- 1 What is the Criminal Charge of Sex Assault on a Child?
- 2 Statutory Rape in Texas, Texas
- 3 Sentencing for Sex Assault on a Child Felony Conviction
- 4 Sex Assault on a Child – Pattern of Abuse
- 5 Sex Assault on a Child – Position of Trust
- 6 Criminal Defense of Sex Assault on a Child/Child Molestation Charges
While other Texas area criminal defense attorneys merely “handle” such cases, the Texas sexual crimes lawyers specialize in cases involving charges of Sex Assault on a Child, i.e., Child Sex Assault, including those charged as “Pattern of abuse” and/or “Position of Trust”. This means that our sex assault on a child attorneys are better prepared, better educated and more experienced in representing those charged with sex assault on a child or child molestation cases than most other Texas area criminal defense attorneys. It means that our sex assault on a child attorneys can be trusted to understand all of the complexities of Texas’s laws pertaining to child molestation criminal offenses, the evidentiary issues involved in the prosecution and defense of such charges, and the psychological and medical sciences that may be implicated during the course of the criminal justice process. Simply put, it means that our sexual assault attorneys offer the best criminal defense possible. If you have been charged with, or are under investigation for, sex assault on a child, i.e., child sex assault, please contact us as soon as possible for a FREE Consultation.
Sex assault on a child cases have become a hot topic issue both nationally and locally over the past twenty years. Attempts to apprehend sex offenders committing child sex assault has become one of the top priorities of law enforcement. Additionally, legislators, including those in Texas, have passed tougher laws and more severe consequences for sex offenders.
Unfortunately, along with this increased attention, the number of false accusations of sex assault on a child occurrences has increased as well. Anyone who has been falsely accused of child molestation or has been charged with sex assault on a child must have the assistance of an experienced and knowledgeable criminal defense attorney.
What is the Criminal Charge of Sex Assault on a Child?
Sexual Assault on a Child is one of the most complex and severe criminal statutes in the books. The crime itself covers all forms of what is generally recognized as “child molestation”, and encompesses all situations; including those where the victim is a very young child and some situations where the child is just under the age of 18. Specifically, Texas law criminalizes sexual contact of a person who is under the age of 15 when the actor is “at least four years older than the victim”; and, sexual contact of a person who is under the age of 18 when the actor is in a “Position of Trust” in respect to the child. Sexual contact includes the “knowing touching of the victim’s intimate parts by the actor”, including “touching” that occurs over the clothing, when it is for the purpose of sexual gratification, arousal or abuse. This definition includes sexual intercourse as well as much less severe circumstances such as sexual fondling.
Statutory Rape in Texas, Texas
While the term “statutory rape” is generally used to describe the criminal act of an adult engaging in sexual conduct with a child who has not reached the age of consent, Texas, as well as all other Texas jurisdictions, does not have a specific “statutory rape” law. Instead, Texas law pertaining to sexual assault on a child encompasses “statutory rape” situations, just as it encompasses all acts of child molestation. In other words, when someone in Texas, or any Texas county, engages in conduct that would generally be considered to be “statutory rape”, that person would instead be subject to the statutory procedures and potential consequences of the crime of sex assault on a child. This is often considered a very unfair aspect of the Texas child sex assault law because it applies to “statutory rape” and “child molestation” in exactly the same fashion. A criminal defendant who is say 18 or 19 years old and who has engaged in behavior generally referred to as “statutory rape” with another person who is just under the age of 15, is charged with the same crime, sex assault on a child, and faces the same potential consequences, as someone who has engaged in the act of child molestation.
Sentencing for Sex Assault on a Child Felony Conviction
The consequences for being convicted of the felony offense of sex assault on a child in Texas and throughout Texas are very serious. All felony sex crimes, including child sex assault, fall under Texas’s indeterminate sentencing law. Indeterminate sentencing means that the number of years in prison given by a judge is merely a minimum that a defendant will serve, and that the defendant may serve a much longer sentence, including up to the remainder of his or her life. The parole eligibility of a defendant with an indeterminate prison sentence is soley up the parole board and there is no mandatory release date. In other words, it is a potential lifetime sentence.
When charged without the aggravating circumstances of “Pattern of Abuse” and/or “Position of Trust”, a conviction for sex assault on a child carries a potential sentence of 4 years up to the remainder of the defendant’s life in the Texas Department of Corrections. When a defendant has been convicted of sexual assault on a child with a “pattern of abuse” aggravator, or charged with sex assault on a child by one in a “Position of Trust”, he or she faces a mandatory minimum sentence to the Texas Department of Corrections of 10 years and a maximum of up to the remainder of his or her life.
Those convicted of sex assault on a child who are lucky enough to avoid a prison sentence still face severe consequences. Texas law requires that anyone convicted of a sex offense must register as a sex offender. In some situations, this may mean that your name, picture, and the sex offense that you have been convicted of, appears on an website listing all Texas sex offenders. In addition, anyone convicted of a Texas sex offense must undergo an evaluation by a psychologist certified by the Texas Sex Offender Management Board. Most times, this leads to intensive sex offense specific treatment that is very difficult to successfully complete.
Sex Assault on a Child – Pattern of Abuse
“Pattern of Abuse” is an aggravating charge that is charged in addition to the simple charge of child sex assault. It simply means that there are multiple acts of sexual contact of a child under the age of 15 by the defendant who is at least 4 years older. Although it is much more difficult for the prosecutor to prove this charge beyond a reasonable doubt, the consequences of a conviction for the defendant are much greater as explained above.
Sex Assault on a Child – Position of Trust
Unlike sex assault on a child “Pattern of Abuse”, sexual assault on a child “Position of Trust” is not just an aggravating addition to the standard sex assault on a child charge. Instead, it is a separate felony criminal charge in and of itself. “Position of Trust” adds an additional element to the criminal offense of the defendant having been “in a position of trust with respect to the victim”. This essentially means that the defendant was charged with some duty in his or her relationship to the victim, such as a child-parent, teacher-student, or other special relationship where the child relied upon the defendant for care, guidance, or guardianship.
There are two ways in which sex assault on a child “Position of Trust” can be charged. First, it can be charged in the similar situation as the standard sex assault on a child charge, i.e., there is sexual contact with a victim who is under the age of 15 by another who is at least 4 years older. The “Position of Trust” element to this felony charge creates more severe potential consequences than the standard sexual assault on a child charge. One who is convicted of sex assault on a child “Position of Trust” (victim under 15 years old) faces a mandatory prison sentence of 1o years, with the maximum being up to the defendant’s life.
The second manner in which sex assault on a child “Position of Trust” may be charged is when a child under the age of 18 years old is subjected to sexual contact by another person who is in a ”Position of Trust” in respect to that child. A defendant who is convicted of sexual assault on a child “Position of Trust” under these circumstances faces a potential prison sentence of 4 years and up to the remainder of his or her life.
Although the consequences can be great, there is hope. The criminal defense lawyers have an extensive history of avoiding these consequences for their clients. Please contact us immediately so that we may discuss what we can do to help you.
Criminal Defense of Sex Assault on a Child/Child Molestation Charges
If you are under investigation or have been charged with any of the above defined child sex assault felony criminal offenses, representation by an experienced and knowledgeable criminal defense attorney is essential. Do NOT attempt to represent yourself! Almost all major district attorney offices in Texas maintain prosecutors whose sole job is the prosecution of sex assault on child defendants. In other words, these prosecutors are specialized and trained to convict those charged with such offenses. These prosecutors are generally assigned to work in the district attorney’s “crimes against children” or “sex crimes” units. Because you will have highly specialized prosecutors trying to convict you, you need a criminal defense attorney who is equally trained, knowledgeable, and specialized to defend you. The sex assault on a child defense lawyers have spent years litigating against some of the best prosecutors in the state. Our lawyers have the knowledge, training, and expertise to ensure that you are in good hands and will receive the best possible outcome at the conclusion of your case.
The criminal defense of sexual assault on a child – child molestation – cases can be quite complex. It may involve the use of experts for trial, such as a child psychologist or pediatrician, or the use of experts for mitigation (to gain a favorable plea bargain or sentence), such as a psychologist certified by the Texas Sex Offender Management Board. In either circumstance, the sex assault on a child attorneys use only the most respected and competent experts available in Texas and throughout Texas.
We have represented numerous clients charged with child sex assault and have been able to gain acquittals and plea bargains that have literally saved lives. We believe that all criminal defendants, even those accused of the worst possible criminal offenses, deserve the best criminal defense possible. We will treat you with respect and dignity regardless of what you have been accused of or what you are charged with. We believe that our job is to help our clients regardless of their guilt or innocence, and to represent each client to the absolute best of our ability.
Please call one of our sex assault on a child criminal defense attorneys immediately for a FREE Consultation. Early intervention can be essential to our ability to successfully resolve your case.