnal knowledge of a juvenile? Carnal knowledge of a juvenile may be more commonly known as statutory rape, which occurs when an adult engages in sexual activity with someone below the legal age of consent. However, this begs the question: at what age can someone legally engage in consensual sexual activity with an adult? As a seasoned Bossier sex crimes attorney, Michael J. Vergis has handled his fair share of cases involving statutory rape. For more information about Attorney at Law Michael J. Vergis and how he can help if you’ve been convicted of a sexual criminal offense in Louisiana, call 318-618-8129 today.

Age of Consent Louisiana

The legal age of consent in the state of Louisiana is 17 years old. Louisiana is actually only one of eight U.S. states whose age of consent is 17. In 11 states, the age of consent is 18 years old. In most states, 31 to be exact, the age of consent is 16, and in the remaining states, the legal age of consent is 18. 

Does Louisiana Have Romeo and Juliet Laws?

No, Louisiana does not have Romeo and Juliet laws. Romeo and Juliet laws are regulations that allow an exception for those who engage in sexual intercourse with someone who is below the age of consent but is still very close in age. A close in age exception basically protects teenagers who engage in consensual sexual intercourse when their ages are significantly close and one or both partners are under the age of consent. The typical age difference listed in most close in age exemption laws is about four years. 

What is Statutory Rape?

Statutory rape is when someone engages in sexual activity with someone under the legal age of consent Louisiana. Statutory rape is also called felony carnal knowledge of a juvenile. It doesn’t matter if the minor allegedly agreed to the sexual conduct. The law believes that if they do not meet the legal age of consent, they are too naive to fully understand the severity and importance of sexual relations. Therefore, minors cannot legally consent to sexual activity.

Types of Child Sexual Abuse in Louisiana

In addition to carnal knowledge of a juvenile, Louisiana has a variety of child sexual assault and sexual battery laws. We’ll cover each of them below:

Felony Carnal Knowledge of a Juvenile

Adults above 17 years of age who engage in oral, anal, or vaginal sexual penetration with a person between the ages of 13 and 17 are guilty of carnal knowledge of a juvenile. If the suspect is only two to four years older than the victim, this is considered a misdemeanor of carnal knowledge. However, if the suspect is more than four years older than the victim, it would be considered a felony conviction. So, for example, a 30-year-old who has sexual intercourse with 15 year old would suffer significantly harsher carnal knowledge punishments compared to an 18-year-old who has sexual intercourse with a 15-year-old. The age difference certainly matters when it comes to child sexual abuse punishments.

Indecent Behavior With a Juvenile

An adult who commits a “lewd and lascivious act” with someone under the legal age of consent Louisiana will face an Indecent Behavior with a Juvenile charge. Louisiana law doesn’t specifically define this sexual act, but many courts have interpreted it as sexual touching and/or other displays in front of a child. If the child involved is younger than 13 and the adult is older than 17, the adult will face severe punishments.

First Degree Rape

First-degree rape is very similar to statutory rape (or felony carnal knowledge of a juvenile) because it involves oral, anal, or vaginal sexual intercourse with a child. The difference with this charge is that the victim must have been under the age of 13. Suspects charged with first-degree rape face much more severe charges than suspects charged with felony carnal knowledge of a juvenile.

Sexual Battery

A person may receive a sexual battery charge in Louisiana by sexually touching a victim under the age of consent or forcing a victim to sexually touch them. Similar to first-degree rape, suspects over 17 years of age who face a sexual battery charge face more severe charges if the victim is under 13 years of age. If the victim is over 13 years of age, suspects may face less severe charges.

Child Enticement

An adult who invites or lures a child to have sexual contact with them via the internet or social media will face child enticement charges. Even if no sexual conduct happens, a suspect can still face this charge in Louisiana.

Aggravated Incest

Aggravated incest is when a suspect participates in any kind of sexual activity with a relative who is under the age of consent Louisiana. Relatives include both biological or stepparents, brothers, or sisters as well as nephews, nieces, cousins, grandchildren, etc. 

Molestation of a Juvenile

A suspect can face this charge when they sexually touch or commit any kind of sexual act upon a juvenile that’s meant to arouse either party involved. There must be an age difference of at least two years between the victim and the suspect. 

Oral Sexual Battery

Oral sexual battery is when a suspect touches an underage victim’s genitals with their mouth or tongue or the suspect forces the underage victim to perform the same sexual activity on them. In order for a suspect to receive this charge, the victim must be at least 15 years of age and at least three years younger than the suspect. 

Penalties for Violating Age of Consent in Louisiana

A suspect can face a variety of penalties for the sexual assault of an underage victim in Louisiana.

  • Felony Carnal Knowledge of a Juvenile. A suspect will face a fine of up to $5,000 and/or a prison sentence of up to 10 years, with or without hard labor.
  • Misdemeanor Carnal Knowledge of a Juvenile. A suspect will face a fine of up to $1,000 and/or a prison sentence of up to 6 months.
  • Indecent Behavior With a Juvenile. A suspect will endure two to 25 years in jail with hard labor.
  • First Degree Rape. A suspect will either face the death penalty or life in prison.
  • Sexual Battery. A suspect will face up to 10 years behind bars with or without hard labor. Additionally, they will never receive probation or parole. For second-degree sexual battery, a suspect will face up to 15 years behind bars with or without hard labor. They also won’t receive probation or parole.
  • Child Enticement. If the victim was between the ages of 13 and 17, the suspect will face a fine of up to $10,000 and/or 5 to 10 years in prison with hard labor. Additionally, the suspect won’t receive parole or probation. However, if the victim was under 13 years of age, the suspect will face a fine of up to $10,000 and/or 10 to 20 years in prison with hard labor. They also will not be eligible to receive probation or parole.
  • Aggravated Incest. A suspect will spend 25 to 99 years behind bars with hard labor.
  • Molestation of a Juvenile. A suspect will face a fine of up to $5,000 and/or one to 10 years in prison with or without hard labor. If the suspect was a parental figure or someone who regularly supervised the juvenile, they will face a fine of up to $10,000 and/or one to 20 years in prison with or without hard labor.
  • Oral Sexual Battery. A suspect will face up to 10 years behind bars with or without hard labor. The suspect also won’t receive probation or parole.

Sex Offender Registration in Louisiana

Those convicted of felony carnal knowledge of a juvenile, first-degree rape, or sexual battery must register as a sex offenders, according to Louisiana law. Sex offenders convicted of the aforementioned sexual offenses must include their name, home address, employment information, fingerprints, DNA samples, and pictures of themselves when they register. Lastly, sex offenders must notify all nearby families, companies, and businesses of their conviction and registration. Also, keep in mind that sexual offenses are ineligible for expungement in Louisiana.

Call Attorney at Law Michael J. Vergis Today

If you or someone you love engaged in consensual sexual intercourse with a victim under the age of consent in Louisiana, they could face major consequences. Bossier City criminal defense attorney Michael J. Vergis has extensive knowledge of consent laws in Louisiana. Additionally, he has defended numerous suspects facing criminal charges for sexual intercourse with an underage victim. Call 318-618-8129 to schedule a free consultation with a top Bossier defense lawyer at the law offices of Michael J. Vergis today.

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