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How are Sex Crimes Defined in Texas?

What is the first thing I should do if I’m being accused of a sex crime?

Wondering about the definition of sex crimes in Texas is normal when you first find out you are under investigation for a potential sex crime. If you are under investigation for a sex crime it is normal to wonder about the seriousness of the situation. It is normal to be confused and the urge to ignore the accusation can be powerful. However, this can be the worst thing that you can do. When you are accused of a sex crime everything you say, to your wife, to your best friend, to your kids, to your priest, can be used against you. The only person you can talk to is your attorney. The first thing you should do is schedule an appointment to talk to a lawyer. You and your lawyer can get together and come up with a strategy to begin fighting the allegations.

How are Sex Crimes Defined in Texas?

What is the definition of a sex crime in Texas? Knowing the definition of a sex crime in Texas can help you determine the seriousness of your situation. The answer depends on what agency is investigating you. There are federal and state sex crimes, the definitions of which have gotten broader over the years. The definitions can be anything from indecency, to sexual assault or child pornography. Revenge pornography has become a bigger issue in Texas and in other parts of the country, but it is something that has become criminalized. Indecency can be sexual touching, and it usually involves a child. It occurs anytime a person makes contact with the genitalia of someone who is under the age of 17. Indecency by exposure is when a person exposes themselves to a person with the intent to arouse or gratify that person or themselves. If the intent cannot be shown, then a charge may not result. Unfortunately, all of these situations are very serious.

Indecency can be by exposure or by contact. The contact can occur over clothes if there is the intent to arouse or gratify the person. You have to engage in sexual contact with a child who is under the age of 17. Once penetration of the vagina or anus occurs, then it is considered sexual assault. If the child is younger than 17, then penetration with the intent to arouse or gratify would be a sexual assault and would require lifetime registration as a sex offender. If penetration occurs with a child who is younger than 14, then it is a more serious offense. If a person has penetrated the child more than once over a period of 12 months, then the minimum punishment is 25 years in prison, and the maximum punishment is life in prison. The perpetrator would also have to register as a sex offender for the rest of their life.

Computer-related sex crimes and the possession of child pornography carry serious punishments by the federal government. There is also online solicitation, whereby someone will engage in a sexual conversation with someone who is under the age of 17. You don’t even have to intend to have sex with the person; it’s just the actual conversation that’s enough to establish online solicitation. There are also unlawful student-teacher relationships, whereby a teacher of a secondary, middle, junior or elementary school has a sexual relationship with a student. An unlawful teacher-student relationship can occur with a student who is over the age of 17 and who engages with consent.

Are Sex Crimes Ever Misdemeanors?

On September 1, 2019 Texas created the misdemeanor of indecent assault. This occurs when someone grabs or contacts, without consent, the genitalia of another. This is a Class A misdemeanor. This is how people who are accused of groping are criminally prosecuted. If you are accused of Indecent Assault we can help.

What Factors Determine Whether A Sex Offense Is Charged At The Federal or State Level?

Most federally prosecuted child sexual crimes involve use of the internet. They usually involve situations in which someone downloads depictions of children in sexual situations. The children may be displaying their genitals or otherwise engaging in a sexual act. Isolated sexual acts outside the realm of child pornography are usually state offenses.

What Happens If The Accuser Recants Allegations Of A Sex Crime In Texas?

As criminal defense attorneys it is our job to look into every potential defense. Why would someone make an accusation and then recant it? While prosecutors will rarely dismiss a case because the alleged complaining witness changes their mind we will look into the reasons behind the recantation and use those reasons to try and get the State to dismiss the case, or to convince a jury that the alleged incident did not happen.

Just because a witness recants allegations of a sex crime does not necessarily mean that the charges will be dropped. Once the State or Federal Government is involved the victim loses the ability to put a stop to the process. Prosecutors and investigators are trained to understand that just because someone changes their story does not mean that the original story was untrue. When this happens, we need to talk to the person so that we can make sure that their new story is as locked in as their first story.

For more information on Sex Crimes In The State Of Texas, a free initial consultation is your best next step. Get the information and legal answers you’re seeking by calling (210) 229-8300 today.

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