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Is Stealthing A Crime In Texas?

On Behalf of | Sep 11, 2023 | Criminal Defense, Sex Crimes

Discussions around consent are important. They often start early, with parents talking with teenage children to impart the importance of getting consent before moving forward with sex with a partner. But how do we define consent? When it is okay for an individual to move forward and when should they stop because the action is not welcomed? How can we help our children avoid another accusing them of sexual assault or rape?

What is consent?

This is not a new question. It is one that individuals in relationships and even the court systems have grappled with. Consent seems relative to the situation which makes having a clear legal definition difficult. But have one we must. A clear legal definition helps the court systems to distinguish right from wrong, to differentiate a consensual act of intercourse from sexual assault.

As such, Texas lawmakers have defined consent as freely given vocal permission to move forward.

When does consent change?

Even with this level of consent given, additional questions remain. One that has received media attention in recent years is that of the use of protection. Is it okay for an individual who has consent to move forward with intimate contact with a condom to remove that condom during sex?

In some cases, the law refers to this act as stealthing. The law defines stealthing as the non-consensual removal of a condom during sex. Allegations of stealthing are serious as stealthing is a crime in Texas. As if the potential for criminal charges was not enough to deter the act, lawmakers are pushing for additional penalties. In one example, Rep. Mihaela E. Plesa introduced a bill in April that allows alleged victims of stealthing to sue for relief and damages. The proposal is currently under committee review.

What if I am accused of stealthing?

The debate over stealthing involves a broader one on the definition of consent. Those who are facing these types of allegations would review similar forms of defense, often involving a mistake of fact to establish that the individual making the allegations gave consent and there was no criminal act.

It is important to take these types of allegations seriously. The allegations can result in criminal charges.