South Carolina Age of Consent Laws 2023
What is the South Carolina Age of Consent?
The South Carolina 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 South Carolina are not legally able to consent to sexual activity, and such activity may result in prosecution for statutory rape.
South Carolina statutory rape law is violated when a person has consensual sexual intercourse with an individual under age 16. Mistake of age may be used as a defense in some cases.
South Carolina does not have a close-in-age exemption. Close in age exemptions, commonly known as "Romeo and Juliet laws", are put in place to prevent the prosecution of individuals who engage in consensual sexual activity when both participants are significantly close in age to each other, and one or both partners are below the age of consent.
Because there is no such "Romeo and Juliet law" in South Carolina, it is possible for two individuals both under the age of 16 who willingly engage in intercourse to both be prosecuted for statutory rape, although this is rare. Similarly, no protections are reserved for sexual relations in which one participant is a 15 year old and the second is a 16 or 17 year old.
Punishments for Violating the Age Of Consent in South Carolina
South Carolina has three 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 South Carolina Age of Consent, as statutory rape or the South Carolina 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.
|Criminal sexual conduct with a minor- first degree||Felony||Maximum sentence of 10 years|
|Criminal sexual conduct with a minor- second degree||Felony||Maximum of 5 years in prison, maximum fine of $500|
|Sexual battery with a student||Felony||Maximum of 5 years in prison|