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How does age of consent work in Wisconsin?

Each state in the country sets its own age of consent. Age of consent is the considered to be the age at which someone can legally consent to sexual contact. Sexual contact with someone below the age of consent is considered a crime, even if that person was not forced into the contact.

In Wisconsin, the age of consent is 18 with difference classifications of crimes for sexual contact with a 16 or 17 year old than for contact with someone under 16. Sexual contact with someone under the age of 16 is considered a Class C felony while contact with someone who is 16 would be a Class A misdemeanor, which comes with reduced consequences. It's interesting to note that the consent age of 18, which is shared by eleven other states, is the highest consent age in the nation.

Another difference between Wisconsin consent law and other states is that Wisconsin does not have what is referred to as a Romeo and Juliet exception. These exceptions in other states exist when two younger individuals are involved in what they say is consensual sexual contact. For example, if a 17-year-old had contact with a 16-year-old -- or even a 15-year-old, in some cases - in some states an accused could argue that it was a Romeo and Juliet situation. In some cases, these individuals likely attend the same school and could be dating, for example. The Wisconsin laws are so strict in this regard, however, that even two individuals under 16 who have sexual contact could be liable for prosecution.

The charges associated with sexual contact with a minor in Wisconsin vary depending on the age of those involved and the overall situation. Charges might include statutory rape or even first degree rape in some situations. Serious charges call for a strong and well-planned defense, regardless of the age of those involved.

Source: Age of Consent By State, "What is the 2015 Age of Consent in Wisconsin?," accessed May. 15, 2015

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