EXCEPTIONS TO STATUTORY RAPE IN TEXAS
If you’ve been arrested or charged with statutory rape, you need to contact a criminal defense attorney immediately. This is a serious crime that could have lasting implications for your life if it results in a conviction. Your best chance of having your charges or penalties reduced is by teaming up with a lawyer experienced in criminal law who will listen to your side of the story, gather evidence, look for weaknesses in the prosecution’s case, and above all, defend your rights.
When you contact the Law Offices of Thomas R. Cox III in Dallas, Texas, you’ll get experienced legal guidance from a sex crimes defense attorney you can trust. Call today to start looking at your options.
DEFINING STATUTORY RAPE IN TEXAS
The charge of statutory rape pertains to sexual assault by someone older than 18 of anyone under the “age of consent.” In Texas, this is anyone under the age of 17. Those under the age of 17 are considered minors and unable to consent to sexual activity, and therefore this act of sex with a minor is considered rape. This is a very serious charge, but there are some notable exceptions to statutory rape that could be considered in your defense.
EXCEPTIONS & DEFENSES
Texas law has a few important exceptions to the statutory rape law. The first is most commonly referred to as the Romeo and Juliet provision, which states that if the defendant is less than three years older than the victim and the victim is over the age of 14, then it might not be considered statutory rape. This could be the case if the defendant was 18 and the victim was 16. The age of the victim may also not be considered if they are married to the defendant, even if the victim is a minor. In Texas, you can get married at the age of 16 with a parent’s consent.
Even if your case doesn’t fall within these exceptions, there are still defenses that you may be able to use to reduce or dismiss charges. The first would be that you made a reasonable mistake of age. This could be that the victim lied about their age and you believed they were over 18, or maybe they used a fake ID. While this won’t always guarantee that your charges will be dropped, it can be an effective strategy to hopefully reduce charges or minimize sentencing. You could also contend that no sexual intercourse actually happened (even if there was other sexual activity that did happen). State law defines rape as “penetration,” and if you’re able to prove that no penetration occurred, it could help your case.
The penalties associated with a statutory rape charge will depend on the specific circumstances of your crime. However, it is typically categorized as a second-degree felony and can bring with it two to 20 years in prison and fines of up to $10,000. However, if the victim is under the age of 14, the penalties increase with a potential for a first-degree felony charge, five to 99 years in prison, and fines of up to $10,000.
THE IMPORTANCE OF SKILLED ADVOCACY
You are more than just a single action and more than a single mistake. When you work with the Law Offices of Thomas R. Cox III, you’ll be seen as a person in need of help and not simply as a criminal. With over 30 years of experience helping people in Dallas, Texas and neighboring areas including Irving, Mesquite, Grand Prairie, Highland Park, University Park, and Dallas County, Tom Cox will fight tirelessly for your rights. Call an attorney today to schedule a consultation.