As the penalties can be very severe, if you have been accused of a sex crime, contact an experienced criminal defense lawyer.

When the two rekindled their relationship, it was a violation of the young man's probation, which led to the young man being sentenced to five to 15 years in prison.

He served six years behind bars and, once released, had to register as a sex offender.

If the court finds that the sexual relationship was consensual and the offender is not a threat to the public, it can exempt the offender from future sex offender registration.

However, the new law has limits on its protections.

Even if the person charged is cleared of the charge, lasting damage to the older person's career and reputation may result.

An adult who mistakenly believes that a young person is over the age of 17 when the young person is actually under the age of 17, can be charged with a sex crime. Even under the new laws, there is still the possibility for young lovers to run afoul of the law.

In a particularly poignant example, an 18-year-old high school senior was arrested for having sex with his freshman girlfriend at the same high school.

As the age of consent in this particular state is 16, which the girlfriend was not, the 18-year-old pleaded guilty to criminal sexual misconduct and was sentenced to one year in jail plus three years' probation.

He now must wear a GPS device so his daily movements can be monitored.

Some state legislatures, such as Texas, have responded to the parental demands for change by enacting so-called "Romeo and Juliet" Law.

Although the new law protects the older party in the relationship from having to register as a sex offender, it does not make the older party immune from prosecution based on other sex-related crimes such as statutory rape.