What is “statutory rape” in WI?

On Behalf of | Sep 1, 2021 | Criminal Defense

Just because a person consents to sexual intercourse or sexual acts with you does not make those actions legal. If your partner was under Wisconsin’s age of consent, the state may charge you with what is often referred to as “statutory rape.” The actual term is Sexual Assault under our laws.

This kind of “statutory rape” differs from other sexual assaults in that it involves consent in fact. However, because the person giving the consent is not old enough, legally, to give his or her consent, Wisconsin makes it a felony crime. Wisconsin does not have a specific crime called “statutory rape”. But this is still a crime, and it is called “Sexual Intercourse With a Child Age 16 or Older.” In short, in Wisconsin it remains a crime to have sexual intercourse (of any kind) with someone who is either 16 or 17, even if that person is fully in agreement and fully consents in word and deed.

Ages of consent in Wisconsin

There is no one “age of consent” in Wisconsin; rather, the answer varies based on a few factors. The first is the age difference between the actor and child. The second is the relationship between the actor and the child. The third and final factor is the age of the child at the time the sex occurs.

If you were, say, 19 years old at the time of the sexual intercourse (which, by the way means ANY type of sexual penetration by either person of the other) and if your sexual partner was 16 but not yet 17 at the time, the state can charge you with a Class A misdemeanor crime. However, the act is legal if your partner was your spouse at the time of the event. Of course, not many marry that young anymore, but note that living together does NOT equate to marriage for the purposes of this law. And if you had sexual intercourse with a person who had not attained the age of 12 when you yourself were 16 or older, the state can charge you with a Class B felony. That is very serious.

Penalties for statutory rape in WI

If the state convicts you of a Class A misdemeanor, you face up to nine months in prison, a $10,000 fine or both. If the state convicts you of a Class B felony, you face up to 60 years in prison.

So-called “statutory rape” charges are as generally taken as seriously as other sexual assault charges. Do not assume that just because your partner consented that you are innocent. If you face charges, the best thing you can do for reputation, freedom and future is to seek counsel from an experienced criminal defense lawyer.