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Statutory Rape Laws in Alabama: What You Need to Know


Alabama, like many other states, has statutory rape laws that protect minors from being abused and sexually exploited. Technically, “statutory rape” is now called Rape, 2nd degree. These laws establish an age of consent and the consequences for those who engage in sexual activity with minors younger than that age.

Understanding these laws is crucial when navigating relationships and avoiding the legal consequences. This article will discuss statutory rape, the Alabama laws that govern this, and the consequences one would face for breaking these laws.

What is Alabama’s Age of Consent?

Alabama’s age of consent is 16 (AL Code §13A-60-70 (2021)). That means that anyone 16 or over can legally engage in sexual activities with someone who is also 16 or older, subject to a two year age limitation. 

Exceptions to the Age of Consent


One exception to the age of consent is if the parties are married. In Alabama, minors can marry with parental consent and court approval. After the couple is married, the minor can consent to sexual activities regardless of their partner’s age.

Romeo & Juliet Law

The other exception to criminal charges for minors consenting to sexual activity with other minors their age is the Romeo & Juliet Law. Minors who are 12 or older engaging in sexual activities with someone less than two years older than they are protected from criminal charges.

What is Statutory Rape?

All types of sexual activity between a minor (who is under the age of consent) and an adult in Alabama is considered Rape, 2nd degree or “statutory rape.” The legislature believes that an individual under the age of consent isn’t capable of consenting to sexual activities because of their age, even if both parties agree to engage in the activity.

Also, regardless of whether the sexual activity is between an adult and a minor or two minors if non-consensual sexual activity takes place, it can be considered forcible rape and can result in more serious criminal charges and more significant penalties.

Alabama’s Statutory Rape Laws

Statutory rape carries severe consequences in Alabama. These charges can be prosecuted as rape, sexual abuse, or sodomy, depending on how old the victim is and what activity occurred. It’s essential to understand these charges and their penalties.

Along with the penalties listed for each charge, if convicted of a statutory rape-related crime, the offender must register as a sex offender for the remainder of their life. Juvenile offenders must register for ten years but can petition the court to remove this mandate after 25 years.

Rape and Sodomy Charges in Alabama

One can face rape or sodomy charges by engaging in sexual intercourse (including penetration) or sodomy by engaging in deviant sexual intercourse (oral or anal sex) with a minor. The penalties vary depending on the age difference between the victim and the defendant.

  • First-Degree Rape and Sodomy charges are class A felonies (AL Code §13A-6-63 (2019)). The defendant may be charged with first-degree rape and sodomy charges if the victim is 12 or younger. Penalties include a prison sentence of ten to 99 years to life and a fine of $60,000. If the defendant is over 21 and the victim is younger than 7, the mandatory sentence is life in prison without parole.
  • Second-Degree Rape and Sodomy charges are class B felonies (AL Code §13A-6-62 (2020)). Second-degree rape and sodomy charges pertain to a victim who is between 12 and 15 with a defendant that is at least 16 and two years older than the victim. Penalties include a prison sentence of two to 20 years and a fine of $30,000.

Sexual Abuse Charges in Alabama

Having sexual contact with someone under the age of consent can result in sexual abuse charges. This includes touching the victim’s intimate parts to gratify their sexual desires. Skin-to-skin contact isn’t a requirement for sexual abuse charges.

  • Misdemeanor Sexual Abuse Offenses — Second-degree sexual abuse charges are a class A misdemeanor. These charges apply if the minor is between 13 and 15 and the defendant is 19 or older. The penalties include a $6,000 fine and up to a year of jail time. If the offender is 15 years or older than the victim, it is considered a class C felony and can lead to a fine of up to $15,000 and up to 10 years in prison (AL Code §13A-6-67 (2021)).
  • Felony Sexual Abuse Offenses — If the child is less than 12 years old and the offender is over 16, the crime is considered a class B felony and can result in a $30,000 fine and a prison sentence of between two and 20 years (AL Code §13A-6-69.1 (2022)).

Chemical Castration in Alabama

Sex offenders convicted of statutory rape-related charges against a victim under 13 may be required to receive chemical castration as a condition of parole (AL Code §15-22-27.4 (2021)). If they fail to comply with this requirement, they face a $15,000 fine and up to ten years in prison.

Let the Experienced Criminal Defense Attorneys at Brackin Law Firm Help Protect Your Future

Violating statutory rape laws can have lasting consequences. Therefore, it’s crucial to be aware of the laws and act responsibly in all relationships, especially those with minors. If you’re facing accusations of statutory rape or other sex crimes, it is essential to seek legal advice from an experienced criminal defense attorney.

Brackin Law Firm provides criminal defense representation to clients in and around Baldwin County. Our firm includes some of the best lawyers in Alabama, and we work closely on each case to provide the best results for our clients. We understand the complex legal process, so we strive to take as much off your plate as possible.

Let us fight for your future. Contact us today for a consultation.

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