Though people accused of criminal offenses are considered innocent until proven guilty, the court of public opinion tends to jump to conclusions when someone is accused of a sex crime. Even without any physical evidence to support these allegations, the public may make assumptions about a person’s involvement. In these circumstances, turning to a Fort Worth sex crimes lawyer may help protect you – and your reputation.
A strong defense may help avoid the consequences of a sex crime conviction. A practiced criminal defense lawyer can help review the evidence and circumstances that led to charges, discuss your legal options, and develop a defense strategy for your case. Though accusations of involvement with sex crimes can be frustrating, you do not have to navigate the criminal court system alone.
Common Offenses in Fort Worth
Though Texas defines many different sex crimes, one common charge is sexual assault, which includes any non-consensual penetration or contact involving the sexual organs. In Texas Penal Code § 22.011, several different situations that legally constitute a lack of consent are defined, including:
- Use of physical force, violence, or coercion
- One party being physically unable to consent
- Threatening physical force or violence against any person
- Disability that renders one party incapable of understanding or resisting
Sexual assault is typically charged as a second-degree felony. A conviction for sexual assault could result in a prison sentence up to 20 years and substantial fines. Due to the potential severity of a sexual assault conviction, anyone facing accusations of sexual assault may benefit from having a Fort Worth sex crimes lawyer advise them.
Statutory rape is generally any action of sexual assault that involves a minor under the age of 17. Regardless of whether a minor verbally consented to the sexual activity, Fort Worth law assumes that people under the age of 17 are incapable of giving legal consent. However, in some cases, the difference in age between the involved parties may be a potential defense.
If the involved minor is at least 14 years of age and the other individual is no more than three years older than the minor, with no prior convictions, a sex crimes attorney in Fort Worth may be able to argue that the sexual contact did not equate to statutory rape.
Other Common Sex Crimes
There are a number of sexually-based offenses outlined in Texas law. Some offenses commonly charged in Fort Worth include:
- Indecency with a child
- Prohibited sexual conduct
- Indecent exposure
- Lewdness in public
Fort Worth also details prostitution, solicitation, including online solicitation, and sex offender registration violations as sex crimes. Since the definition of sex crimes is broad, a simple misunderstanding between two parties could result in unfounded criminal charges.
The penalties for these sex crimes are also broad as they are generally dependent on the severity of the alleged action and history of sexually-based offenses. In some cases, factors such as the involvement of a minor may elevate charges. To help build a strong defense, those facing charges may wish to detail the circumstances leading to a charge with a dedicated sex crimes attorney.
A Fort Worth Sex Crimes Attorney Can Help
Accusations of sex crimes can impact all aspects of your life. The simple accusation of involvement may impact your relationships with family and friends. Fortunately, a Fort Worth sex crimes lawyer could help clear your name and protect your reputation. An aggressive criminal defense attorney could help protect your rights and mount a strong defense on your behalf. If you are facing charges, reach out to a lawyer for legal advice, support, and to take the first step towards a favorable outcome.