The age of consent is the age at which a person may legally consent to sexual activity. Any sex allegation involving a child can bring your life to a screeching halt. The accusation — which may be nothing more than a statement — could lead to the loss of freedom, parental rights, housing, and employment. A conviction for this type of offense can result in a prison sentence that is decades long and a lifetime of registration as a sex offender. If you have been accused of a child sex crime, its imperative that you talk to an experienced attorney who is skilled in handling these types of cases as soon as possible. In Texas, the age of consent is 17, which means if an adult engages in any form of sexual activity with a child under 17, it is considered statutory rape — even if the younger individual agreed to the sexual activity or lied about their age. Instead, you must look at the laws that prohibit sexual activity with a minor. For example, Penal Code Section Similarly, Penal Code Therefore, under Texas law, with some exceptions, it is illegal to have sex with a person under the age of
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Information on the ages used historically in western age of consent laws is not readily available. This table has been compiled from a combination of historical and contemporary sources. By , the first date chosen, many western nations had established an age of consent for the first time, typically of 12 or 13 years. By , when the influence of reform campaigns that established a new link between the age of consent and prostitution had run its course, most had revised their age upward, to 14 or 15 in European nations, and 16 in the Anglo-American world.
In the last decades of the 20th century, states and nations with ages below those averages amended their laws to move closer to them. In Europe that growing conformity owed much to moves toward greater European integration. Given that the rationale for the age of consent has remained essentially unchanged in its emphasis on the need to protect ‘immature’ children, the table highlights the shifting and various definitions of childhood employed across time and cultures.
Date compiled from the following sources: Hirschfeld, Magnus. The Homosexuality of Men and Women.
Statutory rape is a crime that occurs a person has consensual sex with someone under the age of consent. Statutory rape is a strict liability crime, meaning that the intention of the parties is not considered and as such mistake of age is usually not allowed as a defense. The age of consent varies from state to state. In Texas , it is considered statutory rape to have sex with someone under the age of However, there is a close-in-age exception that allows a person to have sex with someone under 17 as long as the older person is not more than three years older than the minor.
A compilation of laws, cases, and web sources on the law of sex in Massachusetts. In a prosecution under this section, a child under the age of 14 years Texas sodomy law ruled unconstitutional by US Supreme Court.
Like some other states, Texas has enacted this law to protect teenagers who are close in age from facing sex crime charges and convictions when they have consensual sex, even when one or both teens are below the legal age of consent which, in Texas, is Romeo and Juliet law also protects these teens from having to register as sex offenders. Therefore, what might be considered statutory rape from one standpoint is instead considered legal given the nature of Texas’ Romeo and Juliet law.
The law is so named after the fictional young lovers in the classic William Shakespeare play “Romeo and Juliet. The moral behind the law is that teens who are close in age and have consensual sexual relations should be protected from prosecution and being ostracized from society as if they were child sex offenders. Such punishments are considered unnecessarily harsh given their circumstances. First, teens can be shielded from prosecution by Texas’ Romeo and Juliet law under certain circumstances.
If a teen is accused of sexual assault after having consensual sex with someone close to his or her own age, the teen cannot be prosecuted if:. For instance, the Romeo and Juliet law would shield a teen who is 17 from having consensual sex with a teen who is 14, 15 or 16 — all within the three-year age gap. Or a teen who is 18 would be shielded from prosecution for having consensual sex with a teen who is 15 or Likewise, a teen who is 19 would be shielded from prosecution for having consensual sex with a teen who is In such cases, the Romeo and Juliet law would overrule Texas standard “age of consent” law, which determines how old a person must be in order to agree legally agree to sexual relations.
In Texas, that legal age of consent is
In the United States, age of consent laws regarding sexual activity are made at the state level. There are several federal statutes related to protecting minors from sexual predators, but laws regarding specific age requirements for sexual consent are left to individual states , District of Columbia , and territories. Depending on the jurisdiction, the legal age of consent is between 16 and In some places, civil and criminal laws within the same state conflict with each other.
Different jurisdictions express these definitions differently, like Argentina, may say the age of consent is 18, but an exception is made down to 13 years of age, if the older partner is not in a position of authority over the younger one.
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In fact, making the wrong choice with regards to your personal life can land you in HOT water! Because laws can be misinterpreted, it is important to be completely clear on the age of consent as well as any stipulations. At the age of 18, people can vote and enlist in the military.
Matt Horak defends clients in Harris County and other Texas areas facing charges of possessing, distributing, or producing explicit materials involving minors.
The Texas Age of Consent is 17 years old. In the United States, the age of consent is the minimum age at which an individual is considered legally old enough to consent to participation in sexual activity. Individuals aged 16 or younger in Texas are not legally able to consent to sexual activity, and such activity may result in prosecution for statutory rape. Texas statutory rape law is violated when a person has consensual sexual intercourse with an individual under age While there is no close in age exemption, defenses exist when the offender was no more than 3 years older then the victim and of the opposite sex.
Texas does not have a close-in-age exemption. Close in age exemptions , commonly known as “Romeo and Juliet laws”, are put in place to prevent the prosecution of individuals who engage in consensual sexual activity when both participants are significantly close in age to each other, and one or both partners are below the age of consent. Because there is no such “Romeo and Juliet law” in Texas, it is possible for two individuals both under the age of 17 who willingly engage in intercourse to both be prosecuted for statutory rape , although this is rare.
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Essentially, the Texas Romeo and Juliet law exempts teenagers and young adults who engage in sexual relations with teens under the age of consent from being classified as sex offenders. The accusation of having sexual relations with a minor is a serious matter. Your rights, future, and freedom are at stake. But the Romeo and Juliet law may apply to your case.
We recommend consulting with a criminal defense attorney to see if this law applies to you. Criminal defense lawyers can potentially reduce or eliminate criminal charges. The age of consent is the age when a person may legally consent to engage in sexual activity with another person.