Colorado’s Romeo and Juliet Laws Explained

Colorado, like many other states, has specific laws in place to address issues surrounding age of consent. In this blog post, we will explore Colorado’s age of consent laws and delve into the Romeo and Juliet provisions designed to offer legal protections for consensual relationships between close-aged individuals. It’s crucial to understand these laws to navigate the complexities surrounding age and relationships within the legal framework.

Understanding Colorado’s Age of Consent

In Colorado, the age of consent is the legal age at which an individual is considered old enough to engage in sexual activity. The age of consent is 17 years old in Colorado, meaning that individuals aged 17 and older are legally able to consent to sexual activity with others with certain exceptions.

Romeo and Juliet Laws

Colorado recognizes the challenges of navigating relationships involving individuals close in age, and as a response, the state has implemented Romeo and Juliet laws. These provisions are designed to provide legal protections for consensual relationships between teenagers or young adults when the age difference is minimal.

Under these laws, if the age difference between the individuals involved is within a specified range, the sexual activity can be consensual and not subject to statutory rape charges. It’s essential to note that Romeo and Juliet laws vary by state, so understanding the specifics of Colorado’s provisions is crucial.

Age Differences Covered by Romeo and Juliet Laws in Colorado

In Colorado, different Romeo and Juliet laws come into play depending on the ages of the parties and their age difference.

If one person is 14 years old or less, they can legally engage in consensual sexual activity with someone up who is less than 4 years older than them without facing statutory rape charges.  Please be aware that this 4-year range is down to the day.  If the age difference is more than 4 years and 1 day, is a Sexual Assault on a Child.  This is a Class 4 felony, with potential penalties of either lifetime sex offender probation or an indeterminate prison sentence, and lifetime registration on the Sex Offender Registry.

If one person is 15 or 16 years old, they can legally engage in consensual sexual activity with someone who is 10 years older than them or less.  Just as before, this age difference is down to the day based upon the individuals’ involved birthdays.

As stated above, 17 is the age of consent in the state of Colorado, and someone that age can engage in consensual sexual activity with anyone older than them.

I did say there were exceptions to the age of consent, and that caveat is whether or not the other party is in what’s called a position of trust.  Think teacher, coach or boss at work.  There are other people who meet the definition of a position of trust (parent or other relative), but that is always illegal no matter the age of the individuals, so it is not relevant for purposes of today’s blog.  With positions of trust, it does not matter what someone’s age is.  A 17-year old cannot have consensual sexual activity with their boss at an after school job, even if that boss was only a year older.

Building a Strong Defense

Despite the existence of Romeo and Juliet laws, legal issues may still arise. Accusations of violating age of consent laws can have serious consequences, and it’s essential to build a strong defense if you find yourself facing such charges.

One key aspect of mounting a defense is understanding the intricacies of Colorado’s age of consent laws, including the Romeo and Juliet provisions. Consulting with an experienced criminal defense lawyer is crucial in these situations. A lawyer can assess the specifics of your case, ensuring that your rights are protected and helping you navigate the legal system.

Importance of Legal Representation

Being accused of violating age of consent laws can be a daunting experience, and having legal representation is crucial for a fair and just resolution. An experienced criminal defense lawyer can help you understand the charges against you, explore potential defenses, and guide you through the legal process.

Legal consequences for age of consent violations can include criminal charges, registration as a sex offender, and significant damage to one’s personal and professional life. Therefore, seeking the assistance of a skilled attorney is essential in building a robust defense strategy tailored to your specific situation.

Defending Against Sex Crime Accusations in Colorado

Defending Against Sex Crime Accusations in Colorado

Understanding Colorado’s age of consent laws and the Romeo and Juliet provisions is vital for anyone navigating relationships, especially among young adults. While these laws provide legal protections for consensual relationships with minimal age differences, it’s essential to be aware of potential legal challenges and the importance of seeking legal representation if accusations arise.

Remember, this blog post is meant for educational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. If you require legal assistance, consult with a qualified attorney to address your specific situation.


About the Author:

Andrew Bryant is a well-respected Colorado Springs criminal attorney who has been practicing in the area for years. A Colorado native, he returned to the home he loves after graduating from the University of Kentucky College of Law. Now, he uses the knowledge he gained as an El Paso County District Attorney to fight tirelessly for his clients’ rights. He is AV-Preeminent rated, has been recognized for his work by The National Trial Lawyers, and has been named to Best of the Springs lists by The Gazette for years.