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]