Defendants accused of statutory rape often claim that they had no reason to know that their partner was underage.They may argue that the victim herself represented that she was older than she was, and that a reasonable person would have believed her.
In the United States, the age of consent is the minimum age at which an individual is considered legally old enough to consent to participation in sexual activity.
Individuals aged 16 or younger in Texas are not legally able to consent to sexual activity, and such activity may result in prosecution for statutory rape.
Texas statutory rape law is violated when a person has consensual sexual intercourse with an individual under age 17.
While there is no close in age exemption, defenses exist when the offender was no more than 3 years older then the victim and of the opposite sex.
Aggravated sexual assault includes sexual penetration (however slight) between a minor who is younger than 14 years old and a defendant of any age.
This offense is a first degree felony, and penalties include at least five (and up to 99) years in prison.
A lawyer can often negotiate with the prosecutor for a lesser charge or a reduction in penalties (such as, for example, probation instead of prison time); and will know how prosecutors and judges typically handle cases like yours.
If you are a victim of sexual assault or rape, contact Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN) for online help and local resources.
Of course, rape that does involve force or an assault is illegal in Texas and prosecuted as forcible rape (see Texas Sexual Battery Laws).
Assaults of a sexual nature may also be charged under the state’s assault and battery laws (to learn more, see Aggravated Assault Laws in Texas and Child Enticement in Texas).
Statutory rape laws are premised on the assumption that minors are incapable of giving informed consent to sexual activities.