What Is the Age of Consent in Wisconsin?
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In Wisconsin, people must reach a minimum age, known as the “age of consent,” before they can legally agree to participate in sexual activity with another person.
What Is the Age of Consent?
The age of consent refers to the minimum age that a person must reach before they can legally consent to participate in sexual activities, ensuring that a person can understand their actions and the potential consequences of those actions. Under state law, people younger than the age of consent may not legally engage in sexual activity, even if they wish to do so. Furthermore, the law prohibits people from engaging in sexual activity with someone under the age of consent.
In Wisconsin, the age of consent to sexual intercourse is 18 years old. Wisconsin law defines “sexual intercourse” to include vaginal penetration, anal penetration, fellatio, and cunnilingus, or the insertion of any part of a person’s body into the genital or anal openings. The only exception to Wisconsin’s age of consent law extends to lawfully married couples.
However, the law allows 16- and 17-year-olds to consent to sexual contact, defined as touching, whether direct or through clothing, of a person’s intimate parts.
Wisconsin’s Statutory Rape Laws
Under Wisconsin law, sexual contact or sexual intercourse with someone under 16 is second-degree sexual assault, which is a Class C felony. Furthermore, sexual contact or sexual intercourse with someone under 12 is first-degree sexual assault, which is a Class B felony.
Wisconsin also has an “underage sexual activity” statute that prohibits having sexual contact or sexual intercourse with a 15-year-old if the defendant is under the age of 19. Underage sexual activity constitutes a Class A misdemeanor.
Consequences of Violating Age of Consent Laws
Violating Wisconsin’s age of consent law can result in harsh penalties. Conviction on a Class B felony offense for first-degree sexual assault of a child carries penalties of up to 60 years in prison, while conviction on a Class C felony for second-degree sexual assault carries penalties of up to 40 years in prison and a potential fine of up to $100,000. A conviction for underage sexual activity carries penalties of up to nine months in jail and a potential fine of up to $100,000.
Convictions for violating the age of consent laws may also require defendants to register as sex offenders. However, defendants can obtain an exemption from sex offender registration requirements if they meet specific requirements:
- The offense did not involve sexual intercourse by use or threat of force or violence
- The offense did not involve sexual intercourse with a child under 12
- The defendant was under 19 and not more than four years older than the underage person
- The court finds that the interests of public protection do not require the defendant to register as a sex offender
Contact a Criminal Defense Attorney Today
After an arrest for engaging in sexual activity with an underage person, you need experienced legal representation to protect your rights and reputation. Contact Maciolek Law Group today for a confidential consultation with a knowledgeable Wisconsin criminal defense lawyer to discuss your charges and options for resolving your case.