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Texas Statutory Rape Laws and Penalties

 

In Texas, statutory rape is defined as sexual activity between a person who is aged 18 or older and a person who is younger than 17 years of age. Under the law, this kind of sexual activity is illegal even if both parties give their consent to engage in sexual activity. This is because a person who is younger than 17 is below the age of consent. According to the law, people under the age of consent are considered incapable of legally giving informed consent to sexual activity. The penalties for sex crimes can be very serious.

Penalties for Statutory Rape

There are several crimes that can fall under the classification of statutory rape. Each crime has its own set of penalties based on the perceived severity of the offense.

These crimes include:

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Indecency with a child refers to an adult who engages in sexual touching that is meant to gratify or arouse the sexual desire of any person with a minor under age 17. This offense refers to activity that does not include actual penetrative sex. The penalties include:

  • Conviction on a second degree felony charge
  • Incarceration in prison for two to 20 years
  • A fine of up to $10,000

Sexual assault refers to an adult who engages in penetrative sex with a person who is 17 years old or younger. The penalties include:

  • Conviction on a second degree felony charge
  • Incarceration in prison for two to 20 years
  • A fine of up to $10,000

Aggravated sexual assault refers to sexual penetration between a person of any age and child who is aged 14 or younger. The penalties for this crime can include:

  • Conviction on a first degree felony charge
  • Incarceration in prison for five to 99 years
  • A fine of up to $10,000

A conviction for any of these offenses can also lead to mandatory registration as a sex offender. Depending on the nature of the offense, this mandatory registration period can last for several years of it can be a lifetime sentence. This registration can prevent the offender from living near schools, obtaining certain jobs and requires the offender to report to law enforcement on a regular basis.

Legal Exemptions

In some cases, there may be legal exemptions to prosecution for cases of statutory rape. For example, regarding all of the crimes listed above, the defendant may be exempted from prosecution if he or she is no more than three years older than the younger partner and the younger partner is at least 14 years of age. Under Texas law, an age gap of no more than three years is an affirmative defense if the younger partner is not younger than 14.

A legal marriage is also an affirmative defense. If the two partners who engage in sexual activity are spouses in a legally binding marriage, they may be exempt from any criminal charges even if one partner is legally a minor.

Legal Defenses

In many cases, a legal defense that claims that the older partner did not know that the younger partner was a minor may not be sufficient to avoid prosecution. Even if the younger partner looks older than their actual age and uses a fake ID, the older partner may still face prosecution.

An attorney may be able to use evidence to show that the alleged sexual activity never took place. For example, the defense attorney could claim that there is no actual medical evidence that sex ever occurred. It is also possible to introduce evidence showing that the alleged victim had a reason to seek revenge on the defendant by claiming that illegal sex occurred. If this strategy is successful, the charges may be reduced to a less severe charge or dropped completely.


Attorney Matt Sharp Can Help

If are facing statutory rape charges, contact us immediately. We will fight hard to protect your rights and your future. Call (713) 868-6100 or email for your free and confidential consultation.

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