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Understanding age of consent laws in Texas

On Behalf of | Nov 30, 2023 | Sex Offenses

Texas has age of consent laws that outline the parameters of consensual relationships.  These laws aim to protect minors from exploitation.

Adults must understand the associated regulations and the penalties for violations to avoid serious charges.

Statutory rape laws

In Texas, the age of consent is 17 years old. Individuals aged 17 or older can legally engage in consensual sexual activities with each other. Children younger than 17 cannot provide consent under state law.

Engaging in sexual activities with a minor below the age of consent is statutory rape in Texas. This serious crime has significant legal consequences, emphasizing the state’s commitment to protecting minors from exploitation.

Individuals found guilty of statutory rape face severe legal consequences. The U.S. Sentencing Commission reports that the average conviction for this crime carried 45 months in prison in 2021.

Romeo and Juliet laws

Texas incorporates Romeo and Juliet laws to address situations involving minors close in age. These laws provide exemptions to the age of consent for individuals within a certain age range. For example, if one partner is 16 years old and the other is no older than 19, the relationship may be exempt from prosecution.

Indecency with a child

State law also addresses indecency with a child, prohibiting any sexual contact or exposure to a minor for sexual gratification. This offense extends beyond traditional sexual intercourse. It also includes various forms of inappropriate conduct.

Indecency with a child is a felony, carrying severe penalties. Conviction can result in imprisonment and mandatory registration as a sex offender.

Staying informed about these legal standards ensures you are aware of your rights and responsibilities. It can also help you determine next steps if you or a loved one faces this type of accusation.