Statutory Rape Law and Punishment in Texas | Get Legal Advice from a Statutory Rape Lawyer
Sexual crimes are always a delicate subject, but statutory rape laws in Texas can be particularly complicated. This blog post seeks to provide guidance and clarity on this complex issue, shedding light on the intricacies of these laws and the potential consequences of being charged with statutory rape. Whether you’re an individual facing charges, a concerned parent, or simply interested in understanding the legal landscape, consulting a statutory rape lawyer can offer valuable insights into the world of statutory rape laws in Texas.
Texas statutory rape laws criminalize consensual sexual activity between two individuals, one of whom is under the age of 17
An experienced statutory rape lawyer can provide invaluable assistance in navigating the legal process and negotiating plea deals or alternative sentencing options.
A conviction for statutory rape can have a significant impact on one’s personal and professional life, including the requirement of sex offender registration.
Understanding Statutory Rape in Texas
Statutory rape, as defined under Texas law, is consensual sexual activity between two individuals, one of whom is under the age of 17. This is distinct from rape, which usually involves one partner coercing the other into sexual relations. Engaging in sexual acts with a minor under the age of 17 in Texas can lead to being charged with sexual assault or similar offenses. Should you find yourself facing these charges, seeking the advice of a seasoned criminal defense lawyer is recommended. They can guide you through the complexities of Texas statutory rape laws and construct a robust defense to secure your rights and freedom.
One such firm experienced in handling statutory rape cases in Texas is Soyars & Morgan Law. In the following sections, we will explore the specifics of Texas statutory rape laws, including the age of consent, distinctions from other sex crimes, and the potential consequences of a conviction.
Soyars & Morgan Law
Soyars & Morgan Law is a leading Texas law firm, specializing in criminal defense and handling statutory rape cases in the greater San Antonio area. Our firm is dedicated to providing the most vigorous defense possible for our clients, ensuring that their rights are protected throughout the legal process. With the support of experienced attorneys like Jodi Soyars, individuals facing statutory rape charges can be confident that their case will be handled with the utmost professionalism and expertise.
Age of Consent
The age of consent in Texas is set at 17 years old. It is the legal minimum age for a person to agree to any form of sexual activity. This means that it is unlawful for an adult to participate in sexual activity with a minor who is under the age of 17. Violating this law can result in criminal charges, including aggravated sexual assault, sexual assault, and indecency with a child.
Nevertheless, it’s worth noting that Texas law does provide certain exceptions and nuances to these strict age limits. In the next section, we will explore the distinctions between statutory rape and other sex crimes in Texas.
Distinction from Other Sex Crimes
Statutory rape in Texas usually involves sexual activity between an adult aged 17 or over and a person aged less than 17 years. However, even persons under 17 years of age can be charged with statutory rape if they engage in sexual activity with a person under 17 years of age. The main difference between statutory rape and other sex crimes hinges primarily on the victim’s inability to give legal consent because of the victim’s age. In comparison, other sex crimes generally focus on the victim’s lack of consent, not the victim’s inability to legally consent to sex because of the victim’s age.
Comprehending these distinctions is vital when dealing with statutory rape charges since most statutory rape cases in Texas involve a person under the age of 17 that consented to the sexual activity, but that lacked the legal capacity to give consent because of their age.
Texas Statutory Rape Charges and Penalties
Statutory rape in Texas is usually a second degree felony with a punishment range of anywhere from 2 years in prison up to a maximum of 20 years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine. However, it can become a first degree felony if the person the individual is accused of having statutorily raped is someone the actor was prohibited from marrying.
Other penalties of statutory rape in Texas include sex offender registration and sex offender monitoring while on probation. Sex offender registration can run anywhere from 10 years from the date the person is released from prison or probation to a lifetime registration requirement.
Sex offender monitoring while on probation or parole is often harder to comply with than the sex offender registration requirements. Sex offender monitoring while on probation or parole requires you reside over 1000 feet from a school, provide access to your electronics (phone, computers, etc.) to the probation or parole officer to monitor, and that you limit your travel to approved locations.
Legal Defenses in Statutory Rape Cases
Legal defenses in statutory rape cases in Texas are limited. However, certain exceptions and defenses may apply, such as the Romeo and Juliet exception, marital exemption, and other potential defenses.
In the following sections, we will discuss these legal defenses in detail to provide a better understanding of the options available to those facing statutory rape charges and why a criminal defense lawyer can be hugely invaluable.
Romeo and Juliet Exception
The Romeo and Juliet exception in Texas provides legal protection to individuals engaging in sexual intercourse with those under 17 years old, provided that both partners are within three years of each other and at least 14 years old. Underage individuals aged 14 to 17 can sometimes legally engage in sexual intercourse with someone less than three years older. This is a special exception to the laws related to age of consent.
For example, consensual sexual activity between the following aged individuals would fall under this exception.
14-year-olds and 17-year-olds
15-year-olds and 18-year-olds
16-year-olds and 19-year-olds
17-year-olds and 20-year-olds
If you are facing statutory rape charges and believe the Romeo & Juliet Exception is applicable to your case, it is crucial to promptly consult one of our proficient, San Antonio criminal defense attorneys. We will take proactive measures to protect your rights under the law and help you navigate the complexities of your case.
The marital exemption in Texas permits consensual sex between married minors and their adult spouses. This exemption prevents an adult spouse from being convicted of sexual assault against their minor spouse, except under specific conditions.
Please note that although these exceptions and defenses exist, they might not be applicable in every case. Consulting with an experienced statutory rape lawyer can help you determine if any of these defenses are applicable to your situation and how best to proceed with your case.
Other Potential Defenses
In addition to the Romeo and Juliet exception and marital exemption, other potential defenses may be applicable in statutory rape cases, such as the age of the parties and lack of evidence to show that the individuals engaged in sexual activity. It is also essential to consider the possibility of false allegations.
Mistaken identity can also be a potential defense in statutory rape cases, referring to circumstances where the accused is misidentified or the accuser is mistaken about the identity of the accused. Navigating these potential defenses can be intricate, making it indispensable to have a well-informed statutory rape lawyer supporting you.
The Role of a Statutory Rape Lawyer
A statutory rape lawyer plays a pivotal role in the defense of individuals accused of statutory rape. Their responsibilities include building a strong defense, navigating the legal process, and negotiating plea deals or alternative sentencing.
In the following sections, we will discuss these roles in more detail and explore how a statutory rape lawyer can help protect the rights and future of those accused of this crime.
Building a Strong Defense
A statutory rape lawyer works to build a strong defense by collecting evidence, interviewing witnesses, and offering legal counsel. They can analyze the available evidence to identify potential weaknesses in the prosecution’s case, such as discrepancies in witness accounts, discovering evidence that disproves the prosecution’s assertions, or identifying evidence that corroborates the defendant’s innocence.
Building a robust defense is integral to the outcome of a statutory rape case, given it can greatly influence the potential penalties and repercussions of a conviction. An experienced statutory rape lawyer is essential in constructing a robust defense that protects the rights and future of the accused.
Navigating the Legal Process
An experienced statutory rape lawyer can assist clients in navigating the complex legal process, including:
Submitting motions to challenge the evidence, suppress illegally obtained material, or dismiss charges in a statutory rape case
Negotiating plea agreements
Representing the client in court
Having an accredited, experienced attorney supporting you during this process can be invaluable in protecting your rights, future, and securing the best possible result for your case.
Negotiating Plea Deals or Alternative Sentencing
A statutory rape lawyer can collaborate with the prosecution to negotiate plea deals or alternative sentencing options that are in the best interest of the client. This can include reduced charges, reduced sentences, or other alternatives to traditional sentencing. The lawyer can also provide counsel and direction to the client on the potential outcomes of a conviction and the most suitable course of action.
Negotiating plea deals or alternative sentencing can play a key role in reducing the impact of a statutory rape conviction on the client’s life.
Consequences of a Statutory Rape Conviction
A statutory rape conviction in Texas can carry steep consequences, including:
Sex offender registration with varying durations and limitations
Potential ramifications on one’s personal and professional life
Extensive time in prison
Sex Offender Registration
Sex offender registration is a requirement for individuals convicted of statutory rape in Texas. The duration and restrictions of this registration depend on the specifics of each case and the offense.
Failure to comply with sex offender registration requirements can lead to additional felony charges, thus it’s critical to comprehend and adhere to these requirements if convicted of statutory rape.
Impact on Personal and Professional Life
A statutory rape conviction can have far-reaching impacts on one’s personal life, including social stigma, strained relationships, and a loss of trust from family and friends. Professionally, a statutory rape conviction may result in difficulty finding employment, loss of professional licenses or certifications, and negative impacts on reputation and future opportunities.
Considering the grave consequences of a statutory rape conviction, it is of utmost importance to have a proficient legal defense team supporting you throughout the legal process
Working with an Experienced Sex Crime Attorney
Working with an experienced sex crime attorney like our team at Soyars & Morgan law is crucial to protect the rights and reputation of the accused and to minimize the consequences of a conviction.
A skilled attorney possesses comprehensive knowledge of sex crime law and the potential repercussions on an accused’s life. They can provide direction and assistance throughout the legal process, evaluate potential outcomes such as plea or trial, and assess the feasibility of avoiding registration as a sex offender and incarceration.
Navigating the complexities of Texas statutory rape laws can be challenging. However, with a clear understanding of the distinctions between statutory rape and other sex crimes, the potential charges and penalties, available legal defenses, and the crucial role of a statutory rape lawyer, you can face these challenges with confidence.
Whether you’re dealing with a personal issue or seeking to understand the legal landscape better, the information provided in this blog post can serve as a valuable resource in understanding statutory rape laws in Texas and their consequences.
If you are facing statutory rape charges or similar sex crimes, you should choose to work with only the very best legal team. Don’t hesitate to reach out to our dedicated lawyers at Soyars & Morgan Law for legal advice and support. Give us a call at 210-390-0000 or contact us today!
Additional Frequently Asked Legal Questions
Can an 18 year old legally date a 16 year old in Texas?
It is not illegal for an 18 year old to date a 16 year old in Texas. It is not illegal for an 18 year old to engage in sexual activity with a 16 year old so long as both parties consent.
Can a 24 year old date a 17 year old in Texas?
It is not illegal for a 24 year old to date a 17 year old in Texas, however, it is illegal to engage in sexual activities with a minor (someone younger 17 years old) if you are more than 3 years older than them.
Is 17 considered a minor in Texas?
Once a person turns 17 in Texas, they are legally considered an adult and any criminal charges committed while the person is 17 years old or older would be handled in adult court. So no, 17 is not considered a minor in Texas for purposes of criminal liability.
What is the Romeo and Juliet law in Texas?
The Romeo and Juliet law in Texas provides a defense from prosecution for young adults and teenagers aged 14 and up engaging in consensual sexual conduct within three years of each other. This could result in reduced or dismissed charges.
What is the Texas Penal Code 22.011 (A)(1)?
Texas Penal Code 22.011 (A)(1) defines sexual assault as intercourse and penetration without consent. Sexual assault is different than statutory rape in Texas because statutory rape in Texas is consensual sex between two people with one or both persons being under age of consent (17 years of age).
What is the Texas Penal Code 22.011 (A)(2)?
Texas Penal Code 22.011 (B) is the statutory rape statute. Subject to some very limited exceptions, statutory rape in Texas makes it illegal to engage in sexual activity with a person under 17 years of age.
What is the Texas Penal Code 22.011 (B)?
Texas Penal Code 22.011 (B) defines sexual assault without consent to include obtaining consent by physical force, violence or coercion (including threats of the same) and situations where the person is unable to give consent because of mental disease or defect or physical incapacity.