She’s fine and sexy, but you have a hunch that she’s too young? You better follow that hunch and make sure she’s not underage before you have sex with her. She could be what the streets call jailbait. When dealing with sexual assault and consensual sex with a child, it is critically important to understand legal “consent.” The Texas Penal Code (TPC) defines “consent” as assent (agreement) in fact, whether express or apparent. So, the question is at what age can a person agree “legally” to have sex?
Sexual Assault Defined
Texas law criminalizes sex with a child. The TPC defines a “child” as someone younger than 17 years old. Specifically, § 21.011 of the TPC states that a person commits sexual assault if he or she intentionally or knowingly:
- Penetrates the mouth, anus or vagina of a child with anything; OR
- Causes the child’s sexual organ to penetrate or contact the mouth, anus or vagina of another, including the person; OR
- Causes the child’s mouth or anus to contact the mouth, anus or sexual organ of another, including the person.
This statute is broad and perhaps a little confusing; nevertheless, just know that it essentially covers all types of sexual contact with a child. And what it omits, is covered by another statute called indecency with a child. A violation of both statutes carries severe punishment.
What If The Child Agrees To Have Sex
While the statute does not specifically mention “age of consent,” Texas Courts have ruled that children cannot legally consent or agree to have sex because they lack the capacity to appreciate the significance or consequences of sex. What’s more, it doesn’t matter that the child:
- initiated the sex
- lied about his or her age
- had a fake ID
- looked like an adult
- agreed to have sex without force or coercion
None of these excuses is relevant under the law. All that’s relevant is whether the victim was under 17.
Romeo and Juliet
There’s one potential defense to sexual assault of a child. It’s commonly called the Romeo and Juliet law. Generally, it’s a defense against sexual assault of a child if the person is not more than three years older than the child and the child is at least 14. For example, if sixteen-year-old John has sex with 14-year-old Jane, John may be able to raise the Romeo and Juliet defense if other conditions are met.
Super Aggravated Sexual Assault of A Child
A 17-year-old person commits aggravated sexual assault if he has sex with a child that is younger than 14. Or if he has sex with the child twice or more in a 30-day period, he’s committed continuous sexual abuse of a child. Additionally, it’s super aggravated assault if the child is younger than six years old. The Romeo and Juliet law isn’t a defense in either of these cases. These offenses carry 25 to life.
Sexual Offender Registration
Finally, if a person is convicted of sexual assault or aggravated sexual assault, he will be required to register as a sex offender for at least ten years, quite possibly for the remainder of his life. In many ways, sex offender registration is worse than prison. Obviously, you need to think long and hard before having sex with a teenager. Don’t allow your passions to destroy your life.
Remember, I am not an attorney and this is not legal advice, so please call the Dallas Criminal Defense Lawyers at the Corbett Law Firm at 214-725-0254 if you need legal advice or have questions about this article.