An individual is deemed a sex offender if they have been convicted of a “sex crime”. There are a host of offenses which fall into this category. Some of these are inclusive of sexual assault, aggravated sexual assault, and indecency with a child.
All sex crimes are considered to be very severe and are awarded with harsh punishment in the State of Texas. Beyond the definite long prison term which will accompany a conviction, all sex offenders must face the rest of their lives registered in the public database as a sex offender.
Sexual Assault Punishments in Texas
Sexual assault involves any coerced or forced sexual activity upon another person. The general convictions for this particular area is for rape, or to a slightly lesser degree, touching or fondling of either a minor (an individual younger than 17 years) or an adult. Texas state law books have a whole chapter devoted to sexual assault. The offenses arise from causing the sexual organs of one person to have direct contact with the mouth, anus or sexual organs of another, whether through fondling or penetration.
Sexual assault is denoted as “aggravated” if force or violence is used in any of the following ways:
- to inflict injury or attempt to take a life.
- to induce fear in an individual by threatening to harm someone else
- to threaten death, injury or a kidnapping.
- to use or display a deadly weapon.
- administers a drug to impair the judgement of the victim.
- if the victim is either below 14 years old or is older than 65.
In Texas, anyone convicted on a charge of sexual assault faces punishment for a second degree felony charge. This can result in from 2 to 20 years in prison and/or a fine of $10,000. Anyone convicted of aggravated sexual assault faces a first degree felony punishment, which can range from 5 to 99 years in prison and/or a fine of $10,000. In some circumstances, such as the age of the victim or in the physical brutality of the attack, aggravated sexual assault can result in a life sentence.
In addition to prison time, anyone convicted of aggravated sexual assault is also required to register as a sex offender with the State of Texas for the rest of their life. As a sex offender, that individual will be subject to severe restrictions on what jobs they can hold, where they live, and eligibility for a number of federal and state aid programs
Punishment Range for Sex Cases
The punishments for sexual assault and aggravated sexual assault differ in the severity of sentencing. The former receives a considerably shorter sentence than the latter. For sexual assault one may face between 2 and 20 years. On the other hand, aggravated sexual assault can incur a sentence of 5 to 99 years or life in prison. If the crime involved a minor then the punishment will be much harsher.
Penalties for Indecency with a Child
Child molestation is the more common terminology for indecency with a child. There are two categories of this offense: Indecency with a Child by Contact and Indecency with a Child by Exposure. Be reminded that a child refers to a person 17 years of age or younger. Indecency with a Child by Contact is the more serious and involves touching the child’s private body parts (breast, anus, genitals) either directly or through their clothing. Indecency with a Child by Exposure involves the person exposing their body parts to a child or causing the child to expose their body parts. The intent of the two types of exposure must have been done to induce sexual gratification and can involve victims of the same or opposite sex.
There are two charges that can be filed in regards to indecency with a child: indecency with a child by exposure and indecency with a child by contact. These charges can be very complicated and it is essential that you seek legal advice about this type of accusation.
Indecency with a Child by Exposure is charged when:
- You expose your genitals or anus in the presence of a child under 17
- You cause a child under the age of 17 to expose his/her genitals or anus for the purpose of sexual arousal/gratification
Indecency with a Child by Contact is charged when:
- You touch a child’s anus, breast, or genitals and the child is under 17
- You touch a child under the age of 17 with your anus, genitals, or breast
Both charges involved with indecency with a child carry serious penalties and will require you to register as a sex offender if you are convicted. Indecency with a child by exposure is a third degree felony offense and indecency with a child by contact is a second degree felony offense. These charges can be made separately or you may be charged with both. Common court sentences of a conviction include:
- 2 – 10 years in prison
- Up to a $10,000 fine
- Must register as a sex offender
Sex Offender Registration
Once a convicted sex offender has been released from state supervision (whether it be incarceration, community service or parole) in Texas they must submit to sex offender registration with the Texas Department of Public Safety.
Registration can be done for either 10 years for relatively minor offences or for life for all other sex crimes. Information on the name and current address of the offender is posted on several public database for all residents to access
Defense Against Aggravated Sexual Assault Charges
Given the severe penalties for conviction of aggravated sexual assault, anyone arrested on this charge should immediately contact an experienced Austin sex crime attorney. Only an experienced attorney will be familiar with both the Texas laws regarding sexual assault and the requirements necessary for the state to prove such charges. In many cases, the established facts will not be sufficient to win a conviction and the state will be forced to either reduce the charge or to dismiss it.