3 Defenses Against Statutory Rape Charges
In Texas and throughout the country, it is unlawful for someone age 18 years or older to have sex with someone under the age of 17. Even if the act was consensual and did not involve force or threat of harm, the law presumes that minors are incapable of giving informed consent and therefore considers the act rape. Because this presumption is written into the Texas state statutes, any violation is referred to as statutory rape.
If you have been arrested and accused of statutory rape, you should immediately get in touch with a criminal defense attorney with ample experience defending those accused of sex crimes. A statutory rape conviction could lead to mandatory sex offender registry, jail time, fines, and other collateral damages including a loss of reputation and difficulty finding work or a place to live. A good attorney will be familiar with how to fight these charges and preserve your freedom.
Accused of statutory rape in Texas? The following are three possible defenses that may apply to your case:
- The “Romeo and Juliet” exemption. The purpose of this exemption is to prevent serious criminal charges against teens who engage in consensual sex with others who are close to their own age. In Texas, the exemption applies for consensual sex between a minor who is 14, 15, 16, or 17 and someone who is three or fewer years older.
- Marital exemption. Consensual sex occurring between a minor and his or her adult spouse is not considered statutory rape.
- Mistake of age. Many defendants accused of statutory rape often had no reason to suspect that their partner was a minor, such as if the minor misrepresented him or herself as older than they were or used a fake ID. While this is often not sufficient to avoid prosecution, an attorney may be able to present evidence showing that the alleged victim made the claim to seek revenge on the defendant or that the sex never actually occurred.
If you are facing statutory rape charges, don’t wait to get in touch with an attorney. At Crain Lewis Brogdon, LLP, our Dallas criminal defense attorneys are committed to protecting the rights and freedoms of accused people. We understand that this can be a frightening time, which is why we are ready to stand by your side and guide you through your case from start to finish. Backed by countless successful cases, we are recognized as one of the most trusted and respected firms in the state.
Call us today for a free and confidential evaluation of your case: (214) 301-5007.