Allegations of sexual offenses should be taken seriously. The offenses are heavily prosecuted and the penalties often are harsh and life changing. Consequences could include jail time, fines and the requirement to register as a sex offender, which could have severe repercussions.
In some cases, accusations can be based on exaggerated claims and even outright false allegations. In other instances, the alleged offender may not know he or she was committing an act that was against the law. No matter the case, you should be prepared to fight these charges. A skilled and experienced sexual offense lawyer can help you fight for your freedom.
San Antonio Sex Crimes Defense Attorney
False or exaggerated allegations of sexual motivated crimes causes tremendous fear, embarrassment and uncertainty. If you are under investigation for any sex crime, you should have a skilled advocate on your side. Contact a sex crime lawyer at Goldstein & Orr.
The attorneys at Goldstein & Orr have been helping people charged with criminal offenses throughout San Antonio, Bexar County and cities throughout Texas for more than 40 years. Our attorneys fight sex crime allegations in both state and federal court.
Many of these accusations are made between family members. When a pending divorce or child custody battle is contemplated, false allegations are all too common. No matter the circumstances, contact us to discuss your charges during an initial phone or office consultation. Call (210) 226-1463 for a free phone consultation.
Information About Sex Crime Charges
- Types of Sexually Motivated Offenses
- Other Sex Crimes Under Texas Law
- Penalties for Sexual Offenses
- Registering as a Sex Offender in Texas
- Can a Sex Crime be Expunged in Texas?
- Additional Resources
A conviction for any sexual offense comes with serious consequences, including incarceration, fines, and permanent placement on a Texas or federal sex offender registry. Sex offense cases can be difficult and unpopular for an attorney to take on, and many are reluctant about doing so. At Goldstein & Orr, we will provide a vigorous defense to help you fight the allegations.
A number of sexual offenses fall under Chapter 21 of the Texas Penal Code. Some sexually-motivated offenses under Texas law include:
Sexual Assault: Sexual assault covers a wide range of incidents, most of which involve an allegation that the accused causing penetration by a sexual organ without the victim’s effective consent. Sexual assault can include vaginal, anal or oral sex, and the accused can be a male or female. According to Texas Penal Code § 22.011, sexual assault also includes any sexual act with a child younger than 17, unless the accused is three years older or less. Sexual assault is a second-degree felony.
Online Solicitation of a Minor: These charges involve the accused allegedly engaging in sexually explicit behavior with a person who is 14 or younger, or a person who the accused believes is 14 or younger. The offense is a third-degree felony, unless the accused offender knows the victim is younger than 14 years old, in which online solicitation of a minor would be a second-degree felony.
Indecency with a Child: Indecency with a child can involve a child and either contact of breasts, genitals or anus or the exposure of the same, according to Texas Penal Code § 21.11. It is a second-degree felony. It is the same charge for a person to expose his or her anus or genitals, or expose a child’s anus or genitals, with the purpose of sexual gratification. This would be considered a third-degree felony.
Aggravated Sexual Assault: Aggravated sexual assault is a sexual assault in which the victim sustained serious bodily injury, a deadly weapon was used or the accused threatened to make the victim become part of sex trafficking. If a person administers a date rape drug, like GHB, rohypnol or ketamine, it also could be considered aggravated sexual assault. It is a first-degree felony.
Other sexual offenses under Texas Law include:
- §43.02 – Prostitution
- §43.03 – Promotion of Prostitution
- §43.04 – Aggravated Promotion of Prostitution
- §43.05 – Compelling Prostitution
- §21.07 – Public Lewdness
- §21.08 – Indecent Exposure
- §25.02 – Prohibited Sexual Conduct
- §15.031 – Criminal Solicitation of a Minor (Under 17)
- §43.25 – Sexual Performance by Child
- §21.11 – Indecency with a Child (under 17 years of age)
- §21.12 – Improper Relationship between Educator and Student
- §43.24 – Sale, Distribution, or Display of Harmful Material to Minor (Under 18)
- §43.251 – Employment Harmful to Children
- §43.26 – Possession or Promotion of Child Pornography
- §20.04 – Aggravated Kidnapping
- §21.15 – Improper Photography or Visual Recording
- §43.22 – Obscene Display or Distribution
- §43.23 – Obscenity
The punishments for sex crimes in Texas depend on its classification and several other factors. Courts also could impose other requirements, including increased fines. Generally, the penalties for offenses could include:
- First-degree felony: Five to 99 years in prison or life and a fine up to $10,000
- Second-degree felony: Two to 20 years in prison and a fine up to $10,000
- Third-degree felony: Two to 10 years in prison and a fine up to $10,000
- State Jail Felony: Between 180 days and two years in prison and a fine up to $10,000
- Class A Misdemeanor: Up to one year in jail and a fine up to $4,000
- Class B Misdemeanor: Up to 180 days in jail and a fine up to $2,000
People who are convicted of a sexual offense in Texas are required to register with their local law enforcement authority for a specific period of time, depending on the severity of the sexual offense conviction.
According to Chapter 62 of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure, a convicted sex offender is required to register for life if they were convicted of any of the following sexually violence offenses:
- Indecency with a child by contact
- Indecency with a child by exposure
- Possession or promotion of child pornography
- Sexual performance by a child
- Compelling prostitution of a minor
- Sexual assault
- Aggravated kidnapping
- Aggravated sexual assault
A convicted sex offender must register with law enforcement for ten years if he or she has been convicted of any sex offense not requiring lifetime registration, attempted sexual assault, unlawful restraint, compelling prostitution or a second indecent exposure conviction.
When a person registers, he or she is required to provide their legal full name and aliases, date of birth, a physical description, Social Security number, driver’s license number, home address, a photograph, fingerprints, type of offense and employment status. Most of this information then becomes available to the public.
It is the responsibility of the alleged offender to ensure the information is up to date. This means if a person moves or changes employment, it must be reported. In general, an offender fails to register in Texas, he or she could face additional jail time. Texas considers it a felony not to register as a sex offender.
Sex Crimes Against Children in Texas
The laws in Texas have progressive degrees of gravity for sexual offenses against children based on the child’s maturity level. Under this scheme, the younger the child, the more heinous the offense.
For example, Tex. Penal Code Ann. § 21.16 provides that voyeurism is a state jail felony if the victim is a child younger than 14 years of age. Under § 22.021(f) for the crime of aggravated sexual assault, the minimum punishment is increased to 25 years when the victim is younger than six years of age or if the child is younger than 14 years of age and the actor commits the offense in a certain manner. Section 43.25(c), provides that the offense of sexual performance of a child is a felony of the first degree if the victim is younger than 14 years of age and a felony of the second degree if the victim is younger than 18 years of age.
Can a Sex Crime be Expunged in Texas?
To those who qualify, expungement offers ex-offenders a way to move on from their criminal past. A petition for expungement essentially erases all trace of your criminal record including arrest if it’s granted by a judge. That means employers or landlords will no longer be able to pull up your criminal history with a background check.
Sex crime convictions can never be expunged under Texas law. However, if your case resulted in one of the following outcomes you could qualify for expunction.
- You were acquitted
- You were pardoned
- You weren’t convicted and never ordered to community supervision
- Your indictment was void
- Your indictment was dismissed because the court found a legal error/fraud
- You completed a pretrial diversion program in veteran’s court
- Your crime’s statute of limitations expired
- You were given deferred adjudication for a class C misdemeanor crime
You must also wait a certain period before you file a petition for expungement. These waiting periods are as follows:
- 180 days for a class C misdemeanor
- 12 months for a class A or B misdemeanor
- 3 years for a felony offense.
UCR Program for Sexual Assault Statistics in Texas– Because of the growing concern for allegations of sexual assault, the 80th Texas Legislative Session passed HB 76 which requires the Texas DPS to establish guidelines and collect data about incidents that contain specific sexual assault offenses under the Uniform Crime Reporting Program. A recent report estimated the total number of Sexual Assaults reported in 2011 in the State of Texas were 18,088. According to statistics released by the Bexar County Sheriff’s Office, in 2013 there were 184 sex crimes reported to the Patrol Services Division.
Texas Sex Offender Registration Program – The Texas Sex Offender Registration Program is a sex offender registration and public notification law designed to protect the public from sex offenders. This link explains what sex offenders must do to legally register in the program.
Chapter 62 of the Code of Criminal Procedure – This link is the Texas law explaining how sex offenders must register and what information must be disclosed. This also explains what information becomes public and what remains hidden for the offenders’ privacy.
Sex Offender Resource Mission – This website provides information on where to find counseling if needed, employment resources, housing information and family support. Each state listing provides information about sex offenders laws for that individual state.
Sex Crimes in Bexar County
Any accusation of a sexually motivated crime is serious. Under the American system of justice, you are presumed innocent until proven guilty. The attorneys at Goldstein & Orr will fight to defend your presumption of innocence and ensure no stone is left unturned with your defense.
If you are charged with any kind of sexually motivated offense in San Antonio, Bexar County or the surrounding areas in Texas, then call (210) 226-1463 for a free phone consultation.