When Minors are Accused of Sexual Assault in TXPublished: Jan 07, 2021 in Criminal Defense, Sex Crimes
Sexual assault in Texas covers various acts but factors like the ages of those involved matter a lot. For example, charges of sexual assault by minors are treated much differently than sexual assaults perpetrated by adults.
The age of the alleged victim and offender will determine whether or not the matter is handled in the juvenile system or traditional adult courts. It also influences the consequences of a conviction, which can be tremendous and life-long.
No matter what, if your minor child is accused of sexual assault in Texas, you need to take the allegations seriously right away and contact an experienced Houston sexual assault lawyer. A dedicated attorney can explain your child’s rights and options. At The Law Offices of Ned Barnett, we know the juvenile system, how to avoid formal adult charges, and will make sure the other side of the sorry gets told.
Minors Facing Sexual Assault Charges in Texas
According to Texas law, any sexual contact with a child under the age of 17 is considered sexual assault. For cases in which all participants are under the age of 17, no exception is made.
Even if the sexual contact is consensual, it is still illegal. Texas statutory rape laws state that if you have consensual sex with someone below the age of consent, you have committed sexual assault.
“Romeo and Juliet” Defense for Minors in Consensual Relationships
The Texas Penal Code does provide a defense in cases where those involved are close in age. According to this “Romeo and Juliet” clause, it is an affirmative defense against sexual assault charges if the:
- Accused was not more than three years older the other party
- Minor was not already registered as a sex offender
- Partner was at least 14-years-old
- Sexual relationship was consensual
Contact a Sexual Assault Lawyer for Help Today
With how wide-reaching sexual assault laws are, it can be difficult to know whether a minor’s actions are criminal. Your child may be facing a felony, which is punishable by a lengthy prison sentence and large fines. Even if the matter is confined to the juvenile system, the consequences can include time in custody and a lasting stigma attached.
When you are dealing with such severe consequences, you need someone who knows the ins and outs of the law. An experienced sexual assault lawyer will have the knowledge of the law that is necessary to help find the defense that’s right for your child. Contact The Law Offices of Ned Barnett to speak to a skilled attorney that will fight for your case.