The Linder Firm
Statutory Rape in Texas
Being accused of a sex crime is always serious, especially if the alleged offense involves an individual below the age of consent. A conviction for statutory rape can have a lifelong impact. Remember that you are presumed to be innocent until proven guilty, which is why you still have an opportunity to be freed of statutory rape charges in Texas. In fact, Texas law recognizes several exceptions to statutory rape charges.
The knowledgeable criminal defense attorney at The Linder Firm has more than three decades of legal experience representing Texans facing sex crime charges in Dallas and throughout Dallas Metro and North Texas. Attorney Phillip Linder understands the ins and outs of the criminal justice system, which has allowed him to obtain favorable outcomes on behalf of clients.
What Is Statutory Rape in Texas?
Many states recognize the crime “statutory rape,” which involves a sexual relationship or activity between an adult and a person below the age of consent. Anyone charged with statutory rape or any other sex offense involving minors faces the prospect of years behind bars, hefty fines, and other severe repercussions.
The legal term for statutory rape varies by state. In Texas, statutory rape means sexual assault of a child. The state does not recognize “statutory rape” as a separate offense. Because statutory rape involves sexual activity between an adult and a minor, the offense may fall into one of three crime categories in Texas:
- Sexual assault of a child
- Aggravated sexual assault of a child
- Indecency with a child by contact
The age of consent also varies from one state to another. In Texas, the age of consent is 17. A person below the age of consent does not have the ability to legally consent to sex or any other type of sexual activity.
Exceptions & Defenses to
Statutory Rape Charges
If you are facing statutory rape charges in Texas, you need to understand potential defenses and exceptions to the charges. An experienced attorney can help you analyze your situation and determine the defenses that may be available to you in your specific case. Some of the exceptions to statutory rape in Texas include:
- The “Romeo and Juliet” defense. The Romeo and Juliet provision exempts teens and young adults who have a sexual relationship with someone under the age of consent when there is a minor difference in age. Consult with an attorney to determine if you can use the defense in your specific situation.
- Marriage. In Texas, individuals aged 14 to 18 can get married if they receive the consent of their parents or legal guardians. Thus, even though individuals under the age of consent cannot technically consent to sexual activities, marriage may be an exception to statutory rape charges when the sexual activity occurs between married spouses.
- Lack of sexual intercourse. If the offense did not involve sexual intercourse between the defendant and the alleged victim, the lack of sexual intercourse might be used to avoid or reduce statutory rape charges.
- Duress. If the defendant can prove that they engaged in sexual activity involving an individual below the age of consent under duress, the charges against them might be reduced or dismissed.
Unlike other states, Texas does not recognize the “reasonable mistake of age” as a defense to statutory rape or other sex crimes involving minors. Thus, the mere fact that the defendant did not know that the other person was under the age of 17 cannot be used as a defense.
Possible Penalties for Statutory Rape
Penalties for sex crimes involving minors, including statutory rape, depend on the exact type of the charge, the defendant’s criminal history, and the circumstances of the offense, among other factors. Possible penalties may include thousands of dollars in fines and up to 99 years of imprisonment.
Individuals convicted of simple or aggravated sexual assault of a child or indecency with a child are required to register as sex offenders in Texas. Registering as a sex offender can affect you for the rest of your life, impacting your ability to find employment and housing, not to mention the societal stigma against sex offenders.
If you are facing charges of statutory rape, contact a skilled defense attorney to analyze the prosecutor’s case against you and help you mount an effective and successful defense strategy. Your attorney will fight for the most favorable outcome possible, seeking to reduce or avoid criminal penalties and lifelong negative consequences.
How a Knowledgeable
Defense Attorney Can Help
If you are facing criminal charges for statutory rape or any other offense involving a minor, reach out to legal counsel. An experienced criminal defense attorney at The Linder Firm has the necessary resources to provide you with a strong defense against your charges. Attorney Phillip Linder is committed to aggressively and compassionately defending clients facing statutory rape charges in Dallas, Texas, and throughout North Texas. Get a case evaluation today to discuss possible exceptions to statutory rape in your specific case.