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Age of Consent & Statutory Rape Laws in Arkansas


What is the Age of Consent in Arkansas?

The age of consent in Arkansas is 16 years old. This means that anyone who engages in sexual activity with a person under 16 years old can be charged with statutory rape. Even if the minor consents to the sexual activity, it is still considered a sex crime.

What is Statutory Rape?

Statutory rape is a crime that involves engaging in sexual activity with a minor who is below the age of consent. In Arkansas, statutory rape is a Class Y felony, which carries imprisonment between 10 to 40 years. if the victim is under 14 years old, then a conviction can result in a mandatory minimum prison term of 25 years.

What are "Romeo and Juliet" Exceptions?

In Arkansas, the "close-in-age" exception is also known as the "Romeo and Juliet law" or the "youthful offender provision." It is a legal provision that offers some protection to minors who engage in consensual sexual activities with another minor who is slightly older. The purpose of this exception is to avoid prosecuting young individuals for engaging in normal, age-appropriate relationships.

What are the Defenses for Statutory Rape?

There are several defenses that can be used in statutory rape cases. The most common defense is that the accused did not know the minor's age at the time of the sexual activity. However, ignorance of the minor's age is not a defense if the accused should have known the minor's age. Other defenses include mistaken identity, consent, and lack of evidence.

What Should You Do if You Are Facing Statutory Rape Charges?

If you are facing statutory rape charges, it is important to seek legal representation immediately. A criminal defense attorney can help you understand your rights, build a defense strategy, and negotiate with the prosecution. At Norwood & Norwood, P.A., we have extensive experience in handling statutory rape cases and can provide you with the legal guidance and support you need.

Contact us today to schedule a free office visit.