The age of consent in California is 18 years old. However, the age of consent in Nevada is just 16. Does that mean it’s legal to cross state lines to overcome the age of consent laws?
While each state’s legislature sets its own age of consent, crossing state lines does not grant a free pass. Crossing state lines to have sexual relations invokes federal law. The federal age of consent is 18.
That means, for example, if two people over 16 in North Carolina and South Carolina moved across state lines to have relations, they would still be subject to the federal age of consent, even though they meet the age of consent in both states.
In the case of online relations, the law applies based on the younger person’s state. For example, if an adult in Nevada attempted to send lewd messages or pictures to a minor in California, the Nevada resident would violate the law.
An adult who crosses state lines could be charged with child grooming in addition to relations with a minor. Federal code defines child grooming as “Whoever knowingly persuades, induces, or coerces any individual to travel in interstate or foreign commerce… to engage in any sexual activity for which the person can be charged with a criminal offense.”
Moreover, federal crimes have very high minimums. A charge of pursuing interstate relations, combing with a grooming charge could result in 30 years in federal prison, at minimum.
The message is clear. When it comes to interstate relations, it’s always safer to wait until both parties are at least 18 years old.
If you have questions about the age of consent in California, you might want legal representation. If you’d like an experienced Newport Beach Criminal Defense Lawyer from Corrigan | Welbourn | Stokke, APLC to evaluate your case, please send us an email or call (949) 251-0330.