Houston Statutory Rape Defense Lawyer
Dedicated to Preserving Your Freedom
Many young people in Texas become romantically involved with people younger than themselves without being aware of the potential dangers they may face if one of them is under 17 and the difference in their ages is more than three years or the younger person doesn't truthfully reveal how old they are. Just because someone may be physically, intellectually, or sexually mature, doesn't mean they are of age. Sadly, even high school seniors occasionally find themselves in trouble for things they've done with a fellow student.
Similarly, many other Texans become the object of attraction, obsession, or revenge by a young person who does not comprehend the consequences of an exaggeration or a lie, and possibly is too scared to come clean and retract it.
Texas law on this subject appears black and white, but the way it is applied in a given case, if at all, may depend on the assistance of a skilled and experienced criminal defense lawyer.
Sex with a Minor or Statutory Rape Charges in Texas
The Age of Consent In Texas Is 17 and the law does NOT require you to know that the person was underage to be prosecuted!
It is against the law in the State of Texas to have sexual relations or touching of any kind with a child who is under 17 years of age if you are more than three years older than the child or not the spouse of the child. A child under 14 cannot consent to sexual activity of any kind with anyone.
What is commonly called "Statutory Rape" or "Sex With a Minor" in other states is called "Sexual Assault of a Child" in Texas. If the child is under 14, it is Aggravated Sexual Assault of a Child.
Penalties for Statutory Rape
The penalties for child sex crimes are very severe in Texas.
- Sexual Assault of a Child is a second degree felony and carries a range of punishment of 2 to 20 years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine.
- Aggravated Sexual Assault of a Child is a first degree felony, punishable by 5 to 99 years or life in prison and up to a $10,000 fine.
Some statutory rape defendants may be eligible to receive probation or deferred adjudication for up to ten years.
Whether on community supervision or in prison, people who plea to or are convicted of statutory rape will probably have to register as a sex offender for the rest of their life.
Even if you are a minor at the time of conviction, you may have to serve out the remainder of your sentence in adult prison after your juvenile term ends and still have to register as a sex offender when your term ends. Future opportunities would be very limited with such a cloud over your head.
Assert your 5th amendment right to remain silent!
It is important to remember that Texas law does not require that the accused know the other person was underage! "She lied to me!" isn't an excuse!
That's why if you have been accused of or are being investigated for statutory rape, the most important thing to do is to assert your 5th Amendment right to remain silent, not discuss the case with anyone, and seek legal advice. Your conversations with people other than a lawyer may not be privileged. More suspects make the prosecution's case against them by claiming "I didn't know she was 16" or "She lied to me" than probably any other way.
Remember, Texas law does not require you know how old the child was.
If you are a parent and your child has been accused by neighbors, school officials, or others, don't let him or her talk to anyone. Anything your child says will be used against him or her. It is a crime for the school or others not to report the sexual conduct. These cases are taken very seriously by the schools, the police, and the prosecutors. To them, he is just a number, and while they may seem sympathetic, they aren't. They may feel bad about it, but they will still prosecute him.
Sex Crime Lawyer in Houston
Prosecutorial discretion is often the only thing that stands between a young lover and felony charges, jail time, or even after probation, years or a lifetime of registration as a sex offender. Persuading prosecutors to exercise that discretion to do the right thing in a given case is the role of experienced defense counsel who can make mitigating information available to an Assistant District Attorney or Grand Jury in pursuit of a dismissal, no-bill, or reduced charges.
Experienced counsel is also the key to defending the charges when they are not true or no other relief is available. The government must be held to its burden. Their evidence and witnesses must be examined, and challenged, in a jury trial if necessary. This may be the first time the Defendant faces allegations of statutory rape in Texas, but it shouldn't be their lawyer's.
I understand the anxiety and uncertainty you are facing. I have represented numerous people accused of statutory rape over the years and I understand that being pulled into the justice system is a dehumanizing and degrading experience. People from all walks of life have faced charges for sex with a minor; including teachers, high school students, and others. These charges might involve consensual sex or false accusations and I will dedicate the time to carefully listen to the specifics of your case and thoroughly yet discreetly investigate the charges against you. I will aggressively fight to protect your rights and assist you in seeking the best outcome possible.
When your future is on the line, it is very important that you contact a Houston criminal attorney experienced in these types of cases, as soon as you possibly can. My name is Tate Williams and I have experience representing people accused of statutory rape. Working with my clients, and sometimes retained experts, my clients have been able to avoid prosecution, conviction, probation, and registration. It is not an easy, but it will be much more difficult without experience on your side with dignity and respect. At my firm, you are a person, not a number.
Contact a Houston criminal defense attorney from my professional firm right away when you are facing the severe consequences of being charged with sex with a minor.