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Sexual Assault

Texas criminal laws treat sexual assault crimes as serious offenses. Those convicted of sexual assault are subject to being imprisoned and being ordered to pay large fines. A conviction can also result in an order directing the offender to register as a sex offender.

Because sexual assault charges can arise in situations where the only witnesses are the victim and the alleged offender, there is a great potential for false or exaggerated allegations. Defending against sexual assault charges can present complex issues regarding the gathering and sufficiency of evidence supporting the prosecution case against the accused.

Sexual Assault Crimes in Houston

Sexual assault in Texas is also referred to as rape. A person commits sexual assault when intentionally and knowingly engaging in any of the prohibited acts listed in Texas Penal Code section 22.011. Sexual assault is a felony of the second degree.
An essential element of the crime of sexual assault is the lack of consent by the victim to the sexual contact. Prosecutors can establish a lack of consent in several ways including:

The presence of any of the following factors can elevate the charge to aggravated sexual assault under Texas law:

Aggravated sexual assault is a felony of the first degree under the Texas Penal Code.

Penalties for Sexual Assault in Texas

The law authorizes a judge to sentence a person convicted of committing the crime of sexual assault to a prison sentence of between two and 20 years. A judge may also impose a fine up to $10,000. If a person is convicted of aggravated sexual assault, the prison sentence a judge might impose increases to 25 years.

As a consequence of being convicted of sexual assault or aggravated sexual assault, the offender must register as a sex offender. Registration as a sex offender adds the person’s name to the state’s sex offender registry. A registered sex offenders must endure restrictions on where they can live and with whom they may have contact for as long as they are on the state registry.

Defenses to Sexual Assault

A thorough investigation of the facts surrounding the incident and the relationship of the parties involved might uncover potential defense strategies. Possible defenses to a sexual assault allegation might include the existence of a prior relationship between the victim and the accused, the existence of a divorce or custody fight between the parties or other factors that could cast doubt on the allegations.

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