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What is the Age of Consent in South Carolina?


For thousands of years, people of different ages have fallen in love and had sexual intercourse. However, what was “socially acceptable” two or three hundred years ago, is no longer okay, especially in developed countries like the United States.

In all 50 states, there are “age of consent” laws on the books, which refer to the age that someone can legally consent to sexual activity. Across the nation, the age of consent is either 16, 17, or 18. Here in South Carolina, the age of consent is 16-years-old.

South Carolina’s age of consent law means that a child under the age of 16 CANNOT legally consent to sex, and if someone age 18 or older has sex with a child under the age of 16, he or she can face serious criminal charges.

If you believe you have been falsely accused of sexual assault, read more about what to do here.

Are you facing a sexual misconduct charge? Contact us today to schedule a meeting with our experienced criminal defense attorneys.

What is Considered Criminal Sexual Conduct with a Minor?

South Carolina’s statutory rape law is called “criminal sexual conduct with a minor,” which is considered a penetration offense.

According to the Children’s Law Center, “A person commits CSC with a minor when the person commits a sexual battery upon a child. Sexual battery is defined as sexual intercourse, anal intercourse, cunnilingus, fellatio, or any intrusion of any part of a person’s body or of any object into the genital or anal openings of another person’s body (except for medically recognized treatment or diagnosis).”

  • First-degree CSC with a minor refers to a child under the age of eleven.
  • Second-degree CSC with a minor refers to a child between the ages of 11 and 14, or between the ages of 14 and 15.

If an individual age 18 or younger engages in illicit, but consensual sexual conduct with a child age 14 or older, he or she does not commit CSC in the second degree.

What Are the Penalties for Criminal Sexual Conduct with a Minor?

The penalty for CSC with a minor in the second degree under S.C. Code § 16-3-655 is up to 20 years in prison. A conviction of CSC with a minor (under the age of eleven) is punishable by a mandatory minimum of 25 years in prison, or by life in prison.

Note: Under South Carolina law, an “attempt” to commit CSC with a minor is punished the same as if the perpetrator completed the crime. For example, if someone attempts to have sex with a 14-year-old, they can face the same penalties as if they successfully carried out the offense.

Are you facing serious felony charges under South Carolina’s statutory rape law? If so, your freedom and your reputation are gravely at stake.

Contact Masella Law Firm, P.A. today for a case evaluation!

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