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Texas Age of Consent Law

A reader asked me what the age of consent is in Texas. Great question. Let me begin by stating there is no section of the Texas Penal Code that defines “age of consent.” Rather, you have to begin in the Sexual Assault Provisions of the TPC.

§ 22.011. SEXUAL ASSAULT.
(a) A person commits an offense if the person:
(2) intentionally or knowingly:
(A) causes the penetration of the anus or sexual organ of a child by any means;
(B) causes the penetration of the mouth of a child by the sexual organ of the actor;
(C) causes the sexual organ of a child to contact or penetrate the mouth, anus, or sexual organ of another person, including the actor;
(D) causes the anus of a child to contact the mouth, anus, or sexual organ of another person, including the actor; or
(E) causes the mouth of a child to contact the anus or sexual organ of another person, including the actor.

This begs the question- What is a child?

(c) In this section:
(1) “Child” means a person younger than 17 years of age
who is not the spouse of the actor.

Ok. So performing any of the acitivties under (a)(2)(A)-(E) with anyone under 17 (and not your spouse) is illegal in Texas. Doesn’t that make many high school students felons? No. Texas has a “Romeo and Juliet” affirmative defense for minors who are within 3 years of age.

(e) It is an affirmative defense to prosecution under
Subsection (a)(2) that:
(1) the actor was not more than three years older than the victim and at the time of the offense:
(A) was not required under Chapter 62, Code of
Criminal Procedure, to register for life as a sex offender; or
(B) was not a person who under Chapter 62, Code of
Criminal Procedure, had a reportable conviction or adjudication for
an offense under this section; and
(2) the victim:
(A) was a child of 14 years of age or older; and
(B) was not a person whom the actor was prohibited from marrying or purporting to marry or with whom the actor was prohibited from living under the appearance of being married under Section 25.01.

So, to answer- the age of consent in Texas is 17. An affirmative defense does not bar arrest and prosecution. It is an issue that the defense must raise at trial. However, I would recommend you consult with your attorney before choosing any course of conduct.

Posted in: Texas Laws
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28 Responses to “Texas Age of Consent Law”

  1. ZMan! says:

    http://sexoffenderissues.blogspot.com/
    I want to first start off with saying I am NOT pro-pedophile or pro-sex offender but pro-Constitution. I am totally against any form of abuse to any animal or human being. Anybody who commits any crime should be punished. But, once that person has done the time they were convicted under, via contract, and is off parole and/or probation, they should be able to get on with their lives without all the rules and regulations. No other criminal has to live by such draconian laws, so why sex offenders? If we must do this for sex offenders, then I think, to be fair, all criminals must be under similar rules and regulations.

    When an ex-offender is forced to move from his/her home, thus having to sell it, cannot find another home within the law due to the residency “buffer” zones, get fired from their jobs due to being on the registry, cannot find a new job due to being on the registry, their husband/wife lose their jobs due to a significant other being on the registry, their children lose their friends and are harassed and bullied in school due to a family member being on the registry, thus destroying the children’s lives, ex-offenders are forced into homelessness and to live under bridges, harassed by police, neighbors and probation/parole officers, have to wear “I’m a sex offender T-shirt” or have a neon green license plate on ALL their cars, have “sex offender” on their drivers license and forced to renew their licenses every year, forced from shelters during tornadoes or hurricanes, cannot give blood at some places due to being discriminated against for being on the sex offender registry, denied housing due to being on the registry, signs placed in their yards inviting harassment and ridicule from the neighbors, forced to move when the neighbors start picketing outside the ex-offenders home, the list is endless.

    I THINK THIS IS CRUEL AND UNUSUAL PUNISHMENT, BEYOND THE EXTREME!

  2. Football88 says:

    Ok…I have a question. If a 17 year old 4 months short of being 18 and a 21 year old engaged in texting and phone conversations, and the parents of the 17 year old did not approve, would there be any legal actions that the parents could take against the 21 year old?

  3. Robert Guest says:

    F88,
    Thanks for reading. However, I can’t give legal advise on this blog. I would recommend contacting an attorney in your area to see if the law offers any remedy.

    RG

  4. Inquiring Mind says:

    If the age of consent in Texas is 17, why does the CPS Service Plan in the YFZ case state that it is 18?

    The plan states on page 2:

    “Unmarried children 17 years of age or younger cannot legally agree to sexual relations even if they are willing.”

    http://web.gosanangelo.com/pdf/051508_fldsplan.pdf

  5. IG says:

    ZMan is an RSO & pedophile activist.

    http://www.wikisposure.com/ZMan6919

  6. James says:

    http://www.wikisposure.com/ is an organized hate group for perverted justice, the group currently under a civil complaint due to their vigilante tactics that caused the suicide death of a Dallas Area Lawyer. They take money from NBC, yet state on the perverted justice website that they are non-profit while paying their Board of Directors 100,000 dollars a year. Their Tax statements state this as fact. They are led by a ego-maniac, Xavier von Erck, who harasses anyone, including non-sex offenders, who attempts to call his group out on their stalking practices. To change the attention away from their group, they typically label anyone wanted more rational Sex Offender laws as a Pro-pedo, or ‘soft’ on sexual offenders. To see Xavier in action, take a look at him when asked discuss his group’s ‘operations’ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mjwtmw_sAk0
    artcile on the payday for Him and Shea, of of the “Board” members.
    http://www.radaronline.com/exclusives/2007/11/perverted-payday.php

  7. jon says:

    i have a friend that is 18 and his girlfriend is 15 thats the romio and juliet rule but he is a mounth older than 3 years so can he get in trouble

  8. Jason says:

    My sister is 17, as of July 19 `08. She has been dating this guy for about a year, and we just found out he is 25. Would that be considered as a criminal offense? Thanks.

  9. ZMan says:

    Yes, I am a RSO, but what the user above states, is defamatory BS!

    I was charged in 1988/1989 and have not committed any other sex crime since, nor plan on doing so.

    Also, I never touched, had sex with, or raped ANY child, so this is a load of BS!!!

  10. Hey ? says:

    TEXAS – Age of Consent: 17 years of age or younger cannot legally agree to sexual relations even if they are willing.”

    TEXAS – Age of Criminal Responsibility -
    Sec. 8.07. AGE AFFECTING CRIMINAL RESPONSIBILITY. (a) A person may not be prosecuted for or convicted of any offense that he committed when younger than 15 years of age except: For list of exception at :http://www.bakers-legal-pages.com/pc/0807.htm
    15 years of age are responsible enough, to be convicted, except plea deals, be convicted as adult, be sentenced to life in prison.
    Responsible enough to go to prison, but, not responsible enough to consent to sexual pleasure with someone you like, drink, drive,smoke, sign contracts, etc.etc.etc.

  11. confuzzled says:

    i’m confused. i was told that as long as the older person is still in high school, it’s okay to be together. does this statutory rape thing include all physical activity??

  12. Christina says:

    So, if I’m 17 and my boyfriend is 20, then we are legal as long as we are only three years apart in age?

  13. Susanna says:

    My son turned 17 in Dec, and his girlfriend is turning 19 in June. She sent me a text message that they are having unprotected sex on purpose, and not she claims she is pregnant. What legal stand do I have. On top of that, she’s undocumented, so now she possibly has an anchor baby on the way, and will probably have to apply for state Medicaid, here in Texas…at the taxpayers’ expense. Am I legally responsible for the support of this child if my son is a minor?

  14. Concerned says:

    So since I am 15 soon to be 16, my bday is 9/2/93 and my bf is just turned 18, his bday is 6/4/91 and we’ve been together for over 3 years is our relationship illegal?

  15. Cj says:

    I met a young girl. She was 12 years younger than me. I could have gone to jail but luckily I did not. Her parents approved of me and I loved her very much. We have been married for 23 years and havee 4 fine children. My great grandfather married my greatgrandmother who was at least 15 years younger. Do I come from a long line of sex offenders? We love and respect our women. There are no divorces and carrying on. While I do not advocate breaking the law,I will say You just can`t always help who you fall in love with.

  16. Cj says:

    I met a young girl. She was 12 years younger than me. I could have gone to jail but luckily I did not. Her parents approved of me and I loved her very much. We have been married for 23 years and havee 4 fine children. My great grandfather married my greatgrandmother who was at least 15 years younger. Do I come from a long line of sex offenders? We love and respect our women. There are no divorces and carrying on. While I do not advocate breaking the law,I will say You just can`t always help who you fall in love with.

  17. Cj says:

    I met a young girl. She was 12 years younger than me. I could have gone to jail but luckily I did not. Her parents approved of me and I loved her very much. We have been married for 23 years and havee 4 fine children. My great grandfather married my greatgrandmother who was at least 15 years younger. Do I come from a long line of sex offenders? We love and respect our women. There are no divorces and carrying on. While I do not advocate breaking the law,I will say You just can`t always help who you fall in love with.

  18. ann says:

    My daughter is 14 1/12/95 with in the last year she told me that she likes girls do the laws apply to same sex offenders. I just found out that my daughter was with a 20 year old female.can i do anything about it??

  19. jimmy says:

    ann, you have a course of action, does apply to same sex activities, the girl is 3 years older so press charges if you can prove the allegations. Or have at least a moderate case… Good luck, remember though, you’re messing with someone’s life, so tread carefully.

  20. js says:

    My brother is 26 and his gf is 17 turning 18 soon and just found out she is pregnant. legal or not?

  21. leolooking says:

    i am 22, she is 17 about to turn 18 in 6 months. legal?

  22. concerned dad says:

    My 14 yr old daughter stole our vehicle to go have sex with a 15 yr old boy in the middle of the night. What can I do to both kids?

  23. na says:

    I am a 23 yr old lesbian, there is a 17 yr old girl who likes me, is it legal for us to date or not?

  24. sam says:

    my friend is fourteen and she is in love with an eighteen year old. Is it legal for them to date if their parent aprove?

  25. .... says:

    ALL OF YOU PARENTS ON HERE LOOKING TO PUNISH NEED TO GET A LIFE LIKE CJ…YOU JUST CANT HELP WHO YOU FALL IN LOVE WITH!!!IM SURE MOST OF YOUR SPOUSES ARE OLDER THAN 3 YEARS APART,AND WHEN YOUR IN LOVE AND THE MOMENTS RIGHT YOU HAVE SEX…BOTTOM LINE!!!YOU NEED TO STOP DICTATING!!!! “OH MY SONS 18 DATING A 17 YEAR OLD”….GROW THE HELL UP!IM 19,and am in love with a 16 almost 17 year old.I HAVE NO REGRETS!it just saddens me to see parents and people bitchinb about who falls in love:(

  26. Anonymous says:

    I WNT TO THANK CJ…FOR OPENING THE REALITY OF FUCKING LIFE…THIS 2010 and theres enough laws….we dnt need one for love thnx CJ!from a person with a similar prespective!

  27. Former TX Cop says:

    Stop focusing on the 3 year “romeo/juliet” defense.. its jsut a defense.. and any judge can disregard it during trial. This was created for small brackets of kids being charged.(14-17)(15-18)(16-19).

    The fact is: a 17yr. CAN give consent to sex as of their 17th bday.

    With all that being said… I have seen some parents, DA’s, and judges RAPE the system and find some loop to get some of these kids charged any fkn way they can.

    Also keep in mind Sodomy is still illegal in TX. Sodomy is often thought of as anal sex… ACTUALLY truth is sodomy = anal OR oral sex. Yeah so don’t brag about those Bj’s guys. ;)

  28. Cris says:

    YOU HONESTLY CANT HELP WHO YOU FALL IN LOVE WITH!IM 16 YEARS OLD AND MY BOYFRIEND IS 19 , MY PARENTS WONT EVEN MEET HIM BECAUSE THEY ASSUME HIS AGE AFFECTS HIS PERSONALITY!WE ARE SEPERATED TEMPORARILY BY MY PARENTS AND ITS A LOAD OF BULLSHIT. THEY ARE 15 YEARS APART! PARENTS NEED TO STOP BEINB BUSY BODIES AND LET YOUR CHILDREN LIVE!