What's the Age of Consent in Texas?
In the state of Texas, the legal age of consent is 17-years-old. The “age of consent” refers to the minimum age at which a child can legally consent to sexual activity and sexual intercourse. Across the nation, the age of consent ranges between 16 and 18, with each state having enacted its own age of consent law.
In Texas, if a minor is 16-years-old or younger, they cannot legally consent to sexual activity, even if the sexual contact was all the minor’s idea. If you’re 18 or older and considering having sexual contact or intercourse with someone who is age 16 or younger, you could face criminal charges for indecency with a child under Section 21.11 of the Texas Penal Code, or sexual assault or aggravated sexual assault depending on the child’s age, and how far you go.
Does Texas Have a Romeo & Juliet Law?
You may have heard how some states have laws on the books commonly called, “Romeo & Juliet” laws, which offer leniency when the sexual activity occurred between a minor and someone who was close in age and the minor was “willing.” Texas does not have a Romeo & Juliet law, which is sometimes called a “close in age exemption.”
Such laws are meant to protect people from prosecution when they are close in age to their sexual partner, who is a willing participant, but below the age of consent. So, if the older partner is 18, and his girlfriend is 16-years-old, and they engage in sexual intercourse, he could be prosecuted under Texas’ statutory rape law.
Penalties for Statutory Rape & Violating the Age of Consent in Texas
The sentencing and penalties for violating the state’s statutory rape laws depend on the facts of the case, specifically:
- Whether intercourse occurred
- What type of sexual activity occurred
- The age of the adult and the age of the minor involved
Generally speaking, charges for indecency with a child, sexual assault, and aggravated sexual assault are all felonies under Texas law and carry heavy penalties.
Are you facing felony charges in Fort Worth for violating one of Texas’ statutory rape laws? To protect your legal rights, contact Alband, Lane & Balderama today to speak with one of our criminal defense lawyers about your rape case.