December 22, 2023
The age of consent pertains to the age at which someone can legally take part in consensual sexual activities. In Texas, the age of consent is set at 17 years old. Therefore, anyone who is at least 17 is considered capable of giving their consent to engage in sexual acts with another consenting adult.
If you engage in sex with someone under the age of 17 and are over three years older than the other party, then you’re subject to the charge of either indecency with a child (when no penetration or intercourse was involved) or statutory rape. If any force or coercion is involved, the charge escalates to sexual assault.
However, if you have sex with a minor, the prosecutor is not under any obligation to show that any force, violence, or coercion was involved. Contact is enough – consensual or non-consensual.
Even if you were not aware that the victim was underage, you can still spend time in jail and face a fine. In addition, you may have to register as a sex offender – a label that may follow you for the test of your life.
For example, you may be a college student and may have met someone in a bar, assuming they were old enough to be legally present at the establishment. However, you didn’t know you were having sex with a minor. You can still get in trouble legally. That is why you need to contact a sex crime attorney who can help build a defense that will lead to a more favorable outcome.
Statutory rape is a second-degree felony that comes with a two to 20-year prison sentence. If a minor is younger than 14, an alleged perpetrator can face five to 99 years in prison.
The other consequences a defendant can face for consensual sex with a minor include:
An adult may use two major defenses if they have a consensual defense with someone who is not the age of consent. The two parties must be legally married, or the adult should be up to 3 years older than the minor. So, an adult who is 19 years old can have consensual sex with a minor. However, this defense does not apply to coerced or forced sexual contact or intercourse.
Texas acknowledges a “Romeo and Juliet” exception to the age of consent laws. This provision aims to prevent acts between teenagers who are close in age from being treated as criminal offenses.
Therefore, the Romeo and Juliet exception is a provision that offers a defense against statutory rape accusations when the individuals involved are within three years of age and at least 14 years old.
Anyone engaging in sex with a minor who is under 14 years old is considered a criminal offender and is subject to severe legal penalties. The first-degree felony can lead to incarceration of 5 to 99 years and a fine of up to $10,000.
Defendants facing cases related to the age of consent have legal defenses they can employ. Some other defenses include:
Therefore, defendants who are facing charges related to the age of consent should seek representation from an experienced lawyer – someone specializing in sex crimes for proper guidance and support.
If you’re facing a sex crime charge in Texas, speak to a professional sex crime attorney. Contact R. Scott Magee, Attorney at Law, PLLC, to schedule a consultation.
Contact R. Scott Magee, Attorney at Law, to receive expert guidance and dedicated representation for your criminal defense case.
Categories: Criminal Defense