Statutory Rape and Exceptions

Each state has the right to decide its own “age of consent.” This age determines when a young adult is legally responsible for making his or her own choices with regards to sexual relationships. Statutory rape is the crime associated with performing sexual acts with an individual before they reach this age, and violating statutory rape laws can result in harsh punishments. Statutory rape is classified as a sex crime and will remain on a criminal record for a very long time.

The legal definition of “statutory rape,” and its exceptions, will vary from state to state. For example, the state of Indiana considers statutory rape to be when a person who is18 years old or older is sexually involved with a child between the ages of 14 and 16, whereas the state of Texas considers statutory rape as sexual assault to an individual who is known to be under the age of 17. The sentencing for this crime will also vary from state to state.

Statutory rape does not necessarily have to involve sexual intercourse with an underage person. Typically, this charge will apply to intercourse, mutual masturbation, and oral sex, and each state has the right to decide the degree of the charge. In the state of Texas, statutory rape is a 2nd degree felony, and therefore may be punished with between 2 and 20 years in prison.

There are certain circumstances that will change the type of charge given. Common exceptions to statutory rape laws include the following:

  • There was a small difference in the ages of the accused and the victim
  • There was an intimate relationship before one party reached the age of consent
  • The victim is close to the age of consent

If you have been accused of this crime, you need to seek legal counsel immediately. Just because you have been accused does not mean you have to accept the consequences. Many people accused of this crime were not aware of the age of their sexual partner, and if you can prove this, you may be able to secure a reduced sentence or have your case dismissed.

For More Information

The Dallas sex crimes defense lawyers at the Law Offices of Mark T. Lassiter have years of experience helping people fight sex crimes charges. To learn how we can help you, call us today at 214-845-7007.

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