Get Your FREE Copy of the Book by Stephen Hamilton Exposing the Truth
Secrets of the Texas Criminal Justice System and Your Rights
The difference between risk of injury cases that involve and do not involve sexual conduct has to do with the range of punishment and the level of offense. There are also collateral consequences such as having to register as a sex offender. When a person registers as a sex offender, they will be on that list for a minimum of 10 years.
If the person travels anywhere for more than seven days, they have to personally go to the police department or the Department of Family and Protective Services to register in person. The person will also get their name on multiple databases that restrict them from various activities. A domestic violence lawyer can better help with risk of injury cases that do and do not relate to sexual conduct.
When a person initiates sexual misconduct, they lose the privacy of their records. That is a big difference between an assaultive offense that is violent and one that involves sexual misconduct. The Lubbock lawyers who focus on sexual risk of an injury to a minor are knowledgeable in these matters.
Sexual assault at the lowest could be a second-degree felony. The confinement period ranges from 180 days to two years in state jail. If a person uses a deadly weapon, it goes from 180 days and two years to 10 years in prison. A third degree is two to 10 years in prison. Second-degree is two to 20. First-degree is life or five to 99 years. All of those have an optional fine of up to $10,000.
The injury to a child, elderly individual, or disabled individual starts at state jail and increases. Prohibited sexual misconduct is a third-degree and goes up to a second-degree
When is Risk of Injury to a Minor Charged as a Misdemeanor or a Felony?
The level of endangerment raises the level of offense, which raises the level of potential punishment. For instance, leaving a kid in a car is a Misdemeanor C, which is a fine-only offense under the Penal Code. That is the lowest level of offense. It can go all the way up to a felony if the person ever generates any bodily injury or serious bodily injury. Then, the person is going to be looking at jail or felony offenses.
In the Penal Code, anything involving sexual conduct is going to be a big one. One is causing injury to a child and it also includes causing an injury to an elderly person or to a disabled person. That is broadly defined and with any of those the person steps up into a new and higher punishment range because they are vulnerable.
The criminal court process in a sexual risk of injury to a minor case involves the person being arraigned. They are told there will be a case against them and information that will inform them of the charges. The district attorney will have the evidence, which they turn over to the defendant’s attorney.
There will be some process and negotiation that goes back and forth to see if the sexual risk of injury case can be disposed of without trial. Depending on the evidence provided, the person could get dismissed, sentenced to jail, or another agreement could be made.
Where Risk of Injury to a Minor Cases Are Heard
Risk of injury cases are heard in a court of law, which means that a judge will hear these cases. Before a hearing, there is typically an investigation. In a sense, a case is being prosecuted against a person while this investigation is going on and there is not much they can do about that. Once they have this investigation and a decision is made, for instance, to step in and take away the possessory rights to the child or take the kid out of the home, there is going to be a hearing before a judge.
The initial hearing can happen without the person, but there will be a hearing later. It is within 114 days in which the person will be able to make arguments. As a parent, things can ratchet out of control and they lose the possessory rights of their kids for three or four months before they even get a hearing sometimes. That is a huge deal. Their kids are not living with them anymore. They may be living with foster parents, which is stressful on them.
It is ironic, especially if the allegation is made out of spite and it is not true. The statute is there to protect the mental health of the kids. Nothing is more devastating than the mental health of kids being forced out of their home and forced to live with a foster family, not knowing what is going to happen, not knowing if they will be able to go back to their mom or dad or whatever the case may be.
Importance of Contacting a Lawyer
Someone should contact a Lubbock defense lawyer when there is any danger posed to the parent-child relationship. There are many ramifications to a person’s life if they are convicted of a sexual risk of injury to a minor charge, like losing their children, home, and facing serious jail time.
A person might end up with a bad deal from a judge and effective counsel from a Lubbock lawyer can help a person with the best agreement. Sexual risk of injury to a minor cases are emotional, and an experienced attorney can try to mitigate the situation.