Texas Age of Consent Laws 2021
What is the Texas Age of Consent?
The Texas Age of Consent is 17 years old. In the United States, the age of consent is the minimum age at which an individual is considered legally old enough to consent to participation in sexual activity. Individuals aged 16 or younger in Texas are not legally able to consent to sexual activity, and such activity may result in prosecution for statutory rape.
Texas statutory rape law is violated when a person has consensual sexual intercourse with an individual under age 17. While there is no close in age exemption, defenses exist when the offender was no more than 3 years older then the victim and of the opposite sex. sexual intercourse between an employee of a school and a student is also prohibited, unless they are married, and no age of consent is specified in this law.
Texas does not have a close-in-age exemption. Close in age exemptions, commonly known as "Romeo and Juliet laws", are put in place to prevent the prosecution of individuals who engage in consensual sexual activity when both participants are significantly close in age to each other, and one or both partners are below the age of consent.
Because there is no such "Romeo and Juliet law" in Texas, it is possible for two individuals both under the age of 17 who willingly engage in intercourse to both be prosecuted for statutory rape, although this is rare. Similarly, no protections are reserved for sexual relations in which one participant is a 16 year old and the second is a 17 or 18 year old.
Punishments for Violating the Age Of Consent in Texas
Texas has five statutory sexual abuse charges on the books which are used to prosecute age of consent and child abuse related crimes within the state. One or more of these charges may be used to prosecute violations of the Texas Age of Consent, as statutory rape or the Texas equivalent of that charge.
The severity of the criminal charge (felony, misdemeanor, etc) depends on the specifics of the acts committed and the relative ages of the perpetrator and victim. Click any charge for more detailed information.
|Aggravated sexual assault||Felony of the first degree||Maximum of life in prison and/or a maximum fine of $10,000|
|Continuous sexual abuse of a young child or children||Felony of the first degree||Maximum of life in prison and/or a maximum fine of $10,000|
|Indecency with a child||Felony of the second degree; Felony of the third degree||Maximum of 20 years in prison and/or a maximum fine of $10,000; Maximum of 10 years in prison and/or a maximum fine of $10,000|
|Prohibited sexual conduct||Felony of the second degree; Felony of the third degree||Maximum of 20 years in prison and/or a maximum fine of $10,000; Maximum of 10 years in prison and/or a maximum fine of $10,000|
|Sexual assault||Felony of the first degree||Maximum of life in prison and/or a maximum fine of $10,000|