When a legal adult becomes sexually involved with a child in the state of Texas, the potential for a lifetime of legal trouble is very real. Sex crimes, especially with a minor, are emotionally charged. Anyone who is even being investigated for statutory rape should immediately contact a qualified Houston-area criminal defense lawyer.
Having sexual relations with a minor happens to school teachers, high school seniors and careless adults all the time. Sometimes it’s poor judgment, and other times the minor isn’t honest about their actual age. However, pleading ignorance isn’t an acceptable defense for statutory rape in the state of Texas.
The age of consent in Texas is 17. Having sexual relations with a child under the age of 17 is classified as sexual assault. If the child is under the age of 14, it is classified as aggravated sexual assault. It doesn’t matter whether the alleged offender knew the minor child was underage or not; having sexual contact with a child is illegal and can result in criminal prosecution even if the sexual activity is consensual.
Under Texas Penal Code §21.011, any of the following acts may constitute statutory rape:
In the state of Texas, the sexual assault of a child (or statutory rape) is considered a second-degree felony. Conviction will result in a prison sentence of two to 20 years and a fine of no more than $10,000. Being convicted of aggravated sexual assault of a child will result in a first-degree sexual assault conviction, which is punishable with five years to 99 years in prison and a fine of no more than $10,000. Some statutory rape defendants may qualify for probation or deferred adjudication.
When someone is convicted of statutory rape, they will probably be required to register as a sex offender for the remainder of their life. That’s why the selection of a knowledgeable and skilled statutory rape charges attorney is tremendously important. Every aspect of the statutory rape charge must be investigated down to the slightest detail. The prosecution must be required to prove every element of the case beyond any reasonable doubt. It is essential that a statutory rape suspect exercise their constitutional right to remain silent. To get expert legal help, contact Rand Mintzer at 713-862-8880 and schedule a free case review.