A Prominent Criminal Defense Firm Serving Dallas & Fort Worth

What is the age of consent in TX?

| Nov 30, 2020 | Firm News

Understanding the actual age of your sex partner is paramount. Even if you are merely engaging in flirty texts and not actually sending racy pictures or physically being present with one another, it is possible for you to fall afoul of statutory rape laws if you are not familiar with them.

Statutory rape laws are different between countries and even between states in the US. According to Ageofconsent.net, the age of consent in Texas is 17.

Is there a close-in-age exemption in TX?

The state of Texas has no specific close-in-age exemption. Close-in-age exemptions are often called Romeo and Juliet laws. Where they exist, close-in-age exemptions protect individuals who are around the same age and engage in sexual conduct. For instance, a Romeo and Juliet law would prevent the courts from charging an 18-year-old who was engaging with a 16-year-old in sex with statutory rape.

Texas does not have one of these laws specifically. However, there are legal defenses available if the reported offender is no more than 3 years older than the victim and is of the opposite sex. A lack of close-in-age exemption means that if two individuals who are under the age of 17 have sex with each other, the State of Texas can prosecute both of them for statutory rape. However, this is very rare.

Are there any other exceptions? 

Texas law explicitly forbids sexual intercourse between any school employee and a student of that school. The only exception to this is if the employee and the student marry, in which case Texas does not specify an age of consent.