Statutory Rape, also called Sexual Assault of a Child, if the child is under the age of 17 and Aggravated Sexual Assault if the child is under the age of 14, is a sexual act in which the victim is not recognized under the law as being old enough to manifest consent to a sexual act.
The Importance is that even if the victim gives actual consent to the act of sex, the law maintains that when the victim is under the "age of consent" (16 in most states), the law regards the victim as not old enough to give consent to sex.
If the child is under the age of 14 or if any violence is threatened, used, or committed whether the child is under 17, 14, or a person of any age rises to the level of Aggravated Sexual Assault, a first degree felony punishable from anywhere from a minimum of 5 years to a maximum of 99 years or life in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice-Institutional Division. Remember, the first ½ of the sentence must be served day to day with no consideration of any time off for good behavior. After trial, probation is not available as a sentencing option if the crime was committed after the 1st of September 2008. Therefore, aggressive and thorough preparation and defense is essential with your lawyer and a defense team able to mount the proper defense.
Furthermore, if the victim lies about his or her age and the defendant is not aware of their actual age, this is not a defense to the act of sex with a minor under Texas Law.
Statutory Rape charges are common in our society today. There is a nationwide obsession and crackdown on perceived sexual predators spearheaded by the news media. These allegations can arise from a teenager angry with a step-parent, a student claiming an improper relationship with a teacher or a college age boy having sex with a high school age girlfriend.
A statutory rape conviction can follow you for the rest of your life. If convicted, you can face a lifetime registration as a sex offender and severe criminal penalties.
Statutory Rape charges generally pit the word of the accused against the word of the victim. Do not be tempted to plead guilty early in these cases. Instead, you should plan a strong defense that will overwhelm the prosecution.
Physical evidence may be available immediately after the alleged act. This evidence can be used in your defense if you obtain an effective defense team immediately.
Aggravated Sexual Assault defense is different from other areas of criminal law and requires very specific techniques and experience. An effective defense team often employs psychologists, medical experts, private investigators and an attorney with the expertise to use these tools in the most effective manner.
One defense strategy is to deny that the alleged sexual act occurred in the first place or that the sexual act did not involve the defendant. DNA and other forensic evidence may be used to support this defense.
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