What is the Age of Consent in Missouri?

The age of consent in Missouri is 17 years old. This means that it is illegal to have sexual contact with someone under the age of 17 years old. Depending on the extent of the contact, a number of crimes can be charged, including:
  • Statutory Rape
  • Sexual Misconduct
  • Child Molestation
  • Statutory Sodomy
The facts and circumstances involved would affect the prosecutor’s decision about what charges to issue. Regardless of a person’s age, sexual contact without consent it always illegal. Consensual sexual contact is always legal, as long as the people involved are 17 years old or older. There is a link to some of the relevant Missouri Statute regarding the age of consent at the bottom of this page.

Romeo and Juliet Law

However, there is an exception to the age of consent if both people are over the age of 14 and under the age of 21. This exception is often referred to as a “Romeo and Juliet Law.” As long as the contact is consensual, and both people are between 14 and 21, then the conduct is not criminal. If one person turns 21, and the other person is still younger than 17, then the conduct becomes criminal, even if it is part of an ongoing relationship where the conduct had been legal.

Is Mistake of Age a Defense to These Age-Related Crimes?

Yes, mistake of age can be a defense to age-related crimes discussed here. The mistake is considered an affirmative defense, which means the defense has to interject the there was a mistake of age. Further, and most importantly, the mistake of age has to be reasonable. If you or a loved one have been arrested or charged with a sex crime involving the victim’s age, then call our office at 314.409.2659 so we can discuss your case and answer all of your questions. You can also reach the office by filling out this form, and we will call you to answer your questions. Missouri Age of Consent and Related Statutes http://www.moga.mo.gov/mostatutes/chapters/chapText566.html