Arkansas Age of Consent Laws 2021
What is the Arkansas Age of Consent?
The Arkansas Age of Consent is 16 years old. In the United States, the age of consent is the minimum age at which an individual is considered legally old enough to consent to participation in sexual activity. Individuals aged 15 or younger in Arkansas are not legally able to consent to sexual activity, and such activity may result in prosecution for statutory rape.
Arkansas statutory rape law is violated when a person has consensual sexual intercourse with an individual under age 16. If the offender is under age 18, the younger party must not be under 14 years of age(a defense exists if the younger party is at no more than 4 years younger than the offender, or no more than 3 years younger if the victim is under 12).
Arkansas has a close-in-age exemption. A close in age exemption, also known as "Romeo and Juliet law", is designed to prevent the prosecution of underage couples who engage in consensual sex when both participants are significantly close in age to each other, and one or both are below the age of consent.
Depending on the situation, the Arkansas close-in-age exemption may completely exempt qualifying close-in-age couples from the age of consent law, or merely provide a legal defence that can be used in the event of prosecution.
The age of consent in Arkansas is based on the following statutes from the Arkansas criminal code:
Arkansas Age Of Consent Law: 5-14-127. A person commits sexual assault in the fourth degree if the person: (a) (1) Being twenty (20) years of age or older, engages in sexual intercourse or deviate sexual activity with another person who is: (A) Less than sixteen (16) years of age; and (B) Not the person's spouse; or (2) Engages in sexual intercourse with another person who is: (A) Less than sixteen (16) years of age; and (B) Not the person's spouse. (b) (1) Sexual assault in the fourth degree under subdivision (a)(1) of this section is a Class D felony. (2) Sexual assault in the fourth degree under subdivision (a)(2) of this section is a Class A misdemeanor if the person engages only in sexual intercourse with another person as described in subdivision (a)(2) of this section.
Punishments for Violating the Age Of Consent in Arkansas
Arkansas has nine statutory sexual abuse charges on the books which are used to prosecute age of consent and child abuse related crimes within the state. One or more of these charges may be used to prosecute violations of the Arkansas Age of Consent, as statutory rape or the Arkansas equivalent of that charge.
The severity of the criminal charge (felony, misdemeanor, etc) depends on the specifics of the acts committed and the relative ages of the perpetrator and victim. Click any charge for more detailed information.
|Promoting child sexual performance||Class B felony||5-20 years; up to $15,000 fine|
|Employing children: sexual performances||Class B felony; Class C felony||5-20 years; up to $15,000 fine; 3-10 years; up to $10,000 fine|
|Engaging children in sexually explicit conduct for use in visual or print medium||Class A felony; Class B felony||6-30 years; up to $15,000 fine; 5-20 years; up to $15,000 fine|
|Indecent exposure||Class A misdemeanor; Class D felony||Not more than 1 year; up to $1,000 fine; Maximum of 6 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.|
|Internet stalking of a child||Class A felony; Class B felony||6-30 years; up to $15,000 fine; 5-20 years; up to $15,000 fine|
|Sexual assault- fourth degree||Class A misdemeanor; Class D felony||Not more than 1 year; up to $1,000 fine; Maximum of 6 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.|
|Sexual assault- second degree||Class D felony||Maximum of 6 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.|
|Sexual indecency with a child||Class D felony||Maximum of 6 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.|
|Transportation of minors for prohibited sexual conduct||Class A felony||6-30 years; up to $15,000 fine|