The underage sexual activity law: What should parents know?

On Behalf of | Jul 15, 2019 | Firm News

Like other teens in Wisconsin, your teen may be experiencing love and strong sexual feelings for the first time in high school. Should they act on their feelings and become intimate with a partner, however, teens could face serious criminal consequences. Therefore, it is important for you as a parent to understand the state’s underage sexual activity law.

Unlike other states that have “Romeo & Juliet” laws in place to protect youths under the legal age of consent who have sexual intercourse, Wisconsin offers no such safeguards. Rather, the state’s underage sexual activity law makes sexual contact between those 18-years-old or younger and other youths between the ages of 15 and 17-years-old. This includes sexual intercourse, as well as other various sex acts. The exception to the law is when such contact occurs between teens who are lawfully married.

According to the Wisconsin Legislative Council, a violation of the state’s underage sexual activity law is considered a Class A misdemeanor. If your teen is convicted of this offense, he or she could face penalties including a maximum fine of $10,000, a prison term of up to nine months or both. In some circumstances, the court may require that those convicted of this offense register as sex offenders. Youths may avoid this requirement if they were under the age of 19-years-old at the time of the alleged offense and their partners were at least 15-years-old, the court does not deem their registration pertinent to protecting the public or ensuring their compliance with other reporting requirements.

The information contained within this post is not intended as legal advice and should only be considered for general purposes.