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This provision allows partners who are close in age, or both under the California age of consent, to engage in consensual sex without fear of prosecution under California age of consent regulations.For more information, read about close-in-age exemptions.If there is a 3 year age gap, whether older or younger, between you and the underage person you have sex with, it is only considered a misdemeanor and you can be imprisoned up to a maximum of one year.If you are over 21 years old and you have sex with someone under 16 years old, you can get an enhanced criminal sentence, meaning a longer prison term and may be forced to pay a civil penalty up to ,000.California is rare in that it has one age of consent that applies across the board.For example, in many other states, if two people under the age of consent are close to the same age, then they can have sex without committing a crime.The brief table below outlines the basics of California's marriage age requirement.See Marriage Requirements Basics: Consent, Age, and Capacity for more information, and check Find Law's extensive Marriage Law section for more articles and resources covering a wide variety of topics.
If you engage in sexual activity with a minor who is under the California Age of Consent of 18, you can be prosecuted under California sexual abuse laws and charged with crimes ranging from sexual assault to first degree rape, regardless of whether or not the sexual acts were consensual.State laws regulating age limits for marriage are generally similar, although California is one of just a few states lacking a minimum age for marriage.However, minors (under the age of 18) must obtain both parental consent and a court order before they may legally tie the knot.The close-in-age rule in California (3 years) do not provide an exception nor provide any defense; it merely lowers the crime to a misdemeanor.Under this law, two minors of the exact same age could both be prosecuted with a misdemeanor.
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Although couples seldom get married before they reach the age of majority, it is made available primarily to allow pregnant minors to marry.