Almost everyone owns or has access to a smartphone today. Although younger people may view sexting as a relatively commonplace or harmless activity, law enforcement professionals, prosecutors, and parents tend to view sexting as a dangerous pastime. This post explores what sexting is, applicable Texas laws, and practical applications of laws to sexting violations. Are you facing a sexting crime in Texas? Typically, an individual engaged in sexting sends explicit or otherwise suggestive messages by email or text message using a mobile phone, tablet, or other devices:. According to studies, sexting is a common activity. In addition:. Prosecutors may use a variety of laws to prosecute sexters, especially if the sexting activity involves a minor.
Age of Consent in Texas
In the United States, age of consent laws regarding sexual activity are made at the state level. There are several federal statutes related to protecting minors from sexual predators, but laws regarding specific age requirements for sexual consent are left to individual states , District of Columbia , and territories. Depending on the jurisdiction, the legal age of consent is between 16 and In some places, civil and criminal laws within the same state conflict with each other.
Domestic violence and abuse, an issue that is never far from the headlines, continues to be a pervasive issue in the United States. State legislatures are at the forefront of defining and penalizing domestic violence and abuse. States vary in their domestic violence provisions. Within this variance are broad definitions that may include stalking, harassment and, in some instances, nonphysical abuse including intimidation and emotional abuse. Some states also have addressed child witnessing of domestic violence.
Approximately 23 states address child witnessing of domestic violence somewhere in statute. While some consider it an aggravating circumstance when sentencing a perpetrator, other states have created a separate offense that may be levied. View the Child Welfare Information Gateway Child Witnesses to Domestic Violence report for a discussion of the crossover between child abuse and neglect and domestic violence.
Within the realm of domestic violence and abuse are various other topics, including protection orders, safe court processes and custody and visitation or parenting time.
When Dating a Teen Is Legal, But Sexting with Her Is Not
Sexting among teens and tweens is a relatively new phenomenon, and many state legislatures are still trying to determine what to do about it. Because of this, laws concerning sexting vary widely. It can be easy to assume your child would never sext someone else, but kids often feel pressure to exchange sexual messages , images, or videos, so taking the time to have an open conversation with them can give them the opportunity to express any concerns. If you need extra support, Bark can help by alerting you about sexual content so you can talk through issues if your kid experiences them.
These can be nude or semi-nude images or just explicit texts. Typically, sexting occurs via text message, but any electronic transfer fits the definition — emailing, sending Instagram DMs, Snapchat selfies, and even TikTok messages.
In Texas, the age of consent is 17, which means if an adult engages in any you must look at the laws that prohibit sexual activity with a minor.
The legal age of consent varies from state to state, but all such laws are designed to protect kids. In Texas, for example, the age of consent is 17 years old, making the relationship between year-old Aldo Leiva and an unnamed year-old high school student legal in that state. But the range of ages in consent laws does not necessarily sync with other legislation that is designed to keep children from being sexually exploited.
That’s why, according to Courthouse News, Leiva was charged with possession of child pornography as the result of receiving topless photos of his teenage girlfriend. This case highlights a contradiction in the law and the general lack of consistency in such legislation: It is presumably legal for year-old Leiva to have sex with the year-old because she is considered capable of consenting sexually, yet it is illegal for her to share sexual photographs of herself with him because sexual images of young people under 18 years old are considered child pornography.
Leiva is reported to have been the young woman’s math tutor at her high school—a fact that raises other questions about the ethics of student-teacher relationships—but, nonetheless, their relationship is legal. In an interview with Broadly, Finkelhor explained that this is a common scenario. Most states have conflicting age of consent and child pornography laws. He pointed out that these contradictions can sometimes be used against the youths themselves. Young people across the country have technically violated laws prohibiting the production, distribution, and possession of child pornography because they sexted with their high school classmates.
Can You Go to Prison for Sexting?
Statutory rape is a strict liability crime, meaning that the consent of the younger person or mistake about their age is not a defense. For example, a state might set the age of consent at In these states, such as Texas, the age of consent is determined by age differentials between the two persons and limited by a minimum age.
Texas laws don’t mention the word “sexting. Also, sending obscene images of a minor between adults is a sex crime. their own images when they are in a dating relationship and aren’t more than two years apart in age.
Sexual assault is a serious crime that has severe consequences under Texas law. Assaults of either an adult or a child can lead to prison time, large fines, and your name listed on the Texas sex offender registry. Statutory rape occurs when a legal adult conducts any form of sexual activity with someone below the age of consent. It can even happen when the minor agrees to sexual activity.
For example, if a year-old and a year-old were in a relationship and had intercourse, the year-old would be guilty of statutory rape, no matter if the year-old provided his or her consent or not. Statutory rape laws are based on the age of consent. While many states in America set the age of consent at 18, Texas law allows for anyone aged 17 or older to give their consent for sexual activity to anyone at or over the same age. In the above example, if the two waited until the year-old had turned 17, they would be within their legal rights to have consensual sex.
While these laws play a role in keeping adults from taking advantage of children, they can also cause trouble. What does that mean for their relationship once one of them turns 18 and becomes a legal adult? Many teenagers form relationships throughout their high school years. Sometimes, this can lead to dating across grades and ages.
What Is the Age of Consent in Texas?
When it comes to protecting minors from sexual activity, the law determines the age of consent — i. If an adult engages in any form of sexual activity with someone below the legal age, it is statutory rape, even if the younger party gave their consent. This age varies across states, which all have their own laws on the subject.
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This article provides information on civil suits and survivors rights. Sections 21 and 22 of the Texas Penal Code define indecency with a child, sexual assault, aggravated sexual assault, and other sex crimes. A protective order is a civil court order that can have both civil and criminal consequences if it is violated.
A person who has a protective order entered against him or her may be arrested and prosecuted if they violate the protective order. It is not necessary for criminal charges to be pressed in order to apply for and receive a protective order. Sexual assault victims may apply for a protective order no matter the relationship between themselves and the assailant. Sexual assault protective orders are typically valid for two years, but lifetime orders are also available.
They last from 31—91 days and provide protection while a victim follows the lengthier process of seeking a long-term protective order. In limited situations, a survivor may also be able to hold a third party responsible. The burden of proof is lower in civil court than in a criminal prosecution. Attorneys will take on these types of cases if the attacker or third party has assets or money.
Survivors may want to consult with a civil attorney to decide whether to sue the perpetrator or a negligent third party. A survivor of sexual assault who is under 18 years of age may utilize a pseudonym during civil court proceedings to keep their identifying information confidential.
Sex with a Minor
Every state, including Texas, has an age when an individual can legally consent to sex. Before this, a minor cannot lawfully consent to sexual intercourse or other actions. This can put adolescents and young adults at odds with the law.
What is the legal definition of “dating violence” in Texas? If you are an adult or minor victim, you can apply on your own or with the help of a lawyer, or the.
Parents, particularly those with old daughters, certainly have consent for concern. Age shows that teenage girls tend to have their first sexual experience with male partners who are three or more years older. But do these dangers warrant laws that put young people in prison? The statutory rape laws vary greatly from state to state, with more than half of the states setting the legal age of consent at 16 other states range from 14 to For the most year, there is no single age at which a person can dating to old activity.
Only 12 states set a specific age ranging from 16 to 18 , while in the majority of states, the age of consent depends on multiple factors, including the ages of each partner and the number of years between them. The purpose behind most statutory rape laws is to punish grown adults who take old advantage of a minor. The following are just a few examples of Minor and Juliet laws currently in place in the Minor Texas:.
Exceptions and Old Considerations In addition to Age and Juliet laws, some states have specific exemptions when both parties to the sexual act are minors, or the person to be charged is legally married to the minor.
State-by-State Differences in Sexting Laws
The age of consent is the age at which a person may legally consent to sexual activity. Any sex allegation involving a child can bring your life to a screeching halt. The accusation — which may be nothing more than a statement — could lead to the loss of freedom, parental rights, housing, and employment. A conviction for this type of offense can result in a prison sentence that is decades long and a lifetime of registration as a sex offender. If you have been accused of a child sex crime, its imperative that you talk to an experienced attorney who is skilled in handling these types of cases as soon as possible.
In Texas, the age of consent is 17, which means if an adult engages in any form of sexual activity with a child under 17, it is considered statutory rape — even if the younger individual agreed to the sexual activity or lied about their age.
According to Texas law, only adults aged 18 or over can give three years have passed since the date of the offense, charges cannot be filed.
C transmit, receive, display, forward, cache, search, subset, organize, reorganize, or translate content. Acts , 63rd Leg. Amended by Acts , 66th Leg. Acts , 85th Leg. September 1, Acts , 86th Leg. A younger than 18 years of age, regardless of whether the actor knows the age of the person at the time of the offense;. B represented to the actor as being younger than 18 years of age; or. C believed by the actor to be younger than 18 years of age. For purposes of enhancement of penalties under this section or Subchapter D, Chapter 12 , a defendant is previously convicted of an offense under this section if the defendant was adjudged guilty of the offense or entered a plea of guilty or nolo contendere in return for a grant of deferred adjudication, regardless of whether the sentence for the offense was ever imposed or whether the sentence was probated and the defendant was subsequently discharged from community supervision.
Amended by Acts , 65th Leg. May 27, ; Acts , 73rd Leg. Acts , 81st Leg.
A Legal Resource About Sexual Assault
Nude photos, lewd text messages, and other intimate visual and written material on cell phones and smartphones are becoming a hot topic in the media. While this may result in serious consequences for adults if caught, teenage sexting poses even greater problems. According to GuardChild. An even larger percentage of teens — 39 percent — have sent suggestive text messages, emails, or instant messages IMs.
In the state of Texas teenagers under the age of 17 cannot legally give consent to engaging year old girlfriend began dating when Jeff was a junior in high school. He and It is the basis for the laws that even if minors consent, adults cannot.
In common law jurisdictions, statutory rape is nonforcible sexual activity in which one of the individuals is below the age of consent the age required to legally consent to the behavior. The terms child sexual abuse or child molestation may also be used, but statutory rape generally refers to sex between an adult and a minor past the age of puberty , and may therefore be distinguished from child sexual abuse.
In statutory rape, overt force or threat is usually not present. Statutory rape laws presume coercion , because a minor or mentally handicapped adult is legally incapable of giving consent to the act. In many jurisdictions, the age of consent is interpreted to mean mental or functional age. Consensual teenage sex is common in the United States. It is estimated that there are more than 7 million incidents of statutory rape every year.
However, it is clear that most incidents are not prosecuted and do not lead to arrests and convictions. It is generally intended to punish heinous cases of an adult taking sexual advantage of a minor. Thus, many jurisdictions prohibit allowing a juvenile to be tried as an adult under this law most jurisdictions have separate provisions for child molestation or forcible rape which can be applied to juveniles and for which a minor can be tried as an adult.