As a parent, you may feel like you know the teen in your family extremely well. You also trust him or her to make good decisions. Still, because hormones often rage wildly after puberty, your son or daughter may be thinking about having sex. This may be especially true if your child has begun dating.
According to Psychology Today, a teen’s age, environment and perceived family support may influence his or her decision to engage in sexual activity. Unfortunately, though, even though your teen is a minor, he or she may face criminal charges for statutory rape?
Minors cannot consent
The age of consent for sexual contact in the Old Line State is 16.
If your teen’s partner is younger than 16, he or she simply cannot consent to intercourse. The same is true for your son or daughter who has not yet celebrated a 16th birthday.
To protect your teen, it may be wise to tell him or her that even if both 14- or 15-year-olds are willing participants in the activity, they cannot legally consent to it.
No close-in-age exemption
Unlike some other states, Maryland does not have a close-in-age exemption. Commonly called Romeo and Juliet laws, these exemptions either prevent the prosecution of teens who engage in sex with other teens or provide a defense to statutory rape charges.
It is rare for prosecutors in Maryland to go after close-in-age teens who have willing sexual contact with each other. It is not impossible for your teen to face criminal charges, though.
Ultimately, by exploring all of your teen’s legal options, you may help him or her avoid the potentially catastrophic consequences of having a conviction for a sex-related crime.