What teens need to know about consent

On Behalf of | Sep 23, 2020 | Juvenile Defense | 0 comments

You have educated your child about the consequences of drinking and driving, shoplifting and other common teen offenses. However, a high school romance could cause serious legal trouble if your teen does not understand Arizona laws about consent.

RAINN lists these ways that a seemingly consensual sexual relationship could lead to a conviction.


Arizona Revised Statute 13-1401(A)(7) states that a person cannot give consent if he or she has been drinking alcohol or using drugs. If your teen knows that the boyfriend or girlfriend has had a beer or two, regardless of whether he or she appears intoxicated, the law considers sex nonconsensual in this situation. On the other hand, a judge may not find your teen guilty if he or she did not know that the boyfriend or girlfriend had a drink or used drugs.

The law also considers someone to be incapable of consent if he or she is asleep, or has a mental disorder or mental defect. A mental defect is a condition that makes the boyfriend or girlfriend unable to understand the sexual nature of the activity or that keeps him or her from refusing the activity. The law is somewhat open-ended about impairment, though, in that it includes “any other similar impairment of cognition,” if your teen knew about it or should have known.


The age of consent in Arizona is 18. However, if your teen and the girlfriend or boyfriend are both in high school, at least 15 years old, and there is no more than 24 months’ age difference between them, age may not be a factor.

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