Incest Laws by State


Penalties for incest vary according to each state; in Kansas, for instance, incest is considered a severity-level 10-person felony.

Incest can occur if a person engages in sexual intercourse or marriage with certain family members, including their ancestors and descendants, (half) siblings, aunts and uncles, and nieces and nephews. These relationships could also include adoption.


Sexual relations among family members are illegal across the U.S. due to genetic defects in children. Many states have specific laws outlining penalties for those engaging in incest, with some specifying characteristics needed for an intimate relationship to qualify as incestuous; laws vary by state and may include minimum prison sentences as punishments.

Most states prohibit sexual relations between parents and their children, brothers or sisters, spouses, first cousins, uncles and aunts, nieces and nephews, and grandparents; some states prohibit relationships among these relatives, while others allow intimate relationships as long as neither party are parental figures. Further laws differ by state regarding marriage between related individuals; some outlaw it while others permit it provided they don’t involve parental figures in their relationships.

Arizona lawmakers are currently discussing legislation that would criminalize all incest between adult family members, following in the footsteps of Mississippi laws being challenged in the U.S. Supreme Court. Critics claim the bill may force victims to seek medical care outside of Arizona to carry their pregnancies to term, forcing them to beg or borrow money.

Arizona law classifies incest as a severity level 10 felony, carrying with it up to four years in prison for those found guilty. Incest is considered an assault which carries with it higher penalties than non-drug related crimes, such as engaging in incest with anyone known to the offender by blood, stepfamily, or adoption relationships; engaging in sexual intercourse, sodomy, or lewd fondling with such persons also counts as offenses against Arizona statute.

Incest between a parent and their child is illegal in Colorado. Penalties vary depending on the victim’s age; more severe sanctions apply if they are under 21 or 14. Incest between parents and their children also constitutes a crime in Georgia, though its penalties tend to be less stringent.


Arkansas law forbids marriage and sexual intercourse among people who share certain kinship, such as ancestors and descendants, (half) siblings, aunts or uncles and nieces or nephews, or parents and their adopted children through legal adoption. A person could face incest charges for engaging in any sexual act against any such family member – an offense punishable with heavy fines and prison terms.

New Hampshire laws make it unlawful for people to marry and engage in sexual relations with people related to them by sure degrees, such as their ancestors or descendants, brothers and sisters, (half) siblings, aunts or uncles, and nieces or nephews – also including legal or step-parent adoption relationships between parents and their children. Any individual engaging in sexual acts with any such relative could face charges of incest regardless of the nature of their relationship or whether it was consensual.

Individuals may also be charged with aggravated incest if they commit any sexual act against an immediate relative, such as raping a non-biological child or engaging in incestual relations with their spouse while having sexual relations with their partner. Penalties for incestual crimes vary by jurisdiction.

Some states also regulate how children of incestuous couples should be raised, including how the process involves issues like property division, alimony payments, custody arrangements, and child support payments. An experienced legal professional can offer more information on this process and assist a person in gathering all of the required paperwork. In addition, they can help victims of incest rape find justice and compensation while offering guidance regarding any legal options available to couples looking to divorce; penalties for incest rape vary by state but typically include lengthy prison terms and heavy fines for violations committed within them.


The legality of incest varies significantly by state depending on its definition and penalties for incest, with adult-on-adult incest usually classified as a felony that could lead to years in jail. In contrast, incest against children is generally punished more harshly than other instances of sexual abuse or assault. Anyone convicted of such offenses may also have to register as a sexual offender with authorities, with potentially significant and lasting repercussions for themselves and society.

Nearly all states criminalize incest between close relatives, typically prohibiting intimate relations between siblings and parents and children or grandchildren and grandparents. Furthermore, most states criminalize incest between parents and adult children, and some states prohibit marriages between uncles, aunts, nieces, nephews, or cousins; However, laws vary regarding what degree of consanguinity would render such marriage invalid.

Penalties for incest in Washington depend on the degree and nature of the relationship, as well as whether the victim was a minor. A man committing incest with his daughter can face up to six years in prison, while women who commit incest with their son could face twelve. Furthermore, conviction of either incest or aggravated incest can result in lifetime supervision (i.e., electronic tagging) under Washington State’s Lifetime Supervision of Sex Offenders Act.

If you have been charged with a sexual offense, an experienced criminal defense lawyer can explain the law and your rights while building a solid case to prove your innocence. With long-term consequences associated with a conviction for such offenses, action must be taken quickly by consulting an attorney familiar with this area of the law.

An attorney can also help you understand time limits for filing criminal charges, known as statutes of limitations. He or she can help ensure that you file within this period; some states also offer survivors of childhood sexual abuse the ability to bring civil lawsuits even after these statutes of limitation have elapsed.

West Virginia

Incest laws generally forbid marriage or sexual relations among close relatives, including criminal penalties for such relationships, regardless of any consent involved. According to your jurisdiction, prohibited relationships could include parents and their unmarried children (even if not married), whole-blood siblings of different bloodlines who may or may not be married, grandparents and grandchildren, aunts/uncles/nieces/nephews/nephews as well as step and adoptive relationships.

Incest penalties vary widely by state but typically include lengthy prison sentences. Incest committed against children is particularly serious and could lead to life imprisonment; those found guilty will often also need to register as sexual offenders and register their crimes with authorities.

West Virginia considers any act that engages in sexual intercourse or penetration with any relative (ancestor, descendant, brother/sister of both the whole blood or half blood family; aunts/uncles/nieces/nephews who are step or adoptive relations; as well as any aunt, uncle, niece or nephew (including action and adoptive relations) illegal. Furthermore, it is unlawful for someone to engage in such behavior with their spouse’s child, grandchild, sibling’s spouse/ step-children’s sibling as part of an act of incest.

An individual commits second-degree incest if they engage in sexual contact with an ancestor, descendant, uncle, or aunt; with any of their spouse’s relatives; or with anyone related by blood, such as grandchildren or sibling spouses. Sexual penetration with one’s spouse, partner, or parent and oral sex with any children related by blood is also illegal.

Although these laws are stringent, people still commit acts of incest unknowingly or unawares. An experienced attorney can help those charged with incest defend against such charges by asserting that they did not have knowledge of their relationship with the other party and their actions were consensual – significant if both parties involved are adults and not minors, as it should not be for the state to interfere in private affairs of consenting adults. Parental rights of individuals who had children through incestuous relationships vary between states. Still, many will receive benefits regarding specific responsibilities and duties towards their children based on certain responsibilities and duties towards them and them being entitled to particular responsibilities and duties towards them and them in return from states it should.