Under Denton law, statutory rape is defined as sexual intercourse between an individual who is 18 or older and an individual who is younger than 17.

If you are facing a charge of statutory rape and are seeking legal representation, it is imperative that you consult with an experienced sex crimes lawyer as soon as possible. A knowledgeable Denton statutory rape attorney can help build a strong defense to help minimize any long-term consequences you may be facing.

Romeo and Juliet Clauses

The phrase “Romeo and Juliet clauses of law” is derived from the famous Shakespearean play and, in Denton, refers to the affirmative defense that may be available under certain circumstances. Such circumstances arise when an individual who is over the age of 17 engages in sexual intercourse with a minor between the ages of 14 and 17, and there is no more than a three-year age difference between the two.

For example, if two high schoolers aged 18 and 16 have sexual intercourse, the Romeo and Juliet laws might come into play to protect the 18-year old. However, if a 23-year-old engages in sexual intercourse with a 16-year-old, for example, such laws will not be applicable. It is important for an individual to contact a Denton statutory rape attorney to determine how this clause may apply to their case.

Inability to Legally Consent

Statutory rape is unique because an individual may be charged with statutory rape even if the alleged victim agreed to engage in sexual intercourse. This is because, under Texas law, the alleged victim in a statutory rape case is not of legal age to provide consent. Therefore, the fact that the alleged victim agreed to, or desired to, engage in sexual intercourse is immaterial to the allegations.

Potential Penalties

Statutory rape is a felony that falls under the category of sexual assault. As such, it is vigorously prosecuted in Denton. An individual who is convicted of statutory rape will face between two and 20 years incarceration and a fine of up to $10,000. They will also be required to register with their local sex offender registry. Rape and statutory rape are associated with the same punishments under Texas law.

Importance of Legal Representation

Primarily, such an individual should look for a Denton statutory rape attorney with considerable experience with and knowledge of sexual assault cases. Such an attorney will examine all details of the case, including the ages of and the relationship between the involved parties, as well as the circumstances of the alleged rape. They will also be knowledgeable of and raise any affirmative defenses available to the defendant.

Most importantly, an experienced statutory rape lawyer in Corpus Christi will have the background and resources necessary to fight on behalf of their client in order to defend and preserve their rights throughout the duration of the process.

Contacting an Attorney

An individual who has been charged with a sex crime should hire a Denton statutory rape attorney as soon as possible in order to protect their rights during any investigations. A lawyer can be present with the individual during any questioning by police or detectives, and ensure that they are not asked to provide any statements or answers to questions that are not required of them.

This can be of significant importance if the charges proceed to trial, as any statements made by the charged individual can be used against them in court. For this reason, it is very important that an individual who has been charged with a sex crime hire a statutory rape lawyer in Corpus Christi as soon as possible, in order to protect their rights and future interests.