Washington Legal Age Of Consent (Legal Age for Consensual Sex)
What is the 2023 Age of Consent in Washington?
The Washington Legal Age of Consent for sexual contact is 16 years old.
There are a total of 31 states have set their age of consent at 16, the lowest age of consent in any state.
In Washington, a person is guilty of rape of a child in the third degree when the person has sexual intercourse with another who is at least fourteen years old but less than sixteen years old and not married to the perpetrator and the perpetrator is at least forty-eight months older than the victim. Rape of a child in the third degree is a class C felony. A person is guilty of rape of a child in the second degree when the person has sexual intercourse with another who is at least twelve years old but less than fourteen years old and not married to the perpetrator and the perpetrator is at least thirty-six months older than the victim. Rape of a child in the second degree is a class A felony. Finally, A person is guilty of rape of a child in the first degree when the person has sexual intercourse with another who is less than twelve years old and not married to the perpetrator and the perpetrator is at least twenty-four months older than the victim. Rape of a child in the first degree is a class A felony.
Washington has no Close-In-Age Exemption
There are no set close-in-age exemptions or "Romeo and Juliet laws" to Washington's age of consent law. This means that anyone who engages in sexual activity with someone under the age of consent in Washington is liable for prosecution, including people only a few years older then their sexual partner and even two individuals who are both under the age of consent.
What is the Age of Consent?
The Age of Consent is the age at which a person is deemed by Washington law to be capable of consenting to, and engaging in, sexual acts. Anyone who engages in sexual activity of any type with a partner under the applicable Age of Consent is breaking the law and can be charged with crimes ranging from a misdemeanor to a felony (statutory rape) depending on the jurisdiction in which they are prosecuted. Washington's specific laws on the Age of Consent can be found above.
What happens if I violate the Washington Age of Consent?
If you engage in sexual activity with a minor who is under the Washington Age of Consent of 18, you can be prosecuted under Washington sexual abuse laws and charged with crimes ranging from sexual assault or statutory rape to first degree rape, regardless of whether or not the sexual acts were consensual. Depending on the charges, conviction can carry penalties ranging from one to fifty years in prison and registration as a sex offender .
Does the Washington Age of Consent apply to explicit pictures or videos?
It is important to note that Washington's Age of Consent does not apply to "sexting", or transmission of explicit photos or video. Producing or receiving explicit photos of minors (any person under age 18) is illegal in Washington, and all other states, under child pornography laws.
Because the Washington Age of Consent is 16 years old, while minors between the ages of 16 and 18 may be allowed to consent to sexual intercourse, sharing of explicit images - even with someone else under age 18 - may be subject to criminal prosecution.
Possession of explicit images of an underage person is also illegal under Federal law, and while minors are not typically prosecuted for possession, adults are frequently prosecuted for producing, possessing, receiving, or distributing underage pornography.
What happens if I travel to a state where the Age of Consent is lower?
In most states, the travel or transportation of a minor over state lines with the intention of engaging in sexual activity is in itself a severe misdemeanor or felony. As a result, it is generally not possible to evade a state's age of consent rules by travelling to a different state.
Map of Ages of Consent by State
16 Years Old
17 Years Old
18 Years Old
Need more information? Find data on the age of consent in other states.