I want to know if just dating him is illegal or if my mom was just trying to scare me because she didn't like the other guy. – Confused in Kansas feamle, age 21, USA Dear Confused in Kansas, Dating (without sex) is legal regardless of your age. Your mother might have been scaring you because she is alarmed that you show a pattern of dating children when you're supposed to be an adult.

Dear Not Sure, Anyone can "be" with anyone else, regardless of age; it's a Constitutional right (known as "the right of the people peaceably to assemble") given to Americans in the First Amendment.

We just wanted a relationship that was strictly just spending time together and sharing our days.

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But it may be confusing to some people about the term "minor" and the concept of when it is "legal" to have sex. I read that as long as there is no more than 3 years' difference, it is legal. – Confused female, age 16, USA Dear Confused, It is illegal to have sex with him, because the age of consent in California is 18.

"Age of consent" and "age of majority" are sometimes legally distinct, depending on where you live: Dear Panel, I am 16 and I am dating an 18 year old. If someone were to press charges against him for statutory rape, the two years' age difference would make him guilty of a misdemeanor, which carries lesser penalties than If he were three years older, when it would be a felony.

I have read the penal codes and they are confusing so I thought I would ask you about it.

Could you please tell me everything and maybe show me laws to give me a little more confidence? Dear Jeff, It seems arbitrary that sex with your girlfriend becomes illegal when you reach your eighteenth birthday, but it's true.

Anyone can press charges against you for statutory rape in California, because she will still be younger than 18.

If you are convicted, however, California law will count it as a misdemeanor, and not a felony, because you are less than three years older than she is.

A 25-year old has already passed those milestones, and he is probably exposed to many situations that you are not legally ready to experience.

And if you're below the age of consent, sex with someone your age could land him in to jail.

Dear Panel, I am currently 17 and my girlfriend is 16.