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What is the Age of Consent in Texas?

Posted on in Criminal Defense

The age of consent in the United States is the minimum age at which a person is legally allowed to agree to sexual intercourse and other sexual acts. The specific age ranges state-by-state from 16 to 18 years of age throughout the country.

In Texas, it is 17 years old and applies to both heterosexual and homosexual conduct. This means minors who are 16 years of age or younger in the state cannot legally consent to sexual activity and such an act may lead to statutory rape charges.

Statutory rape is broken into the following criminal offenses in Texas:

  • Indecency with a child – This occurs when an adult—who is three years older or more than a minor who is younger than 17 years of age—engages in sexual contact (i.e. sexual touching) with the alleged victim. Indecency with a child is a second degree felony, punishable by a maximum prison sentence of up to 20 years and a maximum fine of $10,000.
  • Sexual assault – This involves sexual penetration between an adult who is at least three years older or more and a minor who is younger than 17. Sexual assault is also a second degree felony.
  • Aggravated sexual assault – This involves sexual penetration between an adult at any age and a minor who is younger than 14 years old. Aggravated sexual assault is a first degree felony, which carries a maximum prison sentence of 99 years and a fine of up to $10,000.

Keep in mind, Texas has a close-in-age exception—commonly known as the “Romeo and Juliet” exception—which permits an adult to have sexual intercourse with an individual who is under 17, as long as the older person isn’t three years older than the minor. However, this exception doesn’t apply to past and present registered sex offenders or homosexual couples.

If you are facing a statutory rape charge in Plano, our skilled criminal defense lawyer at The Crowder Law Firm, P.C. can evaluate your sex crime case, determine your available legal options, and build an effective defense strategy on your behalf. With nearly two decades of experience, we are dedicated to helping our clients get the best outcome possible.

Contact us and schedule a free consultation for more information today.

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