Texas law explicitly forbids any person from engaging in sexual activity with a person under the age of 13.That is the age at which a person is presumed to be unable to provide her or his consent to sexual acts.However, the new law has limits on its protections.Although the new law protects the older party in the relationship from having to register as a sex offender, it does not make the older party immune from prosecution based on other sex-related crimes such as statutory rape.However, for some teenagers in Texas and nationwide, young love can land them a lengthy jail sentence, due to the sex crimes laws on the books.In an ironic twist, parents across the nation are fighting against the very laws that are designed to protect their children.
In a particularly poignant example, an 18-year-old high school senior was arrested for having sex with his freshman girlfriend at the same high school.
An adult who mistakenly believes that a young person is over the age of 17 when the young person is actually under the age of 17, can be charged with a sex crime. Even under the new laws, there is still the possibility for young lovers to run afoul of the law.
As the penalties can be very severe, if you have been accused of a sex crime, contact an experienced criminal defense lawyer.
Some state legislatures, such as Texas, have responded to the parental demands for change by enacting so-called "Romeo and Juliet" Law.
These types of laws exempt some teenagers and young adults engaging in sexual relations with someone under the age of consent from being classified as sex offenders.