age,n. A period of time; esp., a period of individual existence or the duration of a person’s life.

• In American usage, age is stated in full years completed (so that someone 15 years of age might

actually be 15 years and several months old). State statutes define various types of ages, as shown

in the subentries.

age  of  capacity.The  age,  usu.  defined  by  statute  as  18  years,  at  which  a  person  is  legally

capable of agreeing to a contract, maintaining a lawsuit, or the like. • A person may be authorized

to make certain critical personal deci-sions at an earlier age than the general age of capacity, such

as  the  decision  whether  to  bear  a  child,  to  donate  blood,  to  obtain  treatment  for  sexually

transmitted diseases, to marry, or to write a will. The age of capacity to write a will is typically not

18,  but  14.  —  Also  termed  age  of  majority;  legal  age;  lawful  age.  See  CAPACITY(2).  [Cases:

Infants    1. C.J.S. Infants §§ 2–4.]

age  of  consent.The  age,  usu.  defined  by  statute  as  16  years,  at  which  a  person  is  legally

capable of agreeing to marriage (without parental consent) or to sexual intercourse. • If a person

over the age of consent has sexual intercourse with a person  under the age of consent, the  older

person may be prosecuted for statutory rape re-gardless of whether the younger person consented

to the act. See statutory rape under RAPE. [Cases: Infants    5; Marriage    19. C.J.S. Infants § 111;

Marriage § 26.]

age of criminal responsibility.The age at which a child may be held responsible for a criminal

act.  •  In  American  criminal  law,  some  state  statutes  allow  a  child  as  young  as  7  to  be  held

responsible (as a juvenile) for some acts. See, e.g., N.D. Cent. Code § 12.1-04-01. The minimum

age for imposing adult liability is as low as 10. See, e.g.,Ind. Code  Ann. § 31-30-3–4(3). But in

some circumstances, at least one state allows an offender to be tried as an adult at any age. See,

e.g., Mich. Comp. Laws Ann. § 712A.2d.

age of discretion. 1. The age at which a person is considered responsible for certain acts and

competent to exercise certain powers. • For example, a person must be a legal adult to be eligible

to serve a summons. 2.PUBERTY.

age of majority. 1. The age, usu. defined by statute as 18 years, at which a person attains full

legal rights, esp. civil and political rights such as the right to vote. • The age of majority must be

the same for men and women. In almost all states today, the age of majority is 18, but the age at

which a person may legally purchase and consume alcohol is 21. — Also termed lawful age; legal

age. 2. See age of capacity. — Also termed (in both senses) full age. [Cases: Child Support    389;

Infants    1; Parent and Child    16. C.J.S. Infants §§ 2–4; Parent and Child §§ 13–37.]

age of reason.The age at which a person becomes able to distinguish right from wrong and is

thus legally capable of committing a crime or tort. • The age of reason varies from jurisdiction to

jurisdiction, but 7 years is traditionally the age below which a child is conclusively presumed not

to  have  committed  a  crime  or  tort,  while  14  years  is  usu.  the  age  below  which  a  rebuttable

presumption applies. A child of 14 or older has traditionally been considered legally competent to

commit  a  crime  and  therefore  held  accountable.  With  the  creation  of  juvenile  courts  and  their

investiture  of  delinquency  jurisdiction  over  children  from  birth  to  age  18,  these  traditional

distinctions have nearly vanished. They surface from time to time in murder cases when a juvenile

court considers whether to certify or transfer a very young child for trial in criminal court or when

a prosecutor seeks to bypass the juvenile court by  filing criminal charges against a young child.

[Cases: Infants    59, 66. C.J.S. Infants §§ 189, 197, 204.]

fighting age.The age at which a person becomes eligible to serve in (or liable to conscription

into) a military unit. [Cases: Armed Services    17, 20.4(1). C.J.S. Armed Services § 42.]

full age.See age of majority.

lawful age. 1. See age of capacity. 2. See age of majority (1).

legal age. 1. See age of capacity. 2. See age of majority (1). [Blacks Law 8th]