Statutory Rape Defense
Houston Statutory Rape Attorneys :: The Law Office of Matthew D. Sharp
According to Section 21.011 of the Texas Penal Code, statutory rape is a sex crime that happens between an adult and a victim under the age of 17 who is not his or her spouse. That’s because the law assumes that a child who is 16 years old or younger is not mature enough to consent to sexual activity. Since no consent is given, statutory rape is classified as a type of rape. Age alone is enough for the courts to prove there was a lack of consent. In order for this act to occur, one of the following things must take place:
- Penetration of the anus, sex organ, or mouth of a child
- Causing the child’s sex organ, anus, or mouth to make contact with the sex organ, anus or mouth of another
The law does not discriminate in regards to gender. Boys and girls can both be classified as victims, and men and women can both be designated as offenders.
Statutory Rape Punishments
This crime is a second-degree felony that can result in two to 20 years in prison along with a fine that may not exceed $10,000. That’s not all, because those who are convicted of this crime will also have to maintain an active file in the sex offender registry for the rest of his or her life. Many offenders suffer a great deal of public embarrassment and discrimination as a result of having to do so.
Possible Defenses for Statutory Rape
Those who are facing statutory rape charges have a difficult battle ahead of them. In many cases, charges stem solely on the victim’s statement. The fact that the offender did not know the victim was less than 17 years of age is not a defense. In these cases, it might be necessary to raise reasonable doubt as to the accuracy of the victim’s statement.
There are also several affirmative defenses spelled out by the Texas Penal Code, and a few of them include:
- The perpetrator was not more than three years older than the victim and was of the opposite sex
- Duress was a contributing factor
- Defendant was not required to register as a sex offender
Get Help From a Statutory Rape Lawyer
People who are facing charges can benefit from having a statutory rape attorney analyze the evidence to ensure false allegations are not being made against a client. This is extremely important since statutory rape is considered a “strict liability” crime. This means intent is not necessary, so lawyers are often required to prove one’s innocence rather than having the state prove their guilt.
Houston statutory rape attorneys The Law Office of Matthew D. Sharp won’t be intimidated by the tactics prosecutors sometimes use. For a free consultation, call The Law Office of Matthew D. Sharp.