What are the laws for dating a minor in Washington state?
I've been reading up on laws and I'm just confused about the age of consent and how far that holds up. I'm 16 and the guy I want to date is more than 60months older than me, so would the age of consent be 18 instead of 16 because of a larger age difference? Also if it is 18, is it legal to still be in a relationship with them? We don't want sex, just to know if we can even hold hands, hug, or kiss. Any help would be appreciated, thanks!
- davidmi711Lv 78 years agoFavorite Answer
There are no laws in any state that regulate the ages of people involved in non-sexual, social dating. Age of consent laws only cover sexual activity.
The age of consent in Washington is 16.
It is also illegal to engage in sexual acts with someone younger than 18 under three different sets of circumstances, enumerated in RCW 9A.44.096. Foster parents with their foster children; school teachers and school administration employees over their students; The third set of circumstances require all of the following situations occur in tandem: The older person is 60 months or more older than the 16- or 17-year-old, the person is in a significant relationship as defined by RCW 9A.44.010, and such older person abuses the relationship to have sexual contact.
There are also three exceptions for people close in age.
RCW 9A.44.079 "A person is guilty of rape of a child in the third degree when the person has sexual intercourse with another who is at least fourteen years old but less than sixteen years old and not married to the perpetrator and the perpetrator is at least forty-eight months older than the victim. Rape of a child in the third degree is a class C felony."
RCW 9A.44.076 "A person is guilty of rape of a child in the second degree when the person has sexual intercourse with another who is at least twelve years old but less than fourteen years old and not married to the perpetrator and the perpetrator is at least thirty-six months older than the victim. Rape of a child in the second degree is a class A felony."
RCW 9A.44.073 "A person is guilty of rape of a child in the first degree when the person has sexual intercourse with another who is less than twelve years old and not married to the perpetrator and the perpetrator is at least twenty-four months older than the victim. Rape of a child in the first degree is a class A felony."
Several have reported that the immoral communication with a minor statute exists and places the age of consent at 18 due to the inability to "communicate" to 16- and 17-year-olds about sexual activity. These reports have been alarming in nature, however they are completely anecdotal, and perhaps even urban legend. The Washington Court of Appeals, Division 1 decided in the case of State v. Danforth, 56 Wn. App. 133, 782 P.2d 1091 (1989) that such communication has to be for the purposes of committing an illegal act under RCW Chapter 9.68A. Danforth's conviction was overturned by that ruling. However, the Washington Supreme Court in the case of State v. McNallie, 120 Wn.2d 925, 846 P.2d 1358 (1993) overturned the scope of the Danforth ruling (though not the result; Danforth would have still had his conviction overturned under the McNallie standard), applying the communication statute to encompass all sexual misconduct with a minor, not just those under RCW Chapter 9.68A, which deal mostly with illegal child pornography and prostitution. Due to these cases, it is clear that communications with 16- and 17-year-olds just for general sexual activity is legal, as long as such conduct discussed is not about illegal conduct or would be illegal in real life (such as the teacher/student circumstance, the foster parent/foster child circumstance, the significant relationship abuse circumstance, or asking for illegal pictures or attempting to bring such younger persons into prostitution).
- Anonymous3 years ago
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- MaureenLv 44 years ago
In Washington the age of consent to have sexual contact is 16 or 18. It is 18 if the acting adult is a foster parent, school teacher or school administration employee with authority over the student; or, the adult is 60 months or more older than the 16 or 17 year old. So, if the person is 14, once the other turns 18, it is illegal. The 18 year old could be prosecuted. "Sexual contact" is likely a legal term of art, which I do not imagine is limited to sexual intercourse.
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- ZiggiLv 48 years ago
Age of consent only matters if you're having sex. There are no laws dictating relationships. You could have a relationship with a 5-year old if you wanted to. It's not illegal. You and your boyfriend can hold hands and kiss as much as you want. Legal issues just come in if you start having sex.
- hotwheels122287Lv 78 years ago
there is no law that talks about dating. only when sex is involved is when the law applies.
- elysialawLv 68 years ago
Dating is not regulated, only sexual contact is. Keep in mind this does not need to be actual penetration, other sex acts, including heavy petting can be considered enough.