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Sex Crimes Lawyer in New Braunfels, Texas, Protecting the Rights of Clients Facing Accusations

Texas ranks first in the nation in the number of reported sex crimes, with over 13,509 cases of sexual assault reported in the Lone Star state as of 2020. Texas laws are favorable to sex crime victims and allow prosecutors to press charges even before any physical evidence is recovered, which sometimes means many innocent people can be falsely accused and have their reputations on the line. Learn how sex crimes are handled in Texas and see why hiring a skilled sex crime lawyer is key if you are facing charges.

What Constitutes a Sex Crime Case in Texas?

In Texas, several crimes are considered sex crimes, including rape, sexual assault, indecency with a child, and sexual abuse of a child. Sexual assault is any non-consensual sexual contact, while rape is defined as the non-consensual penetration of a person’s body without their consent. Indecency with a child includes sexual contact with a minor or exposing a minor to sexual contact or material. Sexual abuse of a child includes sexual contact with a minor, involving physical contact, or sexual contact with a minor for the purpose of sexual gratification.

Other less serious sex crimes include assault by contact and public lewdness. Assault by contact can occur when one person makes unwanted physical contact with another person in an offensive manner, such as groping or touching someone over their clothes or kissing them without consent. Public lewdness can occur when two people have sex in a public place or even inside a hotel room or residence near windows or anywhere they can be seen by other people.

What Are the Penalties for Sex Crimes in Texas?

Penalties for sex crimes in Texas vary depending on the severity of the crime and any other aggravating factors. Some sex crimes that are less serious in nature, such as public lewdness, indecent exposure, and assault by contact, may be charged as misdemeanors with penalties ranging from a $500 fine and no jail time for a Class C misdemeanor to up to 1 year in jail and a $4000 fine for a Class A misdemeanor.

More serious sex crimes, such as solicitation of a minor on the internet, sexual assault of an adult, and various sex crimes involving children, often lead to felony charges. For example, indecency with a child involving only exposure and no contact can lead to a third-degree felony charge and result in a $10,000 fine and up to 10 years in prison. In contrast, aggravated sexual assault can be a first-degree felony and result in a $10,000 fine and a prison sentence of 5 years to life.

Are All Sex Offenders Required to Be Registered in Texas?

In addition to paying fines and facing jail or prison time, defendants convicted of a sex offense may also have to register as a sex offender in Texas. The state has two different forms of registration – some sex crimes may require the offender to complete a 10-year registration, while more serious crimes may require a lifetime registration.

Some of the sex crimes that may require lifetime registration include continuous sexual abuse of a child, indecency with a child, sexual assault, aggravated sexual assault, child pornography, trafficking a person for sexual exploitation, and compelling prostitution. Crimes that may require a 10-year registration include certain forms of indecency with a child, unlawful imprisonment or kidnapping of a victim under 17, attempt or conspiracy to commit a reportable sex crime, soliciting a minor online, prostitution, and a second offense of indecent exposure. It is worth mentioning that other crimes, such as lewdness and statutory rape, may not require sex offender registration. However, depending on the circumstances of the crime, a defendant may still be required by the court to register as a sex offender.

Does Texas Have Statutory Rape Laws?

Statutory rape laws in Texas prohibit adults (anyone 18 or older) from having sexual intercourse or sexual contact with a minor under the age of 17. If an adult engages in sexual activity with a minor, it could be considered a felony regardless of whether or not both parties are consenting. Depending on the age gap between the parties, the penalties for statutory rape could result in felony charges with sentences ranging from two years in prison and a $10,000 fine to life in prison and a $10,000 fine.

However, Texas does have a Romeo and Juliet law, which is a potential defense against statutory rape. This law states that if the defendant is between the ages of 14 and 17 and no more than three years older than the victim, then the defendant may not be charged with statutory rape. It is worth mentioning that this rule may not apply if the alleged victim is younger than 14 years old.

What Can an Attorney Do to Help Me if I Am Being Charged With a Sex Crime?

If you are facing sex crime charges in Texas, it is in your best interest to act quickly and get the help of a skilled sex crimes attorney. Even if you are facing a misdemeanor charge, a sex crime conviction can taint your reputation for years to come and negatively impact many areas of your life, such as the ability to obtain employment or housing.

A sex crimes defense lawyer can work to help you get your charges dismissed and avoid a conviction in the first place. If your charges cannot be dismissed, your attorney may help you negotiate less serious penalties and maximize your chances of a positive outcome. Seymour & Vaughn offers skilled representation for clients charged with sex crimes in New Braunfels, Texas, and surrounding areas. Contact our legal team at 830-282-8751 for a free consultation.