What Are the Consequences for Statutory Rape in Collin County, TX?
Individuals in Texas cannot consent to sexual conduct until they reach 17 years of age. In the strict legal sense, anyone younger than that cannot consent to sexual activity with an adult. You may not realize it, but you can be charged with sexual assault against a child if you are an adult who engages in sexual conduct with someone age 16 or younger even if you think that person “consents” to such conduct. In this blog, we will explore the concept of legal consent and how it applies to relationships between two people of close age when one person is below the age of consent.
What is Legal Consent?
Everybody knows that rape is wrong. It is against the law. But each state has a law saying that, under a certain age, a young person is not old enough to legally consent to sex even if they want to. In Texas, that age is 17. Texas does not recognize the term “statutory rape,” which is frequently used to describe sex between an adult and a minor who is near the age of consent. Instead, sexual conduct with or without the permission of a child under age 17 is sexual assault of a child.
If an adult is charged with sexual assault, they cannot use the minor’s permission as proof of consent. Even if the adult thought the minor was over age 17, the adult can still be charged with sexual assault against a child and receive up to 20 years in prison, up to $10,000 in fines, and registration on the sex offender list.
What if I Am 18 and the “Child” Is My Girlfriend?
Texas law understands that teenagers nearing adulthood often engage in sexual relationships with people who are a little older or younger than they are. For relationships involving a child under the age of consent and an adult, or a child and another minor who is 17 years old, Texas may allow something known as the “Romeo and Juliet” defense. The Romeo and Juliet defense only applies to children 14 years old or older, and there cannot be more than three years between the partners’ ages. The oldest adult to which this law would apply could be no older than 19 and the boyfriend or girlfriend of that adult no younger than 16.
Call a Plano Sexual Assault of a Minor Defense Lawyer
A conviction for a serious criminal offense like the sexual assault of a child can have long-term consequences, including prison time. If you have been charged with or even accused of sexually assault against a minor, it is important to take this seriously and get help from an experienced Collin County sexual assault attorney with the The Crowder Law Firm, P.C.. We offer free initial consultations so you can meet our team and learn more about how we may be able to help. Call us today at 214-303-9600.