What Happens if My Teenager is Having Sex with a Younger or Older Partner?
The State of Texas, like all other states in the country, has laws in place that dictate when individuals are legally able to consent to sex. In Texas, that legal age of consent is 17 years. Prior to the age of 17, a minor cannot provide legal consent to sexual intercourse or other types of sexual actions. However, there is a Romeo and Juliet law in place to protect teenagers who engage in consensual activities with one another, which we discuss further below.
Violating sex laws that involve a lack of consent can result in serious criminal charges, including statutory rape charges. These criminal charges may lead to serious penalties, and in some cases, can result in the accused individual having to register as a sex offender for life.
If you or someone you love is facing a sex crime in the State of Texas, it is essential that you promptly retain legal counsel to represent you throughout your criminal case. Frisco sex crimes attorney Brent D. Bowen, Attorney at Law, can assist you or your loved one with defending against your criminal charge and can help you pursue the best possible result available in your case.
Defining Statutory Rape
In Texas, a person commits statutory rape if he or she engages in some form of sexual activity with an individual who, at the time of the offense, is 16 years of age or younger. This is true even in cases where the alleged sexual activity between the two individuals is consensual.
Statutory rape, in and of itself, however, is not a specific crime in Texas. Instead, if you are ultimately accused of having sexual contact with a minor (i.e., someone 16 years old or younger), you can face a myriad of criminal charges. Possible criminal charges in those instances include sexual assault of a child, aggravated sexual assault of a child, super aggravated sexual assault of a child, and/or indecency with a child.
All of these offenses are felony criminal charges, and if you are ultimately convicted, you may be sentenced to years (or even a lifetime) of incarceration, depending upon the specific criminal charge and the exact circumstances involved.
Romeo and Juliet Defense to Statutory Rape
Texas currently has what’s known as the “Romeo and Juliet defense” to the crime of statutory rape. This defense applies to teenagers – specifically, those who engage in sexual conduct with individuals slightly younger or older than themselves. Under the Romeo and Juliet defense, statutory rape does not occur in the following instances:
- The two individuals involved are married at the time of the alleged sexual contact
- The involved individuals are within three years of each other’s ages (assuming that they are both over 14 years of age)
Under this defense, a 19-year-old individual who has sex with a person who is 16-years-old would be protected. However, the law would not protect a person who is 19-years-old and has sex with a 15-year-old, or someone who is 16-years-old and has sex with a person who is 13-years-old.
Call a Frisco Sex Crimes Attorney Today
There is no question that sex crimes can lead to hefty penalties and other lifetime consequences. Brent D. Bowen, Attorney at Law, can assist you with defending against a serious sex crime and work to lessen the extent of these potential penalties.
To schedule a free consultation and case evaluation with a knowledgeable Frisco sex crimes lawyer, please call us today at (940) 222-2488 or contact us online for more information.