What is the Age of Consent in Texas?

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?

Here in Texas, the age of consent is 17. Each state has enacted its own version of a “statutory rape law,” which has to do with the “age of consent.” What does “age of consent” mean? It 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.

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. For example, if John is 18 and he has sex with Andrea, who is 16, he is violating Texas’ statutory rape law because Andrea is under the age of 17, the state’s age of consent.

“But what if Andrea came on to John? What if the sex was all her idea?” It doesn’t matter. Since she is below the state’s legal age of consent, John can still be prosecuted under Section 21.11 of the Texas Penal Code, Indecency With a Child.

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.