Houston Criminal Defense Attorney

Defending against statutory rape charges in Texas

A sex crime charge in Texas is a very serious matter. If convicted, the accused can face a lengthy prison sentence and ostracism by the community. In addition, the accused may be required to register as a sex offender, which can make it all but impossible to find a job or a place to live. For these reasons, charges of alleged sex crimes require an aggressive defense.

Statutory Rape Laws

One of the most common sex crimes is statutory rape. Statutory rape in Texas falls under the general heading of sexual assault. Under the Texas Penal Code, sexual assault includes sexual relations with any person who is under the age of seventeen. Statutory rape is a felony in Texas and can result in a lengthy prison sentence if the defendant is convicted.

Consent by the victim is never a defense in a statutory rape case. The law is based on the premise that a person under the age of 17 is not legally capable of giving consent. Being mistaken as to the age of the victim is also not a defense, even if the mistake was a reasonable one under the circumstances.

There is a significant defense available in Texas, however. If the victim was age 14 or older, and the alleged perpetrator was not more than three years older than the victim, that is an affirmative defense to a statutory rape charge. The defendant has the burden of proving this affirmative defense by a preponderance of the evidence; if successful, the charge will be dismissed.

Other defenses are also available in a statutory rape case. As with any criminal charge, it is always a defense to assert you were not present at the time of the alleged crime, or that you are the victim of mistaken identity.

This post is intended only to provide general information and it should not be taken as legal advice. If you have specific questions, an experienced Houston criminal defense attorney can help. Contact The Law Offices of Jed Silverman to schedule a free case review.

Source: Tex. Penal Code § 22.011(a), (c) and (e).

Categories