Mistaken Age in Texas Sex Crimes

Mistaken Age in Texas

Meeting people organically has become more challenging in the age of technology. Today there are a plethora of dating apps, social media sites, and online forums that cater to people looking for companionship. The problem with many of these mediums is the accuracy of the information. Online it is easy to pass yourself off as something you’re not. Someone could imagine themselves as a writer, musician, doctor, or adult, even a minor. The same can be true in real-life interactions.

The majority of people have probably faked their age at some point. Unfortunately, when someone misrepresents their age and sex is involved, it can spell disaster. Have you engaged in sexual activity with someone you thought was older than they really were? If so, you may be facing serious sex crime charges that will jeopardize your future. 

At the Law Offices of Mark T. Lassiter, we know how damaging a rape charge can be. Your reputation, your entire future, could be on the line. If you are facing a charge of statutory rape of a minor, you need to get in contact with an experienced criminal defense attorney now. At the Law Offices of Mark T. Lassiter, we will work with you to craft a defense strategy that offers you the best chance at a favorable outcome for your situation.

Sex Crimes Involving Minors

The age of consent in Texas is 17. That means that anyone 16 and under cannot legally consent to sexual contact, even when the minor agrees or initiates the act. When an adult engages in sexual activity with someone underage, there can be significant penalties. The penalties will generally depend on how the crime itself is categorized. Sex crimes are broken down into multiple categories, such as: 

  • Sexual assault of a minor – Sexual assault is considered penetration between a minor and an individual at least three years older than the victim. This offense is generally a second-degree felony and can carry penalties including fines up to $10,000 and two to 20 years in prison. 
  • Aggravated sexual assault – Aggravated sexual assault is when an adult penetrates a minor younger than 14. It may also apply to situations where coercion or force is used to have sex with a victim under the age of 14. Aggravated sexual assault is a first-degree felony. A conviction can result in fines up to $10,000 and five to 99 years in prison. 
  • Indecency with a child – Indecency with a minor includes sexual contact over or under clothing that is meant to gratify a sexual desire. This contact can be touching or fondling, anything other than penetration. Again, the victim must be a minor younger than 17, and the accused must be at least three years older than the victim. An indecency charge is a second-degree felony. A conviction can result in fines up to $10,000 and two to 20 years prison time.

Being convicted of a sex crime involving a minor can also result in other penalties. For example, an individual may be required to register as a sex offender. Texas runs a sex offender registry program designed to protect the public from convicted sex offenders. Those convicted of certain crimes must register with local law enforcement by providing detailed information about themselves. This information can be made available to the public.

Is Mistaken Age a Viable Defense?

You may have been duped into thinking you were engaging in sexual conduct with someone closer to your age, but is that a viable defense in Texas? Young people tend to want to seem older and more grown-up than they are. Many go so far as to lie about their true age. However, in Texas, mistaken age is rarely a viable defense. Texas takes a tough stance on sexual crimes committed against minors. Generally, making a mistake about the age of a minor cannot be relied upon to avoid a conviction. Even in cases where minors lie about their age and the sexual contact are consensual, adults can still find themselves in legal hot water. 

mistaken age sex with minor crime

There is a legal precedent in the state where an adult was held accountable for their actions, even while claiming that they did not know the real age of their sexual partner. If you have been accused of committing a sex crime against a minor, exercise your right to remain silent and contact a criminal defense attorney immediately. You may think that telling the police you didn’t know how old the person was will get you out of trouble. In most cases, it won’t. Keep silent until you can consult with an experienced sex crimes attorney.

In some circumstances, reasonably believing that a minor is over the age of consent may help mitigate your situation, but it can’t always be relied upon as a defense tactic. Let a skilled attorney review your case and determine the best path forward. Other defense strategies may prove most useful, like the Romeo and Juliet Exemption or that you did not intend to commit a sex crime.

Get in Touch with a Sex Crimes Defense Lawyer Immediately

Do not be fooled into thinking that hiring an attorney will make you look guilty. Prosecutors are already busy mounting a case that will attempt to do that. You need to worry about your future and how being convicted of a sex crime could jeopardize everything you’ve worked for in your life. If accusations start flying or you have been charged with a sex crime against a minor, contact a skilled criminal defense attorney today. You don’t have time to waste.

At the Law Offices of Mark T. Lassiter, we take an aggressive stance on your behalf. We will immediately begin protecting your rights and craft a defense strategy that offers you the best chance at a favorable outcome for your situation. Don’t attempt to talk your way out of a bad situation. Most of the time, you will only talk yourself into more trouble. Let the sex crimes defense team at the Law Offices of Mark T. Lassiter talk for you. Call us today at (214) 845-7007.

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