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Under the Texas version of the Romeo and Juliet law, if a young adult over the age of 17 has consensual sexual relations with someone who is at least 15, and if there is no more than a four-year age difference, Texas will not require the older person to register as a sex offender, even if that person is convicted of sexual assault or statutory rape.
Opponents of the law charged that Texas lawmakers were “legalizing sex for 15-year-olds” since the law allows anyone up to four years older to have consensual sex with someone who is 15.
If the court finds that the relationship was consensual and the offender is not a threat to the community, it can release the offender from the sex offender registry.
However, the Texas 2011 Romeo and Juliet law is extremely limited and precise.
The 2011 law also permits many of those who were convicted for sexual assault under the old law to clear their names.
If they have not already done so, those who were ordered to register as sex offenders for consensual sex with someone under age 18 can ask the court to review the case.
The law recognizes three types of crimes that may constitute statutory rape in this state: Aggravated sexual assault: Aggravated sexual assault is the sexual penetration of a minor below the age of 14 by a defendant of any age.
Sexual assault is a second-degree felony in Texas, and a conviction is punishable by a sentence of 2 to 20 years in a Texas state prison.Indecency with a child: Indecency with a child is any sexual contact meant to arouse or gratify sexual desire between a minor below the age of 18 and a defendant who is four or more years older.Indecency with a child is a second-degree felony in Texas, and a conviction is punishable by a sentence of 2 to 20 years in a Texas state prison.In some states, however, “Romeo and Juliet” laws now exempt from some criminal penalties some teenagers and young adults who have had sexual relations with someone under the age of consent. Romeo and Juliet laws cover those incidents where two people, not that far apart in age, engage in sexual relations, but one of the people has not reached the age of consent.In most cases and in most states, when someone over the age of consent engages in sexual relations with someone under the age of consent, the older person can be charged with statutory rape or sexual assault on a child.