Statutory Rape in Texas
In Texas, Statutory Rape is charged as Sexual Assault of a Child, a serious felony offense. If convicted as an adult, the defendant is required to register as a sex offender for life. If the alleged child victim is between 14 to 16 years of age, the crime is a second degree felony and punishable by 2 to 20 years in prison for each count in the indictment. If the alleged child victim is under 14 years of age, the crime is a first degree felony and punishable by 5 to 99 years in prison for each count in the indictment.
These cases seem to be more and more common. A 23 year old male name "John" goes to a friend's house party and meets an attractive, willing woman who says she is 18 years of age. They have consensual sex in one of the bedrooms. Several days later, he learns that she is really 14 years of age and that her mother found out about it and called the police.
John now faces serious sex offense charges. There are several important legal issues to consider:
In Texas, for purposes of the Sexual Assault of a Child and Indecency with a Child crimes, a child does not become an adult until age 17. For other sexual-related offenses, including Possession of Child Pornography and Sexual Performance of a Child, the age of an adult is 18 years.
In Texas, it is not a defense that the accused did not know the child's real age. So, the alleged victim could have lied about her age to the accused and the accused will still face criminal charges.
The alleged victim cannot legally consent to sexual relations unless the alleged victim is 14 years of age or older and there is only a 3 year or less difference between the ages of the alleged victim and the accused.
In Texas, only one eye-witness, the alleged victim, is sufficient for conviction, so long as the jury believes the alleged victim beyond a reasonable doubt.
In Texas, neither genital trauma nor DNA evidence is required for a conviction. In Texas, voluntary intoxication is not a defense. So, if the accused goes to a party, gets drunk and sleeps with an underage girl, he cannot use his intoxication as a defense to the crime of Sexual Assault of a Child.
In Texas, each separate sexual act can be separately charged within one indictment and, if there is a conviction, each Count can be stacked or served consecutively.
Houston Criminal Defense Attorney Jim Sullivan has 25 years of experience and has five sexual assault of a child cases dismissed by the grand jury. Call Sullivan at 281-546-6428 to discuss your case.