Few charges carry such significant consequences as that of sexual assault. To be sure, a conviction on charges of sexual assault in Texas could lead to years or decades spent behind bars, as well as astronomical fines. Furthermore, an individual convicted of sexual assault will face professional and personal repercussions as well, which will, in fact, last for a lifetime.
If you have been charged with sexual assault in Texas, it is imperative that you understand the effects this may have on your life. Read through the following information as a preliminary guide, and don’t hesitate to contact a legal professional to begin working on your defense immediately.
What Constitutes Sexual Assault?
In general, sexual assault is synonymous with the term “rape” as it is used in a colloquial context. Specifically, as defined under Texas law, sexual assault occurs when an individual causes any type of sexual penetration of another without the other party’s consent. Here, consent is key; it must be proven that sexual penetration was non-consensual in order for a conviction to take place.
In addition to general sexual assault, the state of Texas separately classifies such acts of penetration that involve the use of violence or threats, as well. Codified as aggravated sexual assault, this crime takes place when an individual causes sexual penetration of another party without their consent, and the crime leads to serious bodily injury, the accused uttered threats or used a weapon during the course of the penetration, or the accused engaged in a variety of other activities specified in the Texas Penal Code.
In all cases involving sexual assault, the burden of proof is on the plaintiff, the individual claiming they were victimized, to demonstrate that the defendant, the victimizer, not only facilitated the penetration, but did so without the plaintiff’s consent, and, in the case of aggravated sexual assault, took other actions that are in violation of Texas law.
Possible Penalties Upon Conviction
The penalties associated with a conviction on charges of sexual assault or aggravated sexual assault should not be taken lightly. In fact, the consequences may have devastating, long-term effects on a variety of the defendant’s life.
For example, Texas law defines sexual assault generally as a second-degree felony, the punishments for which may include a prison term of between two and 20 years, and a fine of up to $10,000. Aggravated assault, however, is considered a far graver offense, and is instead classified as a first-degree felony. Conviction of this crime carries a prison term of between five and 99 years, as well as a heavy fine.
Sadly, the punishment doesn’t end there. An individual convicted of such a sex crime in Texas must place their name on the Texas Public Sex Offender Registry, a database viewable by the public. “And anyone whose name is on the registry will inevitably have a difficult time finding or keeping a job, enrolling in an educational institution, and even securing housing. Furthermore, the stigma of being a sex offender may even lead to the loss of friendships or relationships and other devastating personal consequences.”
What Happens When You Get Arrested
Arrest procedures are fairly straightforward from one precinct to the next. In general, here’s what you can expect if you ever get arrested:
- You will be read your Miranda Rights.
- You will be restrained and transported to the police station, jail, or another detention facility.
- You will be allowed to contact your attorney and told what general charges you are up against shortly after arriving at the detention facility.
- You might be required to: submit a blood, urine, hair, or another sample, participate in a lineup, submit a handwriting sample, say specific phrases, be fingerprinted, have your photograph taken, or wear detention clothing.
- ou will be taken to a court official called a magistrate who will inform you of your rights and the charges against you.
- You may be eligible to be released on bail or your own recognizance.
If you’ve been arrested, you have specific rights, one of which is the right to an attorney. Contact us as soon as possible to ensure that your case is handled properly from the start.
Fight the Charges
There is no substitute for experienced professional guidance if you are facing charges for sexual assault in Texas. Don’t attempt to fight these charges alone; instead, reach out to an attorney that specializes in defending sex crimes for skilled assistance. A criminal justice attorney will begin working immediately to help craft a unique defense to ensure you receive the best possible outcome for your case.