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Possible Defenses for Juvenile Sex Offenders

Posted in Criminal Defense on February 21, 2024

As children get older, it’s normal for them to become curious about their sexuality. However, a hasty decision to text a suggestive picture of themselves to a friend or have sex while under the age of 18 can quickly turn into accusations of a sexual offense. While the focus on a delinquent juvenile is on rehabilitation, in cases involving sexual misconduct, they may also have to register as a sex offender. 

Get strong defense for your child and consult with experienced juvenile defense attorneys at Mary E. Conn & Associates. Partnering with the right lawyer makes all the difference in Texas’s juvenile legal system. Call today to arrange a consultation. 

Understanding the Juvenile Court System in Texas 

When a jury or judge finds charges of sexual misconduct to be true, juveniles in Texas are adjudicated delinquent rather than a guilty verdict. The penalties of a delinquency adjudication depend on the case details but typically involve community service, counseling, and, in some cases, detention. For cases involving sex offenses, like sexual assault or child pornography, Chapter 62, Articles 62.351-356 of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure dictates that a juvenile may also have to register as a sex offender.

In Texas, young individuals who commit serious offenses may also face adult trials and potentially receive felony punishments. In those situations, juveniles as young as 14 may spend years in prison and miss out on rehabilitative services offered in juvenile facilities. That, in turn, increases the likelihood of relapse into criminal behavior when they’re released.

Defense Options for Juveniles Charged With Sex Crimes in Texas

If a juvenile is facing sex crime charges, it’s vital to hire an experienced juvenile sex crime defense attorney. There’s no room for mistakes when protecting a minor facing allegations of sexual offense. Creating a robust defense plan and understanding the language used in these situations can significantly affect the seriousness of the charges and possible punishments. 

An experienced defense attorney will consider factors like age and past behavior and look at the specific circumstances to reduce the charges as much as possible. At Mary E. Conn & Associates, our defense attorneys stand by your side, using years of knowledge and resources to negotiate the best outcome possible for your case. Call us today at (712) 357-4190 to arrange a consultation. 

What Are Common Defenses for Juvenile Sex Offenders?

Depending on the facts of the case, possibilities for a legal defense to sex crime charges against a juvenile that can demonstrate reasonable doubt include the following:

Affirmative Defense

Texas enacted a “Romeo and Juliet” law in 2018 to protect consenting teens from being charged with a criminal act and serving jail time. Outlined under Texas Penal Code Section 22.011, it states that the age of consent in Texas is 17. However, teens who are between 14 and 17 years old can legally participate in sexual acts with another consenting teen who is within three years of age. If the age difference is more than three years or involves a 13-year-old, the affirmative defense wouldn’t apply.


If a juvenile can prove they were somewhere else when the alleged misconduct occurred, it’s called presenting an alibi. In this situation, a straightforward defense is to assert innocence. To make this defense work, the defendant needs strong evidence showing they couldn’t have committed the crime because they were elsewhere.

Mental Incapacity

In certain situations, defendants may use the mental incapacity defense to avoid criminal liability. Suppose a child is proven to have a mental illness or mental disability or cannot understand their actions. In that case, Texas Family Code Chapter 55 may apply to their defense and prevent them from being charged in criminal court.

Mistaken Identity

Another defense is to argue that the alleged victim identified the wrong person. Like with the alibi, solid evidence must support this argument. Remember, the prosecution’s job is to prove the defendant is guilty. If the defendant can cast doubt on the case, the jury may render them not guilty. 

Schedule a Consultation With an Experienced Juvenile Sex Crimes Attorney Today

Juvenile sex offense charges and registration as a sex offender can have severe ramifications on a young person’s life. Hiring an experienced juvenile defense attorney is the most effective strategy to navigate and mitigate these potential consequences.

If your child is facing charges for a sex crime, don’t wait to talk to a juvenile sex crime defense lawyer at Mary E. Conn & Associates. Sex crime allegations are often one-sided, emphasizing the need to promptly gather case details to initiate the development of a robust defense. Our seasoned legal team approaches each case and client with unparalleled care and compassion. To speak with an experienced juvenile defense lawyer, call (713) 357-4190 or complete a contact form to schedule a consultation.

CALL US TODAY 713-357-4190