When most people think of sexual predators, they may think of a figure in a shadowy alley waiting to pounce. However, there is more than one way to legally commit rape.

It is important to understand the age of consent laws in whatever state you are pursuing a sexual partner in. Failure to understand age of consent laws may lead to you to an accusation of statutory rape. According to Age of Consent, the age of consent in South Carolina is 16.

Is mistaking somebody’s age a potential defense?

While this is not a valid defense against statutory rape in some states, it is true that in South Carolina misunderstanding somebody’s a may be a good defense in some cases. However, it is smarter to ensure that your potential sexual partner is at least 16 years old.

Remember that any sort of sexual contact with an individual under the age of 16 is illegal. This is not just limited to penetrative sex, but also to sending sexually explicit photos, watching pornography, or engaging in sexual text messages.

Is there a close in age exemption?

South Carolina does not have a close in age exemption, often referred to as a “Romeo and Juliet” law. In some states, these laws exist to prevent individuals who are close in age to each other from prosecution under statutory rape laws. Since South Carolina does not have any close in age exemption, this means that, technically, if two individuals are under the age of 16 and engage in sexual conduct, both can receive statutory rape charges.

Additionally, there are no protections in place if one party is slightly above the age of 16 and the other is 15 years old.