Sex crimes of all kinds are very serious, so it is important to understand the law. According to the Rape Abuse and Incest National Network, the age of consent in South Carolina is 16. This generally means that in order for sexual activity between two persons to be legal must be at least 16 years old. Otherwise, older partner potentially risks a statutory rape charge. However, it is also important to understand the exceptions to this and how age of consent affects different situations.
One of the exceptions to the age of consent in South Carolina is a marital exception. If a female is at least 14 years old and is married to an adult spouse or a male at least 16 years old and married to an adult spouse, consensual sexual conduct between the adult spouse and the minor spouse is legal. Be aware that persons who are under the age of 18 must have parental consent to be married in South Carolina.
There is also a Romeo and Juliet exception clause in South Carolina law. This law is intended to ensure that teenagers who are around the same age and having consensual sexual conduct do not run afoul of a statutory rape accusation. In South Carolina, the Romeo and Juliet exception clause applies to persons between the ages of 14 and 18. Therefore, if a 17-year-old engages in consensual sexual activity with a 15-year-old, the 17-year-old cannot be charged with statutory rape, even though the 15-year-old is below the technical age of consent.
This post is intended to educate you about statutory rape laws in South Carolina. It is not intended to be taken as legal advice.