Statutory Rape Charges in Dallas
Statutory Rape Laws in Texas
The law in Texas is quite clear regarding the crime of statutory rape. It is illegal for any adult (18 years of age or older) to have sexual relations with a minor (under 18 years of age). This crime will not consider whether the sexual act was consensual.
Understanding Legal Consent
Based on the fact that the party is a minor automatically makes that person incapable of consenting to the sexual act. Keep in mind that statutory rape does not require there to be any acts of violence associated with the crime. If the specific situation does include violent behavior, the aggrieved party may also file charges of battery and/or assault, for example.
Related Crimes to Statutory Rape in Texas
Specifically, statutory rape is defined as an adult engaging in sexual activity with a minor that involves sexual contact and penetration. Within the category of statutory rape, there are several associated and related crimes:
- Aggravated sexual assault: This crime has been performed when a minor, that is less than 14 years of age, engages in an act that causes sexual penetration with a defendant that is of any age. This offense is considered a First Degree felony and will lead to a prison term of a minimum of 5, no more than 99 years if convicted.
- Sexual assault: This crime has been performed when a minor that is 17 years of age or younger engages in an act that involves sexual penetration with a defendant that is three or more years older than the victim. This is classified as a Second Degree felony and is punishable by 2-20 years in prison.
- Indecency with a child: This crime includes a victim that is 17 years of age or younger and a defendant that is three or more years older than the victim. The crime has been committed when the defendant engages in an act with the victim that involves sexual contact (other than penetration) that is meant to arouse or provide sexual gratification. This crime is classified as a Second Degree felony and is punishable through imprisonment of 2-20 years.
Is Mistaken Age a Defense in Texas Courts?
While some may believe that a good defense to these crimes is that the victim lied to the defendant about her age or that she somehow otherwise misled him about her age. This is not a sufficient defense to a charge of statutory rape. This offense is considered a strict liability crime, meaning that it does not matter if the defendant lacked knowledge regarding the defendant’s age.
Sexual crimes involving minors are often not brought by the children themselves. Many times, the allegations will be brought by a parent of the child or another adult with some type of authority (i.e., a teacher). The charges may also be brought by the State of Texas.
Registering as a Sex Offender in the State of Texas
After being convicted of statutory rape or other like crime, the individual will likely have to register as a sex offender in the state of Texas. This public notification is generally considered a means to promote public safety. The individual must register with the local law enforcement in the city in which he resides.
Do You Need an Attorney?
If you have been charged with statutory rape or a related crime in the state of Texas, contact an attorney who will listen to the facts of your case and ensure that you have proper representation throughout the proceedings.
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