The People’s Lawyer

What is the age of consent in West Virginia?

On Behalf of | Mar 31, 2024 | Criminal Defense

Sexual intimacy comes with a host of risks for the people involved in an encounter. The possibility of pregnancy and the risk of sexually transmitted illness make consent or voluntary participation in sexual acts important.

Individual states across the country have established rules regarding when young adults are capable of consenting to sexual encounters with other people. The laws differ from state to state, which can lead to a lot of confusion.

What is currently the age of consent for young adults in West Virginia?

Older teenagers can legally consent

According to current statutes on record in West Virginia, the age of consent is 16 years of age. Anyone convicted of engaging in sexual contact with someone younger than the age of 16 could potentially face a third-degree sexual abuse charge.

Regardless of the young adult’s attitude about the encounter, the law makes it a crime for someone to engage in intimate acts with anyone under the age of 16. There is an exception to this rule for romantic and sexual partners who are less than four years older than the teenager. Someone who is 18, for example, could defend against allegations of breaking the law via intimacy with a 15-year-old partner.  There are also rules that could worsen the charges that people face. If the other party is under the age of 12, the offense could become a first-degree charge.

Those aware of the laws in West Virginia can avoid unintentional sex crimes and protect themselves from prosecution. Learning more about state statutes may benefit those in romantic or intimate relationships.