Can You Go To Jail For Kissing A Minor? (Yes, But…)

Yes, you can go to jail for kissing a minor.

But the answer is slightly more complicated, and if you have or are thinking of kissing a minor, you should read on.

Can You Go To Jail For Kissing A Minor? (EXPLAINED)


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The Type Of Kiss Matters

Adults kiss children all the time.

They don’t always go to jail.

The difference is when the kiss is more than just touching of lips to skin.

In general, the kiss becomes problematic when it any sort of intimate element or intent.

The factual circumstances of the touching will contribute heavily as to whether the kiss held an intimate intent or element.

For example, were hands involved, and if so, where were they?

What other parts of the body touched?

How long did the touching last?

Did the minor consent to the touching?

If the touching between the minor and the adult (the kiss) was done in an intimate manner, then the adult could be prosecuted.

People want to split hairs about whether the kissing was intended to be “intimate.”

As we’ve seen the law applied, if the kissing was anything beyond a peck between the adult and the minor (and sometimes even then), the kissing is presumed to have been intended as intimate.

Laws Against Intimate Touching Of Minors

Every state in the United States has laws protecting minors from intimate touching of adults.

The age of “consent” to that touching varies.

In some states, the age is 18.

In other states, that age is lower (16).

People often fail to realize that common horsing around behavior can be found to be criminal, if it is done with intimate intent by an adult to a minor.

Sitting a minor on an adult’s lap.

Slapping the rear end of minor.

Wrestling with the minor, even playfully, where intimate parts of the adult touch the minor.

Placing a brief kiss on intimate areas, which do include the neck or ears.

And yes, french kissing or deep kissing would count as “intimate” touching which could and likely would violate protective laws, even if the parties never touched each other with their hands.

A brief kiss on the lips, even super fast, could also land the adult in trouble, as there are very few circumstances where it is appropriate for an adult who is not a member of the minor’s family to miss the minor on the lips.


There are some exceptions that would allow an adult to kiss a minor without prosecution.

These are not available in every state.

Some states have what are sometimes called “romeo and juliet” exceptions.

If the adult is within a certain number of years of age of the minor, then he could utilize that small age gap as a defense to the prosecution.

That gap is usually small, not more than 3 years.

For example, in a state that had a 3 year exception, a 20 year old could avoid prosecution if he kissed a 17 year old who consented to the touching.

That being said, defense attorneys do not recommend that adults rely upon these types of exceptions to avoid prosecution for missing around with minors.

Adults may assume that they minor has “consented” to the touching and they could end up being wrong.

Romeo and juliet exceptions are no defense to contact that was not consensual.

Law enforcement is likely to err on the side of protecting the child from the adult rather than the opposite.

Best Way To Avoid Going To Jail For Kissing A Minor?

Don’t kiss them.

If you are an adult, the 100% best way to avoid going to jail for touching a minor is to avoid touching them.

If the minor is almost 18….just wait until their birthday has passed.

And if the minor isn’t going to be 18 for a long time, then it’s better to go find someone older.

This isn’t legal advice…but we have to say this: Adults shouldn’t be kissing minors.

They shouldn’t be putting themselves in the position of kissing minors, no matter the age difference.

Non-familial adults shouldn’t be cuddled up with minors, shouldn’t be letting minors sit on their laps, shouldn’t be putting themselves in the position to where a minor might become romantically attached to them and initiate the contact.

We see a lot of web searches about adults questioning whether it is okay to kiss a 13 year old, 14 year old, 15 year old.

In our humble opinions, these adults (usually male), are playing with fire.

Wrap Up

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can you go to jail for kissing a minor