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Laws regarding incest in the United States

Laws regarding incest in the United States vary widely between jurisdictions regarding both the definition of the offense and penalties for its commission. The table below summarizes these laws for individual U.S. States and the District of Columbia. In all but two states, incest is criminalized between consenting adults. In New Jersey and Rhode Island, incest between consenting adults (16 or over for Rhode Island, 18 or over for New Jersey) is not a criminal offense, though marriage is not allowed in either state. New Jersey also increases the severity of underage sex offenses by a degree if they're also incestuous, and criminalizes incest with 16-17 year olds (the normal age of consent in new Jersey is 16).

Laws regarding incest in the United States
: States :  Federal district  :  Territories  :
Jurisdiction Prohibited relationships[1] Prohibited acts[1] Penalties
Alabama Either legitimately or illegitimately: (1) His ancestor or descendant by blood or adoption; or (2) His brother or sister of the whole or half-blood or by adoption; or (3) His stepchild or stepparent, while the marriage creating the relationship exists; or (4) His aunt, uncle, nephew or niece of the whole or half-blood (knowingly). Marriage or intercourse 1y & 1d to 10y[2]
Alaska Either legitimately or illegitimately: (1) an ancestor or descendant of the whole or half blood; (2) a brother or sister of the whole or half blood; or (3) an uncle, aunt, nephew, or niece by blood. Sexual penetration Up to 5y and $50,000 fine[3]
American Samoa A person he knows to be

(1) his ancestor or descendant by blood or adoption;
(2) his stepchild or stepparent, while the marriage creating that relationship exists and while the stepchild is 18 years of age or less;
(3) his brother or sister of the whole or half-blood; or
(4) his uncle, aunt, nephew, or niece of the whole blood.

Marries or purports to marry or engages in sexual intercourse or deviate sexual intercourse Punishment specified for a Class D felony[4]
Arizona Persons with degrees of consanguinity which makes marriage incestuous and void (knowingly). These are: "between parents and children, including grandparents and grandchildren of every degree, between brothers and sisters of the one-half as well as the whole blood, and between uncles and nieces, aunts and nephews and between first cousins" Marriage, intercourse or adultery 1y to 3.75y[5]
Arkansas Without regard to legitimacy: (1) An ancestor or a descendant; (2) A stepchild or adopted child; (3) A brother or sister of the whole or half blood; (4) An uncle, aunt, nephew, or niece; or (5) A stepgrandchild or adopted grandchild (knowingly). Marriage, sexual intercourse or deviate sexual activity with a prohibited person at least 16 years of age 3y to 10y and $10,000 fine[6]
California Persons within degrees of consanguinity which make marriages incestuous and void. Marriage, sexual intercourse or adultery Probation, 16 months, 2 years or 3 years of imprisonment and $10,000 fine.[7]
Colorado Ancestor or descendant, including a natural child, child by adoption, or stepchild, a brother or sister of the whole or half blood, or an uncle, aunt, nephew, or niece of the whole blood ("descendant" includes a child by adoption and a stepchild, but only if the person is not legally married to the child by adoption or the stepchild). Marriage, sexual penetration, sexual intrusion, sexual contact Incest: 2y to 6y and $2,000 (minimum) to $500,000 fine; Aggravated incest: 4y to 12 y and $3,000 (minimum) to $750,000 fine[8]
Connecticut Any person related within degrees specified in 46b-21; No man may marry his mother, grandmother, daughter, granddaughter, sister, aunt, niece, stepmother or stepdaughter, and no woman may marry her father, grandfather, son, grandson, brother, uncle, nephew, stepfather or stepson.

"a person is guilty of sexual assault in the third degree when such person engages in sexual intercourse with another person whom the actor knows to be related to him or her within any of the degrees of kindred specified in the statute that specifies which relatives are prohibited from marrying one another."[9]

Marriage; sexual intercourse 1y to 5y and $5,000 fine[10]
Delaware Without regard to legitimacy or adoption, male & his child, parent, brother, sister, grandchild, niece or nephew, father's sister or brother, mother's sister or brother, father's wife, wife's child, child of his wife's son or daughter; female & her parent, child, brother, sister, grandchild, niece or nephew, father's sister or brother, mother's sister or brother, mother's husband, husband's child, child of her husband's son or daughter. Sexual intercourse Up to 1y and $2,300 fine[11]
District of Columbia Any person related to another person (not including the 4th degree of consanguinity); marriage void if between man with his grandmother, grandfather's wife, wife's grandmother, father's sister, mother's sister, mother, stepmother, wife's mother, daughter, wife's daughter, son's wife, sister, son's daughter, daughter's daughter, son's son's wife, daughter's son's wife, wife's son's daughter, wife's daughter's daughter, brother's daughter, sister's daughter; between woman with her grandfather, grandmother's husband, husband's grandfather, father's brother, mother's brother, father, stepfather, husband's father, son, husband's son, daughter's husband, brother, son's son, daughter's son, son's daughter's husband, daughter's daughter's husband, husband's son's son, husband's daughter's son, brother's son, sister's son. Marriage, cohabitation, sexual intercourse Up to 12y and $37,500 fine[12]
Florida Any person related by lineal consanguinity, or a brother, sister, uncle, aunt, nephew, or niece Marriage, sexual intercourse (defined as the penetration of the female sex organ by the male sex organ, however slight; emission of semen is not required). Up to 5y (up to 15y in some cases) and $5,000 fine[13]
Georgia Person known to be (by blood or marriage): (1) Father and child or stepchild; (2) Mother and child or stepchild; (3) Brother and sister of the whole blood or of the half blood; (4) Grandparent and grandchild; (5) Aunt and nephew; or (6) Uncle and niece. Sexual intercourse 10y to 30y[14]
Hawaii Persons within degrees of consanguinity or affinity within which marriage is prohibited. Sexual penetration Up to 5y[15]
Idaho Persons within degrees of consanguinity which make marriages incestuous and void. Marriage, sexual intercourse, adultery Up to life imprisonment[16]
Illinois Person related to other person as a (i) Brother or sister, either of the whole blood or the half blood; or (ii) Father or mother, when the child, regardless of legitimacy and regardless of whether the child was of the whole blood or half-blood or was adopted, was 18 years of age or over when the act was committed; or (iii) Stepfather or stepmother, when the stepchild was 18 years of age or over when the act was committed . Sexual penetration 2y to 10y and $25,000 fine (more if specified)[17]
Indiana Person known to be biological parent, child, grandparent, grandchild, sibling, aunt, uncle, niece, or nephew. Sexual intercourse, deviate sexual conduct, marriage (unless valid where entered) 1y to 6y (advisory)[18]
Iowa Legitimately or illegitimately: Person knows to be ancestor, descendant, brother or sister of whole or half blood, aunt, uncle, niece or nephew. Sexual act Up to 5y and $7,500 fine[19]
Guam An ancestor or descendant, a brother or sister of the whole or half blood or an uncle, aunt, nephew or niece of the whole blood.[20] Knowing marriage or cohabitation[20] Up to 1y[21]
Kansas Person known to be biologically related as parent, child, grandparent of any degree, grandchild of any degree, brother, sister, half-brother, half-sister, uncle, aunt, nephew, niece. Marriage, sexual intercourse, sodomy 5m-13m (simple), 31m-136m (aggravated)[22]
Kentucky Known ancestor, descendant, brother, or sister without regard to legitimacy, adoption, whole or half blood, or stepparent and stepchild. Sexual intercourse or deviate sexual intercourse 5y to life imprisonment[23]
Louisiana Ascendant or descendant, brother or sister, uncle or niece, aunt or nephew (with knowledge), related by consanguinity either whole or half blood Marriage (unless married legally in another state) or sexual intercourse. 5y to 30y[1]
Maine Persons known to be within the 2nd degree of consanguinity (woman and her father, grandfather, son, grandson, brother, brother's son, sister's son, father's brother or mother's brother; man and his mother, grandmother, daughter, granddaughter, sister, brother's daughter, sister's daughter, father's sister or mother's sister). Sexual intercourse (any penetration of the female sex organ by the male sex organ) Up to 5y and/or $5000 fine[24]
Maryland Persons who may not marry, within 3 degrees of lineal consanguinity or 1 degree of collateral consanguinity (man and his grandmother; mother; daughter; sister; granddaughter; grandfather's wife; wife's grandmother; father's sister; mother's sister; stepmother; wife's mother; wife's daughter; son's wife; grandson's wife; wife's granddaughter; brother's daughter; sister's daughter. woman and her grandfather; father; son; brother; grandson; grandmother's husband; husband's grandfather; father's brother; mother's brother; stepfather; husband's father; husband's son; daughter's husband; husband's grandson; brother's son; sister's son; granddaughter's husband, brother- in law, sister- in law). Vaginal intercourse 1y to 10y[25]
Massachusetts Persons within degrees of consanguinity which make marriages incestuous and void. Marriage, sexual intercourse, sexual activities (including but not limited to, oral or anal intercourse, fellatio, cunnilingus, or other penetration of a part of a person's body, or insertion of an object into the genital or anal opening of another person's body, or the manual manipulation of the genitalia of another person's body) Up to 20y[26]
Michigan Criminal sexual conduct in the 4th degree includes when the actors are related "by blood or affinity to the third degree." Sexual contact Up to 2y or a fine of up to $500 or both[27]
Minnesota Person “nearer of kin to the actor than first cousin…whether of the half or the whole blood, with knowledge of the relationship”. Sexual intercourse Up to 10y[1]
Mississippi Person within degrees of consanguinity which make marriages incestuous and void due to blood. Marriage or cohabitation, adultery or sexual intercourse Up to 10y or $500 fine[28]
Missouri Persons known to be ancestor or descendant by blood or adoption; stepchild while the marriage creating the relationship exists; brother or sister of whole or half blood; or uncle, aunt, nephew, or niece of the whole blood. Marriage, cohabitation, sexual intercourse, sexual contact Up to 7y[25][29]
Montana Person known to an ancestor, a descendant, a brother or sister of the whole or half-blood, or a stepson or step-daughter, without regard to legitimacy, adoption, or step- relationship. Marriage, cohabitation, sexual intercourse, sexual contact Up to life imprisonment[25]
Nebraska Between parents and children, grandparents and grandchildren of every degree, between brothers and sisters of the half as well as the whole blood, and between uncles and nieces, aunts and nephews. Extend to children and relations born out of wedlock or any person who sexually penetrates a minor stepchild. Marriage, sexual penetration 1y to 25y[30]
Nevada Persons within degrees of consanguinity which make marriages incestuous and void. Marriage, fornication, adultery 2y to life imprisonment and $10,000 fine[31]
New Hampshire Person know to be an ancestor, descendant, brother or sister (whole or half blood), and uncle, aunt, nephew, or niece without regard to legitimacy, stepchildren, and relationships of parent and child by adoption. Marriage, cohabitation (under the representation of marriage), sexual intercourse 10y to 20y[32]
New Jersey When the actor is “related to the victim by blood or affinity to the 3rd degree” and the victim is at least 16 but less than 18 years old.

Underage sexual offences are increased in severity by a degree if also incestuous.

Consensual incest between people 18 years old or more is not a criminal offense.

Sexual penetration (2nd degree sexual assault) or sexual contact (4th degree criminal sexual contact) At least 15y without parole (2nd degree sexual assault) or up to 18m (4th degree criminal sexual contact)[33]
New Mexico Persons known to be parents and children (including grandparents and grandchildren of every degree), brothers and sisters of half and whole blood, uncles and nieces, aunts and nephews. Marriage or sexual intercourse Up to 3y and $5,000 fine[34]
New York Persons known to be related to him or her, whether through marriage or not, as an ancestor, descendant, brother or sister of either the whole or the half blood, uncle, aunt, nephew or niece. Marriage, sexual intercourse, oral sexual conduct, or anal sexual conduct 10y to 25y[35]
North Carolina Person that is grandparent or grandchild; parent or child or stepchild or adopted child; brother or sister of whole or half-blood; uncle aunt, nephew or niece. Carnal intercourse 10m to 182m[36]
North Dakota Persons known to be within a degree of consanguinity which makes marriages void between: parents and children, including grandparents and grandchildren of every degree; brothers and sisters of the half as well as the whole blood; uncles and nieces of the half as well as the whole blood; aunts and nephews of the half as well as the whole blood; first cousins of the half as well as the whole blood (illegitimate and legitimate children and relatives). Marriage, cohabitation, sexual activity Up to 5y and $10,000 fine[37]
Northern Mariana Islands A person who is related either legitimately or illegitimately, as

(1) an ancestor or descendant of the whole or half blood;
(2) a brother or sister of the whole or half blood; or
(3) an uncle, aunt, nephew, or niece by blood

A person 18 years of age or older engages in sexual penetration Up to 5y and $2,000 fine[38]
Ohio Actor is the victim’s “natural or adoptive parent, step-parent guardian, custodian, or person in loco parentis of the other person”. Sexual conduct 2y to 8y[39]
Oklahoma Persons within degrees of consanguinity which make a marriage incestuous and void. Marriage, fornication, adultery Up to 10y[40]
Oregon Persons known to be related, legitimately or otherwise as Ancestors, descendants, or brother or sister of whole or half blood. Marriage, sexual intercourse, deviate sexual intercourse Up to 20y and $375,000 fine[41]
Pennsylvania Ancestor or descendant, a brother or sister of whole or half-blood, or an uncle, aunt, nephew, or niece of whole blood (blood relationships without regard to legitimacy, and relationship of parent and child by adoption). Marriage, cohabitation, sexual intercourse Up to 10y[42]
Puerto Rico 1) Ascendants and descendants in all degrees

2) Collateral by consanguinity up to the third degree.
including double-tie relationships as well as single ties, and includes the relationship of parent and child by adoption or brother and sister by adoption.[43]

Intermarriage or sexual intercourse with each other[43] 4y to 10y[43]
Rhode Island No person shall marry his or her sibling, parent, grandparent, child, grandchild, stepparent, grandparents' spouse, spouse's child, spouse's grandchild, sibling's child or parent's sibling.

Consensual incest between people 16 years old or more is not a criminal offense.

Marriage None[44]
South Carolina (1) A man with his mother, grandmother, daughter, granddaughter, stepmother, sister, grandfather's wife, son's wife, grandson's wife, wife's mother, wife's grandmother, wife's daughter, wife's granddaughter, brother's daughter, sister's daughter, father's sister or mother's sister; (2) A woman with her father, grandfather, son, grandson, stepfather, brother, grandmother's husband, daughter's husband, granddaughter's husband, husband's father, husband's grandfather, husband's son, husband's grandson, brother's son, sister's son, father's brother or mother's brother. Carnal intercourse 6m to 5y and $500 minimum fine[45]
South Dakota Marriages between parents and children, ancestors and descendants of every degree, and between brothers and sisters of the half as well as the whole blood, and between uncles and nieces, or aunts and nephews, and between cousins of the half as well as of the whole blood, are null and void from the beginning, whether the relationship is legitimate or illegitimate and include such relationships that arise through adoption. Mutually consensual sexual penetration Up to 15y and $30,000 fine[46]
Tennessee Any person known to be natural parent, child, grandparent, grandchild, uncle, aunt, nephew, niece, stepparent, stepchild, adoptive parent, adoptive child or brother and sister of the half or whole blood. Sexual penetration 3y to 15y and up to $10,000 fine[47]
Texas Person known to be ancestor or descendant by blood or adoption; current or former stepchild or stepparent; parent's brother or sister of the whole or half blood; brother or sister of the whole or half blood or by adoption; children of the actor's brother or sister of the whole or half blood or by adoption; the son or daughter of the actor's aunt or uncle of the whole or half blood or by adoption. Sexual intercourse (any penetration of the female sex organ by the male sex organ), deviate sexual intercourse (any contact between the genitals of one person and the mouth or anus of another person with intent to arouse or gratify the sexual desire of any person) 2y to 20y and up to $10,000 fine[48]
United States Virgin Islands No information No information No information
Utah Person known to be ancestor, descendant, brother, sister, uncle, aunt, nephew, niece, or first cousin, without regard to whole or half blood relationship, legitimacy, parent and child by adoption, or relationship of stepparent and stepchild while the marriage creating the relationship of a stepparent and stepchild exists. Sexual intercourse (not amounting to rape, rape of a child or aggravated sexual assault) Up to 5y and $5,000 fine[49]
Vermont Persons for whom marriage are prohibited by state law. Marriage, fornication Up to 5y and $1,000 fine[50]
Virginia Persons for who marriages are prohibited; relations with children and grandchildren. Adultery or fornication 1y to 10y (18 years of age or older); 5y to 20y and up to $100,000 fine (under 18 years of age) [51]
Washington Persons known to be related to him or her, either legitimately or illegitimately, as an ancestor, descendant, brother, or sister of either the whole or the half blood. 1st degree incest: sexual intercourse; 2nd degree incest: Sexual contact 1st degree incest: up to 10y and up to $20,000 fine; 2nd degree incest: up to 5y and up to $10,000 fine;[52]
West Virginia Engaging with his or her father, mother, brother, sister, daughter, son, grandfather, grandmother, grandson, granddaughter, nephew, niece, uncle or aunt. The definition of parent and child includes adoptive and step. Sexual intercourse (any act between persons involving penetration, however slight, of the female sex organ by the male sex organ or involving contact between the sex organs of one person and the mouth or anus of another person) or sexual intrusion (any act between persons involving penetration, however slight, of the female sex organ or of the anus of any person by an object for the purpose of degrading or humiliating the person so penetrated or for gratifying the sexual desire of either party) 5y to 15y and $500 to $5,000 fine[53]
Wisconsin Persons known to be blood relatives and such relative is in fact related in a degree within the marriage is prohibited by the law Marriage or nonmarital sexual intercourse. Up to 40y and $100,000 fine[54]
Wyoming Persons known to be an ancestor or descendant or a brother or sister of the whole or half blood, including relationships of parent and child by adoption, blood relationships without regard to legitimacy, stepparent and stepchild. Sexual intrusion, sexual contact Up to 15y and $10,000 fine[55]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c d State Criminal Incest Statutes, National District Attorneys association
  2. ^ Code of Ala. § 13A-13-3 and 13A-5-6
  3. ^ Alaska Stat. § 11-41-450, 12.55.125 and 12.55.35
  4. ^ "AMERICAN SAMOA CODE ANN. § 46.3802 (2004). INCEST" (PDF). National Indian Country Clearinghouse on Sexual Assault. 
  5. ^ A.R.S. § 13.3608 and and Incest Statutes 2013
  6. ^ A.C.A.§ 5-26-202, and Ave Mince-Didier, Arkansas Felony Crimes by Class and Sentences
  7. ^ Cal Pen Code § 285 Archived 2016-05-12 at the Wayback Machine. and 785
  8. ^ C.R.S. § 18-6-301 (1), 18-6-302 and Ave Mince-Didier, Colorado Felony Crimes by Class and Sentences
  9. ^ 7.1-9 Sexual Assault in the Third Degree -- § 53a-72a (a) (2)
  10. ^ Conn Gen Stat § 53a-191 and Ave Mince-Didier Connecticut Felony Crimes by Class and Sentences
  11. ^ 11 Del C § 766 and 4206
  12. ^ D.C. Code § 22-1901
  13. ^ Fla Stat § 826.04, 775.082, 775.083 and 775.084
  14. ^ O.C.G.A. § 16-6-22
  15. ^ Haw. Rev. Stat. § 707-741 and 706-660
  16. ^ Idaho Code § 18-6602
  17. ^ ILCS § 720 ILCS 5/11-11 and PENALTIES FOR CRIMES IN ILLINOIS, LEGISLATIVE RESEARCH UNIT, ILLINOIS GENERAL ASSEMBLY
  18. ^ Ind Cod Ann § 35-46-1-3 and Indianapolis Criminal Defense Attorney Blog: A Look at the New Criminal Code, Indianapolis Criminal Defense Attorney Blog, Banks & Bower LLC, June 29, 2014
  19. ^ Iowa Code § 726.2 and Ave Mince-Didier, Iowa Felony Crimes by Class and Sentences
  20. ^ a b "Title 9 § 31.15, Criminal and Correctional Code" (PDF). Unified courts of Guam. 
  21. ^ "Title 9 § 80.34, Criminal and Correctional Code" (PDF). Unified courts of Guam. 
  22. ^ K.S.A. § 21-3602, 21-3603 and Sentencing, kansas-criminal-defense-law.com (Incest is classified as a level 10 person felony, aggravated incest is classified as a level 5 person felony)
  23. ^ K.R.S. § 530.020 and Ave Mince-Didier, Kentucky Felony Crimes by Class and Sentences
  24. ^ 17-A M.R.S.§ 556 and [William T. Bly, Classification of Crimes in Maine
  25. ^ a b c Statutory Compilation Regarding Incest, National District Attorneys association
  26. ^ ALM GL ch 272 § 17
  27. ^ MCLS § [1]
  28. ^ Miss. Code § 97-29-27
  29. ^ MO. REV. STAT. § 568.020
  30. ^ R.R.S. Neb. § 28-703 in NEBRASKA, Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network
  31. ^ Nev. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 201.180 in NEBRASKA, Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network
  32. ^ RSA § 639:2 in CHAPTER 639, Title LXII, Criminal Code of New Hampshire
  33. ^ N.J.S.A. 2C:14-2(b-c) and N.J.S.A. 2C:14-3 in NEW JERSEY, Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network
  34. ^ N.M. Stat. § 30-10-3 and SENTENCING - THIRD DEGREE FELONY, Judicial Education Center, University of New Mexico
  35. ^ N.Y. Penal Law §130.95 in New York, Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network
  36. ^ N.C. Gen. Stat. § 14-178 in SUBCHAPTER VII. OFFENSES AGAINST PUBLIC MORALITY AND DECENCY. Article 26., North Carolina Statutes and Mark Theoharis, North Carolina Felony Crimes by Class and Sentences
  37. ^ N.D. Code § 12.1-20-11 in CHAPTER 12.1-20, SEX OFFENSES and CHAPTER 12.1-32, PENALTIES AND SENTENCING in North Dakota Statutes
  38. ^ "Title 6 § 1311, Criminal and Correctional Code" (PDF). CNMI Law Revision Commission. 
  39. ^ Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 2907.03 in Ohio, Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network
  40. ^ Section 885 - Incest - Penalty, Oklahoma Statutes Citationized, Title 21, Chapter 34
  41. ^ Or. Rev. Stat. § 163.375 in Oregon, Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network
  42. ^ 18 Pa.C.S. §4302 and 15 Pa.C.S. § 15.66
  43. ^ a b c Puerto Rico (USA) - Age of Sexual Consent, ageofconsent.com/
  44. ^ TITLE 15, CHAPTER 15-1, SECTION 15-1-1 and SECTION 15-1-4
  45. ^ SECTION 16-15-20 in South Carolina Code of Laws, Unannotated, Current through the end of the 2014 Session
  46. ^ S.D. Codified laws § 22-22A-2, 22-22A-3
  47. ^ Tenn. Code § 39-15-302 and Ave Mince-Didier, Tennessee Felony Crimes by Class and Sentences
  48. ^ Tex. Penal Cod. § 25.02 and § 12-33 in Texas Penal Code, Title 3, Chapter 12, Subchapter A
  49. ^ Utah Code § 76-7-102 and Ave Mince-Didier, Utah Felony Crimes by Class and Sentences
  50. ^ 13 V.S.A. § 205
  51. ^ Va. Code § 18.2-361, 18.2-366 and Ave Mince-Didier, Felony Crimes by Class and Sentences
  52. ^ ARCW § 9A.64.020 and 9A.20.021 in Chapter 9A.20 RCW, Washington State Legislature
  53. ^ W. Va. Code § 61-8-12
  54. ^ Wis. Stat. §944.06 Wis. Stat. §948.06
  55. ^ Wyo. Stat. § 6-4-402 in ARTICLE 4, Title 6, Wyoming Statutes

External linksEdit