When is comes to sex offenses, one important factor that often comes into pay is age. The alleged victim’s age could mean the difference between being charged or not being charged. It could also affect the specific charge made against you and what the court may convict you on. The main concept with age is the age of consent, which the Washington State Department of Health explains is the age at which a person can consent legally to having sexual intercourse.

The general age of consent in the state is 16 years old. However, that is a little misleading. If an adult who is 35 has a sexual relationship with a child who is 16, it is not likely to be legal unless they are married. However, there are exceptions to the age of consent depending on your age. While 16 is generally the age at which a person may consent to intercourse, if you want to avoid a sexual offense charge, then you should make sure you are not more than five years older than your partner.

Furthermore, there are situations where a person could be in a sexual relationship with a child under the age of 16 and still not face any charges if he or she is not excessively older than the child. For example, if a person is 14 or 15 years old, then he or she may have a sexual relationship with someone who is not more than four years older than him or her. This allows for a freshman in high school to date a senior in high school without having to worry he or she will face criminal charges once he or she turns 18.