In the state of Texas, those aged 17 or younger do not legally have the
ability to give informed consent to sexual activities. Therefore, an adult
aged 18 or older who engages in sex with them is said to have committed
a crime known as “statutory rape,” even if the sex was actually
consensual. In statutory rape cases, the prosecution is not required to
prove that any force or violence was involved, just that sexual conduct
occurred between an adult and someone younger than the age of 18.
Penalties of Statutory Rape
In the state of Texas, statutory rape is broken down into three sub-categories:
Aggravated Sexual Assault, which includes any sexual penetration of a minor under the age of 14,
is a first-degree felony, which can land you between five and 99 years
Sexual Assault, which includes any sexual penetration of a minor who is 17 or younger
and an adult who is
more than three years older than the victim, is a second-degree felony, which can be penalized with
a prison sentence between two and 20 years in length.
Indecency with a Child includes sexual contact and touching other than penetration with a minor
who is 17 or younger and an adult who is
more than three years older than the victim. This is a second-degree felony, which can be penalized
with a prison sentence between two and 20 years in length.
The “Romeo & Juliet Exception”
Perhaps somewhat appropriately, this law gets its name from the famous
star-crossed young lovers from Shakespeare’s play by the same name.
This law is designed to prevent serious criminal charges from being levied
upon teenagers who engage in consensual sex with another person who is
close to their own age. This applies to a minor who is between the ages
of 14-17 who has consensual sex with someone who is less than three years
older than they are.
One of the less-frequent exceptions to statutory rape allows for consensual
sex between a married minor and their adult spouse, even though the law
would prohibit them from sex outside of marriage. This law is meant to
protect couples who choose to get married where one spouse is on the verge
of adulthood and the other has just reached it (i.e. a 17 year old and
an 18 year old). That being said, marriage is
not a valid defense for forcible sexual contact between a minor and an adult,
otherwise known as marital rape.
Mistake of Age
The most common excuse given by those accused of statutory rape is “I
didn’t know he/she/they were under the age of 18!” Defendants
often give this excuse, claiming that the victim represented themselves
as older than they were, to the point where any reasonable person would
have truly believed they were over the age of 18. However, this is
not an accepted defense in court.
If you or a loved one are facing charges of statutory rape, you should
not hesitate to seek council and defense representation from a New Braunfels
criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. At
Kyle Law Firm, we understand the emotionally-charged and heavily-stigmatized nature
of statutory rape cases, which is why we strive to provide reputable,
award-winning legal counsel to help fight back against these charges and
preserve your rights.
Call Kyle Law Firm today to learn more! Dial 830.476.7880 to schedule your