What Is the Age of Consent in Texas?

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Updated on August 23, 2022

Sexual crimes can have huge consequences on your life. As such, it is essential to understand the age of consent in Texas. Doing so can help you avoid felony convictions and keep you off the sex offender registry.

This article will help you learn the basics about the age of consent and the most common crimes related to it. If you have additional questions, ask a Killeen criminal defense attorney. Contact us by calling (254) 781-4222.

What Is the Age of Consent in Texas?

Age of consent refers to the age at which an individual is legally considered mature enough to consent to sex with an adult. This age of consent ranges from 16 to 18 from state to state, but it is generally the age of 18.

The age of consent in Texas is 17 years old. Why does this matter? Because the crime of statutory rape refers to an adult having consensual sex with someone who is not legally old enough to provide consent.

If you are accused of statutory rape or any other sex crime in Texas, it’s important to understand that you’re facing extremely serious consequences, including registration as a sex offender.

Statutory Rape

In Texas, statutory rape is covered by Section 21.11 of the Texas Penal Code, which describes the charges of indecency with a child.

This section dictates that an adult who does any of the following actions with a child under the age of consent (younger than 17) has committed a sexual offense:

  • Engages in sexual contact

  • Causes the child to engage in sexual contact

  • Exposes one’s anus or genitals in the child’s presence with the intention of sexually gratifying anyone

  • Causes the child to expose any part of his or her anus or genitals

If you have been charged with statutory rape, contact a Killeen criminal defense attorney right away. He or she can help you craft a defense that will protect your rights and deliver the best possible outcome for your case.

Texas Romeo and Juliet Laws

Fortunately for young couples, Texas does have a close-in-age exemption called the Romeo and Juliet law. This law protects couples who are within three years of age and engage in consensual sex.

To learn more about the Romeo and Juliet law and how to use it in your defense, read “Texas Romeo and Juliet Law: Not Quite What the Bard Intended.”

What Are the Penalties for Indecency with a Child?

A charge of indecency with a child is a felony of either the second or third degree, depending upon the factual circumstances of the case.

Being convicted of a sex crime with a minor has overarching negative consequences that will reverberate far into your future:

  • A third-degree felony conviction comes with 2 to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000

  • A second-degree felony conviction earns 2 to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000

  • A second or third-degree felony conviction of indecency with a minor will require you to register as a sex offender

Charged with Statutory Rape in Texas? Contact a Killeen Criminal Attorney Today

Charges of indecency with a minor are extremely serious charges with extremely serious consequences. If you have been charged with statutory rape or any other sex crime with a person under the age of consent, the matter is far too important to leave to chance.

Criminal attorney Brett Pritchard at The Law Office of Brett H. Pritchard in Killeen, Texas, is committed to ensuring that your rights are protected and that you obtain your case’s best possible resolution.

We are here to help, so please do not hesitate to contact us online or call us at (254) 781-4222 for more information today.

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