South Dakota Age of Consent Laws 2023
What is the South Dakota Age of Consent?
The South Dakota 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 Dakota are not legally able to consent to sexual activity, and such activity may result in prosecution for statutory rape.
South Dakota statutory rape law is violated when a person has consensual sexual intercourse with an individual under age 16. While there is no close in age exemption, if the offender is under age 18 or no more than 3 years older than the victim, punishment is reduced.
South Dakota 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 Dakota, 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.
The age of consent in South Dakota is based on the following statutes from the South Dakota criminal code:
South Dakota Age Of Consent Law: 22-22-1. Rape defined—Degrees—Felony. Rape is an act of sexual penetration accomplished with any person under any of the following circumstances:...(5)If the victim is thirteen years of age, but less than sixteen years of age, and the perpetrator is at least three years older than the victim. 22-22-7. sexual intercourse with child under sixteen—Felony or misdemeanor. Any person, sixteen years of age or older, who knowingly engages in sexual intercourse with another person, other than that person's spouse if the other person is under the age of sixteen years is guilty of a Class 3 felony. If the actor is less than three years older than the other person, the actor is guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor. If an adult has a previous conviction for a felony violation of this section, any subsequent felony conviction for a violation under this section, is a Class 2 felony. Notwithstanding § 23A-42-2, a charge brought pursuant to this section may be commenced at any time before the victim becomes age twenty-five or within seven years of the commission of the crime, whichever is longer. 22-22-7.3. sexual intercourse with child under sixteen years of age—Violation as misdemeanor. Any person, younger than sixteen years of age, who knowingly engages in sexual intercourse with another person, other than his or her spouse, if such other person is younger than sixteen years of age, is guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor.
Punishments for Violating the Age Of Consent in South Dakota
South Dakota has eight 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 Dakota Age of Consent, as statutory rape or the South Dakota 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.
|Aggravated incest- Foster Child||Class 3 felony||A maximum of 15 years in prison and a maximum of $30,000 in fines|
|Criminal Pedophilia||Class 1 felony||A maximum of 50 years in prison and a maximum of $50,000 in fines|
|Rape- first degree||Class C felony||Life imprisonment and up to $50,000 in fines|
|Rape- fourth degree||Class 3 felony||A maximum of 15 years in prison and a maximum of $30,000 in fines|
|Sexual contact with person under 16||Class 1 misdemeanor; Class 3 felony||; A maximum of 15 years in prison and a maximum of $30,000 in fines|
|Sexual contact with person under 16 by person under 16||Class 1 misdemeanor||A maximum of 50 years in prison and a maximum of $50,000 in fines|
|Sexual exploitation of a minor||Class 5 felony; Class 6 felony||A maximum of 5 years in prison and a maximum of $10,000 in fines; A maximum of 2 years in prison and a maximum of $4,000 in fines|
|Subsequent conviction of rape of or sexual contact with a child under 16||Class 2 felony||A maximum of 25 years in prison and a maximum of $50,000 in fines|