If someone is at a bar/restaurant talking to someone, and they accidentally ask them to make plans not knowing they're under age, is there a law that requires them to know their age first (i.e. carding)?

  • AFAIK it is not illegal to ask anyone of any age out on a date, however, what is illegal is for an adult to groom a child for sex. "Date" covers such a wide variety of human activity from the platonic to the depraved that it is really impossible to answer without more specificity.
    – Dale M
    Jun 2 '16 at 7:24
  • 1
    I'm trying to read between the lines and it seems the question you really want to ask is: Is "I didn't know her true age." an affirmative defense to statutory rape? Is that the actual question you really want to ask? Jun 2 '16 at 8:20
  • only if it goes past giving them your number.
    – person
    Jun 2 '16 at 14:39
  • Possibly a case to watch ... The Kentucky Teens. He claims she told him she was 18, she was 13...
    – Scott
    Jun 2 '16 at 17:20
  • If she is old enough then asking her age quite likely means no date...
    – gnasher729
    Nov 22 '16 at 9:57

The United States does not recognize the idea of a "date" as an event, and therefore there are no requirements for whom you take or do not take on a date. However, if that date involves drinking, drinking laws apply; if that date involves smoking tobacco products, tobacco laws apply; if that date involves sex, sex laws apply, including and especially those governing consent and a required age for the same. And this makes sense.

Think about it. How easy would it be for two people to spent a few hours getting coffee, seeing a theme park or exploring Paris, wherein one sees it as a date, and the other sees it as two friends hanging out? A "date" is an extraordinarily rough definition of an event, and the sort of thing two people or any number of people could very easily disagree upon, making it very hard to regulate. On the other hand, there's a fairly firm legal definition of what it is to drink and not to drink, to use tobacco or not to use tobacco, and to have sex or not have sex. These things can be clearly delineated; a date on the other hand would just be a pain to lawmakers to try to deal with.

I would however advise you to consider that states have jurisdiction as well, even though their result is the same (no legal definition of date as far as I know).


To my knowledge and having conducted a number of searches of databases of legislation using a variety of queries, there are no laws requiring persons in the US to ascertain the age of anyone prior to asking them on a date (and actually no laws relating to "dates" at all).

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