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If underage dating involves sexual intercourse, state statutory rape laws may apply.
If you are charged and found guilty of having sex with a person who is younger than the statutory age of consent, you face the possibility of incarceration.
For example, in Iowa a person may consent to sex at age 14 provided their partner is no more than 48 months older.
She has written for many digital publications, including The Washington Post, Forbes, Vice and Health Central.
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Most statutory rape laws exist to punish an adult who takes sexual advantage of a minor, not to punish two people close in age who have consensual sex.
This means an adult who is only a couple of years older than the minor may not be charged with statutory rape or be punished as harshly as a much older adult.