Every state in the nation has its own laws that govern criminal charges from drunk driving to homicide and more. Sex crimes are also governed on a state-by-state basis. Persons who live in Wisconsin should pay special attention to this state’s specific laws, especially when concerning minors as there are some distinct differences in Wisconsin when compared to other states.
One of the important facts to know is that in Wisconsin, a person is considered a legal adult upon reaching 17 years of age. Because of this, a 17-year-old accused of a sex crime will be tried as an adult, rather than as a juvenile. Generally speaking, penalties for adults convicted of crimes are harsher than those provided for juveniles.
When it comes to sex crimes, statutory rape is among one of the more common crimes alleged. Most people are aware that statutory rape involves sexual activity with a minor but other details may not be fully known. The legal age of consent in Wisconsin is 16. If a 17-year old has consensual sexual relations with a 16-year old, it is considered to be legal. However, if that same 17-year old has consensual sexual relations with a person even one day less than 16 years old, it is considered to be illegal. This is because a person less than 16 years old is not legally allowed to consent to such activity.
At the Craig Kuhary law firm, we have worked with many persons accused of statutory rape and other sex crimes and know how easily inaccurate charges can arise. A good understanding of the legal basics is one way to help stay protected against such situations.