Even with consent from both parties, an individual could be charged with sexual assault in Texas. In particular, if an adult has a sexual relationship with a minor, even with both parties consenting, it could be ruled as sexual assault in the eyes of the law. It’s important to note, though, that the age of consent in Texas is 17. This means that it is generally legal for a person to have sex with someone who is at least 17 years old as long as both parties are willing and consensual.
Romeo and Juliet Law
Additionally, there is a law in place, called the “Romeo and Juliet law,” that protects minors who want to engage in a consensual sexual relationship.
The Texas Romeo and Juliet law was passed in 2007 to protect young adults involved in consensual sexual relationships from being charged with statutory rape. Under this law, if a person is 17 years of age or younger and engages in a consensual sexual relationship with someone 17 years of age or younger, they will most likely not be charged with statutory rape. This law does not apply to individuals older than 17 years of age.
Key takeaways from the Romeo and Juliet law that individuals should keep in mind are:
- The minimum age for someone to be protected by this law is 14 years old;
- There is not a more than three-year age gap between both parties (so one individual can not be 16 and the other 13);
- Both parties must consent to the sexual activity; and,
- Neither party is a registered sex offender.
A real-life example of the Romeo and Juliet law protecting someone, for example, is if an 18-year-old and 16-year-old have a sexual relationship. While the age of consent is 17, because there is not a more than three-year age gap between the couple, the 18-year-old would not be prosecuted. However, if a 20-year-old were to have a sexual relationship with a 16-year-old, then the 20-year-old could face criminal charges.
Questions About the Age of Consent in Texas?
If you or a loved one was charged with a sex crime, or if you have a question about the age of consent in Texas, contact the experienced criminal defense team at The Law Offices of Jed Silverman. Our knowledgeable attorneys will review your case and advise you on the best course of action. Contact The Law Offices of Jed Silverman today to schedule a consultation. (713) 597-2221