If you’re reading this, you’re probably romantically interested in a teenager, or you’re a teenager who’s interested in someone who is 18 or older. Is there a law against you dating?
What Does the Age of Consent Mean?
In Texas, the age of consent is 17. Age of consent refers to the legal age that someone can voluntarily consent to sexual activity. Across the country, the age of consent is either 16, 17, or 18 and each state has varying versions of "statutory rape" laws dealing with “age of consent.”
So, how does someone violate Texas’ statutory rape law? It’s pretty simple: If someone is age 18 or older, he or she cannot engage in sexual activity with a minor who is below the age of 17.
Texas Romeo and Juliet Law
Under Texas' Romeo and Juliet Law, there is an exception to the age of consent. If a teen engages in consensual sex, and the teen is less than 3-years older than the alleged victim who themselves must 14 or older, the Romeo and Juliet Law would supersede the age of consent laws.
Indecency with a Child
Under Section 21.11, a person commits the offense of Indecency with a Child if he or she engages in sexual contact with a child younger than 17-years-of-age. Not knowing the child’s actual age is not a defense under this section.
An offense under Sec. 21.11 is a felony of the second or third degree depending on the facts of the case. However, if the offender is not more than three years older than the child, the child is of the opposite sex, and if the offender did not use force, duress, or threats of force when the offense occurred, it may be an affirmative defense. This means that if the defense attorney can prove these facts, the charges might be reduced or dropped.
Suggested Reading: Community Supervision in Dallas County
Contact our firm to meet with Attorney Barrett if you are facing sex crime charges in Dallas or the surrounding areas.