Last Updated on October 14, 2022 by Fair Punishment Team
When it comes to knowing the laws of your state, the age of consent is an important one to know as it can vary from state to state.
In order to avoid any trouble, it’s important that you are aware of how old people in your state need to be in order to be able to consent to any sexual activities.
So, if you live in Indiana, here is the guide you need to understand the age of consent in your state.
Here we are going to be taking a look at the age of consent in Indiana and the possible consequences of breaking these laws.
Check them out below!
What Is The Age Of Consent In Indiana?
By the term ‘the age of consent’, we are referring to the age a person must be in order to legally have the ability to consent to sexual activity.
This means that at this certain age, the state recognizes the person’s individual ability to engage in sexual activity.
Anyone underneath the age of consent is considered legally to be unable to give consent and thus, any sexual activity engaged with someone underneath this age is considered a crime.
Every country and US state has its own age of consent.
In some countries, the age of consent is as low as 12 years of age while in others, it is as high as 19 years of age.
In the US state of Indiana, the age of consent is currently set at 16 years of age.
This means that once someone has reached their 16th birthday, they can legally consent to sexual activity – but if you are caught engaging in sexual activity with someone under the age of 16 in Indiana, you can face serious consequences.
The Consequences Of Child Molestation (And Other Crimes)
In the state of Indiana, there are multiple crimes you can be convicted of if you engage in sexual activity with anyone under the age of 16.
Certain factors such as the type of activity itself and how close to 16 years of age the victim is all influence the type of crime you have committed, and as a result also changes the consequences you face if you are caught.
So – what crimes can you be convicted of in Indiana if you engaage in sexual activity with someone under the age of consent?
Well, any sexual activity with a child under the age of 14 years old is considered child molestation in Indiana.
This means that no matter what you did, as long as you laid your hands on that child in a sexual manner, you will be tried for child molestation.
Child molestation comes with a prison sentence of up to 50 years and fines that can reach as high as $100,000.
However, if the victim is between the ages of 14 and 16, then the crime changes from child molestation to sexual misconduct with a child.
The reason behind this is mainly because the victim is now pubescent or post-pubescent, whereas before the age of 14 they are considered pre-pubescent.
The consequences of being found guilty of sexual misconduct with a child comes down to what misconduct is actually proven.
If you are found guilty of having sexual intercourse, (including vaginal, oral or anal sex) with someone between the ages of 14 and 16, then you will be facing a prison sentence of a maximum of 6 years.
On top of that, fines can reach up to $100,000.
However, if no intercourse can be proven, then the maximum jail sentence drops to 2½ years and the fines are capped at $10,000.
There is an additional crime known as child soliciting, which involves an adult above the age of consent sending explicit images or texts to someone below the age of 14.
It doesn’t matter how you sent the explicit message or images – whether by mail, e-mail, or text – as long as you sent the messages and this can be proved, then you will be tried for child soliciting.
Like with sexual misconduct with a child, the maximum jail sentence is 2½ years and fines are maxed at $10,000.
After all of this, you will become a registered sex offender in Indiana and your name will appear on sex offender registries which can be accessed by the public.
This means that no matter the crime, as long as you are convicted of sexual activity with someone under the age of consent, you can remain a registered sex offender for at least 10 years after you are convicted.
So, as you can see, there are plenty of crimes you can be tried and punished of for engaging in sexual activity with someone below the age of consent in Indiana – but there are exceptions to look for in the law.
The Exceptions To The Rules
In Indiana, there are exceptions and exemptions to the age of consent which allows someone under the age of 16 to consent to sexual activity.
The aim is to protect those who are in valid romantic relationships with people under the age of 16.
Let’s take a look at those exceptions to see how they work.
Marriage Laws In Indiana
Despite the age of consent to sexual activity being 16 years of age in Indiana, a person can legally get married as young as 15 years old.
However, they must receive permission from their parents or legal guardian first.
The minimum age for consent to marry in Indiana is 18 but minors under this age can still get married so long as they have their parents or legal guardian’s permission.
Once they are married, the minor is considered emancipated, allowing them early access to certain rights to allow them to start living an independent life while married to their partner.
This includes the ability to make their own financial and medical decisions, and the ability to consent to sexual activity with their marital partner.
However, it’s still important to note that the emancipated minor can still revoke their consent to any sexual activity at any time – and this consent does not extend to individuals who are not the marital partner.
If you have sex with an emancipated minor who you are not married to, then you can still be tried for sexual misconduct.
The Romeo And Juliet Clause
Another exception to the age of consent is the Romeo and Juliet clause.
This clause is included in the laws above to help give leeway to young couples whose ages slightly overlap the age of consent.
This means that teenage couples where one party is under the age of consent but their partner has just reached it, can be given leeway for engaging in sexual activity due to the closeness in age and in light of their long-term relationship.
The cause itself only allows exceptions in the cases where both parties are younger than 21 years of age, have an age gap of 4 years maximum, are dating and have both given mutual consent to the sexual activity.
This helps young people engage in romantic relationships without any fear of backlash from their parents or legal guardians.
Parents cannot drag their 15-year-old daughter’s 16-year-old boyfriend to court for sexual misconduct because the Romeo and Juliet clause allows both parties the freedom to engage in a romantic relationship without the need for their parents consent.
However, if one party is above the age of 21, then they can be tried for sexual misconduct because the age gap is far too large for a balanced, healthy relationship with someone so young.
So, that’s everything the law says about the age of consent in Indiana!
As you can see, engaging in sexual activity with someone under the age of consent comes with a lot of prison time and fines, but there are exceptions to the rules which helps teenagers engage in safe, consensual romantic relationships without the fear of any backlash.
Check out the information above to learn everything you need to know!