Sex Crimes & Sexual Felonies
Texas Law & Statutory Rape Offenses

Texas Law & Statutory Rape Offenses

The state of Texas has stringent laws on statutory rape and the minimum consent year for sex is 17 years. Therefore, if the victim is below 18 years, then they can’t give consent for sex. And if an older adult engages in sex with these minors, it’s considered statutory rape even if the victim consents to the act. In cases of statutory rape, the prosecutors only have to prove that sex occurred between minors below 18 years and nothing else. If you’re charged with a crime like this or know someone who is, contact a criminal defense lawyer with sex crime experience as soon as possible.

In Texas, sexual assault on minors is a serious offense, and this was constituted to help teens and children who the society considers as not old enough to give consent for sex.

Penalties for Statutory Rape

In Texas, the penalties for statutory rape are classified into:

Sexual Assault

Sexual assault refers to the penetration of minors (those who are under 18 years). If the adult is at least three years older than the victim, the case is considered second-degree felony. The punishment for this offense is a jail term of 2 to 20 years.

Aggravated Sexual Assault

This refers to the sexual penetration of minors who are under 14 years; it’s considered a first-degree felony. The punishment for this offense is 5 to 99 years’ imprisonment.

Indecency with child

Indecency refers to inappropriate sexual contact with a child i.e. touching them on private parts. However, it doesn’t include sexual penetration, and the accused can be jailed for 2 to 20 years for this offense.

Romeo and Juliet Laws

Most states including Texas have enacted some provisions in their law called “Romeo and Juliet laws”. In Texas, this law helps to protect teens who engage in sex with minors who have a small age difference with them.

Some of the conditions that fulfill these laws include when there is less than 3 years’ age difference between the victim and defendant. The victim should also be at 14 years and above when the crime occurred, and the defendant must not have been reported as the sexual offender before the alleged act occurred. Finally, the sexual act between the two parties should be consensual.

For instance, if Tim is 19 years and he is dating 17-year old Emma, and they are both in Texas, then their acts of sex cannot be concluded as statutory rape provided it is consensual. But Tim should also not have been registered before as a sexual offender for this case to apply. In this case, Noah will be protected from prosecution as they also have a minor age difference with the minor.

How to fight a case against Statutory Rape in Texas?

If you are in Texas, and you are accused of statutory rape, you will need some good strategies to fight the case. For instance, you can argue that you have been falsely accused. Other strategies are:

  • Highlighting the inaccuracies and holes in witness testimony
  • The arrest of the wrong person
  • Alibi
  • Unlawful collection or usage of evidence
  • Use of entrapment or duress to arrest you

Other Defenses for Statutory Rape Cases

Other times, most individuals don’t qualify for the Romeo and Juliet exceptions. In that case, they have to fight hard to prove their innocence. Even if they shared a consensual relationship with the victim, it’s not enough to develop a strong defense in their statutory. But the defense lawyer can apply other defensive strategies that will help lower the charge or even eliminate it. These include:

Marriage

Though there is a consensual component for the statutory rape charges, some exceptions exist and this includes married couples. Therefore, if the individual is less than 17 years and they are married to the defendant, then the charges will be dropped.

Evidence

Depending on the case, skilled lawyers can examine the victim’s testimony, interrogating evidence and motives of the victim to show that the crime was not committed.

Medical

If there is no contact with the mouth, anus, or sexual organs of the victim, then the prosecution can use it to argue the case.

The Bottom Line

Hire a Criminal Justice Attorney for Help!

The state of Texas has stringent laws on statutory rape and its penalties. But if you can argue your case or if you are exempted based on the surrounding circumstances, then your charges can be dropped. but it’s always wise to get a skilled attorney.