West Virginia Age of Consent Laws 2023
What is the West Virginia Age of Consent?
The West Virginia 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 West Virginia are not legally able to consent to sexual activity, and such activity may result in prosecution for statutory rape.
West Virginia statutory rape law is violated when a person has consensual sexual intercourse with an individual under age 16, so long as the offender is more than 4 years older and not married to the victim.
West Virginia 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 West Virginia, 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 West Virginia is based on the following statutes from the West Virginia criminal code:
West Virginia Age Of Consent Law: §61-8B-5. Sexual assault in the third degree. (a) A person is guilty of sexual assault in the third degree when: (2) The person, being sixteen years old or more, engages in sexual intercourse or sexual intrusion with another person who is less than sixteen years old and who is at least four years younger than the defendant and is not married to the defendant.
Punishments for Violating the Age Of Consent in West Virginia
West Virginia has five 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 West Virginia Age of Consent, as statutory rape or the West Virginia 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.
|Sexual abuse by parent, guardian, custodian, or person in a position of trust to child||Felony||Maximum of 20 years in prison, and/or a maximum fine of $10,000|
|Sexual abuse- first degree||Felony||1-5 years in in a state correctional facility, and/or a maximum fine of $5,000|
|Sexual abuse- third degree||Misdemeanor||Maximum of 90 days in a country jail, and/or a maximum fine of $500|
|Sexual assault- first degree||Felony||15-35 years in in a state correctional facility, and/or a maximum fine of $10,000|
|Sexual assault- third degree||Felony||1-5 years in in a state correctional facility, and/or a maximum fine of $5,000|