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Incest Laws By State 2021

Incest is defined as a sexual relationship between two closely related family members. The relationship between the two people is so close that they are unable to legally get married.

In the United States, incest laws prohibited intimate relationships between children and parents, siblings, and grandchildren and grandparents. Almost all states criminalize incest between adults. Some states also prohibit intimate relations between aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, and cousins. Additionally, state laws vary regarding half- and step-relatives and adopted relatives. States also have minimum age laws for marriage to help prevent child marriage, which could help prevent incestual relationships.

In the majority of states in the United States, incest is illegal. The punishments associated with engaging in an incestuous relationship vary by state. In many cases, incest is not revealed to outside parties, so the parties involved are not prosecuted.

In the states of New Jersey and Rhode Island, incest between adults is legal. However, neither state permits marriage. In New Jersey, each person involved in the relationship must be at least 18 years old. In Rhode Island, the age of consent is 16 years old.

In Georgia, incest laws are limited to heterosexual intimate relationships. Intercourse between fathers and daughters and mothers and sons is illegal. This includes any half- and step-children and siblings, and extended family. In North Dakota, incest includes marriage and cohabitation between first cousins or anyone closer than first cousins, even if half-related. Second and third cousins are generally free to marry in most states, and first cousins are generally allowed to have relationships.

In Ohio, incest is legally allowed provided that one party is not a parental figure to the other party.

In all other states, incest is illegal. The punishments for engaging in an incestuous relationship by state are as follows:

  • Alabama: 1 to 10 years in prison and a fine up to $15,000
  • Alaska: 2 to 12 years in prison and a fine up to $50,000
  • Arizona: 1 to 3.75 years in prison
  • Arkansas: 3 to 10 years in prison and a fine of $10,000
  • California: Probation or up to 3 years in prison and a fine of $10,000
  • Colorado: 2 to 12 years in prison and a fine of $2,000 to $750,000
  • Connecticut: 1 to 5 years in prison and a fine of $5,000
  • Delaware: Up to 1 year in prison and a fine of $2,300
  • District of Columbia: Up to 12 years in prison and a fine of $37,500
  • Florida: Up to 15 years in prison and a fine of $5,000
  • Georgia: 10 to 30 years in prison
  • Hawaii: Up to 5 years in prison
  • Idaho: Up to a life sentence in prison
  • Illinois: 2 to 10 years in prison and a $25,000 fine
  • Indiana: 1 to 6 years in prison
  • Iowa: Up to 5 years in prison and a fine of $7,500
  • Kansas: 5 months to 136 months in prison
  • Kentucky: 5 years to life in prison
  • Louisiana: 5 years to 30 years
  • Maine: Up to 5 years in prison and/or a $5,000 fine
  • Maryland: 1 to 10 years in prison
  • Massachusetts: Up to 20 years in prison
  • Michigan: Up to 2 years in prison and/or a fine up to $500
  • Minnesota: Up to 10 years in prison
  • Mississippi: Up to 10 years in prison or a fine up to $500
  • Missouri: Up to 7 years in prison
  • Montana: Up to a life sentence in prison
  • Nebraska: 1 to 25 years in prison
  • Nevada: 2 years to life in prison and a fine of $10,000
  • New Hampshire: 10 to 20 years in prison
  • New Jersey: At least 15 years without parole for 2nd-degree assault; up to 18 months for criminal sexual contact
  • New Mexico: Up to 3 years in prison and a fine of $5,000
  • New York: 10 to 25 years in prison
  • North Carolina: 10 months to 182 months in prison
  • North Dakota: Up to 5 years in prison and a fine of $10,000
  • Ohio: 2 to 6 years in prison
  • Oklahoma: Up to 10 years in prison
  • Oregon: Up to 20 years in prison and a fine of $375,000
  • Pennsylvania: Up to 10 years in prison
  • Rhode Island: No criminal prosecution for consensual incest between parties aged 16 or older
  • South Carolina: 6 months to 5 years in prison and a minimum fine of $500
  • South Dakota: Up to 15 years in prison and a fine of $30,000
  • Tennessee: 3 to 15 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000
  • Texas: 2 to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000
  • Utah: Up to 5 years in prison and a fine of $5,000
  • Vermont: Up to 5 years in prison and a fine of $1,000
  • Virginia: 1 to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $100,000
  • Washington: Up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000
  • West Virginia: 5 to 15 years in prison and a fine of $500, to $5,000
  • Wisconsin: Up to 40 years in prison and a fine of $100,000
  • Wyoming: Up to 15 years in prison and a fine of $10,000

Incest Laws By State 2021

State Incest Legality Prison Sentence Fine
Rhode IslandNo criminal prosecution for 16+
New Jersey18 months to over 15 years
WyomingUp to 15 years$10,000
WisconsinUp to 40 years$100,000
West Virginia5 to 15 years$500 to $5,000
WashingtonUp to 10 yearsUp to $10,000
Virginia1 to 20 yearsUp to $100,000
VermontUp to 5 years$1,000
UtahUp to 5 years$5,000
Texas2 to 20 yearsUp to $10,000
Tennessee3 to 15 yearsUp to $10,000
South DakotaUp to 15 years$30,000
South Carolina6 months to 5 yearsMinimum $500
PennsylvaniaUp to 10 years
OregonUp to 20 years$375,000
OklahomaUp to 10 years
Ohio2 to 6 years
North DakotaUp to 5 years$10,000
North Carolina10 to 182 months
New York10 to 25 years
New MexicoUp to 3 years$5,000
New Hampshire10 to 20 years
Nevada2 years to life$10,000
Nebraska1 to 25 years
MontanaUp to a life sentence
MissouriUp to 7 years
MississippiUp to 10 years$500
MinnesotaUp to 10 years
MichiganUp to 2 years$500
MassachusettsUp to 20 years
Maryland1 to 10 years
MaineUp to 5 years$5,000
Louisiana5 to 30 years
Kentucky5 years to life
Kansas5 to 136 months
IowaUp to 5 years$7,500
Indiana1 to 6 years
Illinois2 to 10 years$25,000
IdahoUp to a life sentence
HawaiiUp to 5 years
Georgia10 to 30 years
FloridaUp to 15 years$5,000
DelawareUp to 1 year$2,300
Connecticut1 to 5 years$5,000
Colorado2 to 12 yearsUp to $750,000
CaliforniaUp to 3 years$10,000
Arkansas3 to 10 years$10,000
Arizona1 to 3.75 years
Alaska2 to 12 yearsUp to $50,000
Alabama1 to 10 yearsUp to $15,000

Incest Laws By State 2021