Minors under the age of 16 cannot engage in sexual conduct with an adult over the age of If both parties are below the age of consent, and are close to the same age, they can sometimes avoid engaging in statutory rape by legally consent to have sex with each other. Tip The legal age of consent in Ohio is One or more of these charges may be used to prosecute violations of the Ohio Age of Consent, as statutory rape or the Ohio equivalent of that charge. While sexual conduct would still violate Ohio's age of consent law, it would only be considered a misdemeanor offense. However, the difference in age plays a role in the severity of the sentence if an adult is accused of violating Ohio's age of consent law. Our Columbus criminal defense attorneys have years of experience and are dedicated to our clients. The penalties are most severe for sexual conduct with a or year-old minor. Penalties depend on the ages of the defendant and victim, and the conduct that occurred, as described below. The people of Ohio, through their representatives in the Ohio Legislature, have decided that young adults under the age of 16 lack the emotional maturity and social foresight to voluntarily engage in sexual activity and therefore, young adults under the age of 16, and adolescents and children under the age of 13, should receive special protection under Ohio law. A local lawyer skilled in criminal defense can help you defend yourself against statutory rape claims and avoid receiving the maximum sentence. However, Ohio law does set the age of consent in the state at 16 years old. For example, an year-old high school senior might be dating a year-old high school sophomore. A close in age exemption , also known as "Romeo and Juliet law", is designed to prevent the prosecution of underage couples who engage in consensual sex when both participants are significantly close in age to each other, and one or both are below the age of consent. Should a young adult under the age of 16 but over the age of 13 engage in sexual activity with an adult over the age of 18, and the age gap between the minor and the adult is four years or less, the adult could be charged with a misdemeanor of the first degree. If the minor is married, enlisted in the armed forces, or self-supported and living on his own, he is more likely to be considered emancipated.