Call for a FREE consultation at (713) 222-6767

Legal Blog

Which States Have Romeo and Juliet Laws?

Published: Dec 13, 2017 in Sex Crimes

State laws do not generally give minors the ability to consent to sexual acts, and you can be found guilty of statutory rape if you are found to have had a sexual relationship with a minor. However, many states have a Romeo and Juliet law in effect. This law can come into play in a statutory rape case, and it may keep you out of prison if you have been accused of having a sexual relationship with a minor. If you have been accused of having a sexual relationship with someone who is underage, you will need an experienced defense attorney who has handled sex crimes involving children to help you through every part of the complex legal process.

The Law Offices of Ned Barnett has helped many clients who have been accused of statutory rape, and we understand how a Romeo and Juliet law can be applied to various situations in which the alleged victim and perpetrator do not have a great difference in age. Contact our office today to speak with a skilled attorney about your case. Call us today at (713) 222-6767.

How Romeo And Juliet Laws Can Be Applied To Statutory Rape Cases

A statutory rape conviction can result in years in prison since it is considered to be like any other rape case where the perpetrator did not have consent to have sex with the victim. However, in cases when the victim is a minor, the state considers the minor unable to give consent. These cases and the laws that surround them can be particularly complex, especially in situations that involve two minors. If you’re facing charges for one of these offenses, a sex crimes lawyer can help you understand these complicated legal issues.

Romeo and Juliet laws provide an exception to situations involving a sexual relationship between two young people that could be considered a sex crime. These laws allow for a person to successfully defend themselves from being convicted of statutory rape if their age and that of their partner falls within the acceptable age difference defined by the law. If a Romeo and Juliet Law applies to your case, benefits that you may receive include:

  • Having your case completely dropped
  • Reducing your charge, possibly from a felony to a misdemeanor
  • Eliminating your need to register as a sex offender
  • Allowing you to have your record expunged after you have served your sentence

States With Romeo And Juliet Laws

Different types of Romeo and Juliet Laws can be found in the following states:

  • Alabama
  • Alaska
  • Arizona
  • Arkansas
  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Hawaii
  • Iowa
  • Louisiana
  • Maine
  • Maryland
  • Minnesota
  • Mississippi
  • New Jersey
  • New Mexico
  • North Carolina
  • Oregon
  • Pennsylvania
  • South Dakota
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Washington
  • West Virginia
  • Wyoming

Texas’ Romeo and Juliet Law

Texas law requires a person to be at least 17 years of age in order to be able to consent to have sexual intercourse. However, the acceptable age difference of the state’s Romeo and Juliet law is three years, so a person who had sexual intercourse with someone who was underage can successfully defeat a statutory rape conviction if they prove the following:

  • They are no more than 3 years older than their sexual partner
  • They were not already a registered sex offender at the time of the sexual relationship
  • Their sexual partner was at least 14 years old
  • Their sexual relationship was consensual between both persons

The Law Offices Of Ned Barnett Can Help

If you have been accused of statutory rape, a skilled sex crimes lawyer can help you build a defense that can get your charges reduced, or even dropped. Being accused of rape can be extremely stressful and overwhelming for anybody, and attorney Ned Barnett understands how these cases disrupt the lives of our clients. Romeo and Juliet laws were enacted to protect young people who are understood to have a consensual relationship, but where one or both persons may be under that state’s age of consent.

To speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney about your case, contact The Law Offices of Ned Barnett. Contact us today at (713) 222-6767.