An allegation of a sex offense—let alone a conviction for one—can be highly damaging and permanently alter your life plans. If you are facing sex crimes charges, seeking the advice of a Tarrant County sex crimes lawyer may be highly beneficial. Whatever the circumstances of the accusations you face may be, a criminal defense attorney may be able to establish a comprehensive defense that priorities your best interests.
Indecent Acts Involving Children
One of the more common sex crimes charges involving minors is indecency with a child, which historically was called statutory rape. Under Texas Penal Code §21.11, this offense occurs when individuals have sexual contact with anyone who is under the age of 17. However, this statute has a built-in affirmative defense to cover situations in which:
- The accused party is of the opposite sex and not more than three years older than the child
- The encounter involved no force or threats, and
- The accused was not required to register as a sex offender for life and did not have a prior reportable conviction or adjudication for a sex crime
Indecency with a child is either a third-degree or second-degree offense under Texas law, depending on the level of the sexual contact. As a result, a conviction for this offense could result in a prison sentence of up to 20 years and a $10,000 fine. A sex crimes lawyer in Tarrant County may be able to help defend those who are facing charges of indecency with a child.
Non-Consensual Sexual Crimes
In Texas, the term “sexual assault” covers situations in which one party to a sexual act does not consent or is incapable of consenting. Under Tex. Pen. Code §22.011, sexual assault often involves threats, physical force, unconsciousness, or a lack of awareness by one of the parties. When individuals are under the age of 17 or developmentally delayed, the law presumes that they did not consent to the sexual activity.
There are also other types of relationships that indicate a lack of consent in a sexual assault offense. These include:
- Public servants who coerce others into sexual activity
- Mental health or health care providers with patients and former patients who commit sexual acts by exploiting emotional dependency
- Clergy who exploit their capacity as spiritual adviser to compel others to engage in sexual activity
- Employees of facilities where the other party to the sexual acts resides
Sexual assault generally is a second-degree felony. However, if the offense becomes aggravated assault under Tex. Pen. Code § 22.021, then the charge is a first-degree felony.
Aggravated assault occurs when individuals carry out sexual penetration of others and cause or threaten serious bodily injury, use or exhibit deadly weapons, or the other party is under the age of 14 or disabled. Given the fact that a first-degree felony conviction for aggravated sexual assault could result in a lifelong prison sentence, individuals facing these charges may wish to engage the services of a sex offense attorney in Tarrant County immediately.
Call a Tarrant County Sex Crimes Attorney for Advice
All sex offenses in Texas can have potentially harsh consequences, including mandatory sex offender registration, fines, or even jail time. If you face sex crimes charges, consulting with a Tarrant County sex crimes lawyer may be essential to defend yourself effectively. Take advantage of qualified legal advice and representation to have a better chance of a favorable resolution in your case.