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Sexual Assault

Sexual assault, commonly referred to as "rape," is a very serious charge that can carry lifelong consequences. Being accused of a sexual offense can carry a negative stigma, more so than other crimes.

In Texas, a conviction for sexual assault could result in prison time, requirements to register as a sex offender, steep fines and/or a negative on your career or personal relationships. Being a registered sex offender could affect your ability to find housing or even a job.

San Antonio Sexual Assault Attorney

If you are charged with any type of sexual assault charge, contact an experienced sexual assault defense lawyer at Goldstein, Goldstein, Hilley & Orr. We represent clients charged with serious sexual offenses throughout San Antonio, Bexar County and the state. Do not trust just any attorney for your defense. Our attorneys have the experience, the passion and the talent to defend these difficult cases. 

Never talk with any law enforcement officer about an allegation of sexual misconduct until after you have obtained an experienced criminal defense attorney to defend you. We provide a free initial consultation so that our attorneys can discuss the case with you. Call our firm today at 210-226-1463.


Sexual Assault Overview


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Types of Sexual Assault Charges

Sexual assault is a broad term that can be divided into several different sex crimes. Offense information from the Texas sexual assault date collection program is collected under six different sexual assault categories. In 2011, for example, the statistics shows the following breakdown of percentages for each offense reported:  

  • Section 22.011 Sexual Assault - 44.5 percent
  • Section 21.11(a)(1) Indecency with a Child by Contact - 25.2 percent
  • Section 22.021 Aggravated Sexual Assault - 22.1 percent
  • Section 21.11(a)(2) Indecency with a Child by Exposure - 4.5 percent
  • Section 21.02 Continuous Sexual Abuse of Young Child or Children - 2.8 percent
  • Section 43.25 Sexual Performance by a Child - .09 percent

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Sexual Assault Under Texas Law

The offense of sexual assault involves allegations of intentionally or knowingly causing the sexual organ of another person, without that person's consent, to contact or penetrate the mouth, anus or sexual organ of another person, including the actor, according to Texas Penal Code Annotated § 22.011(a)(1)(C).  The offense generally is charged as a felony in the second degree.

The offense is a felony in the first degree if the alleged victim was a person whom the actor was prohibited from marrying under Section 25.01. Under § 22.011(b), the statute provides for certain circumstance in which the offense is committed without consent including:

  • The actor compels the other person to submit or participate by the use of physical force or violence
  • The actor compels the other person to submit or participate by threatening to use force or violence against the other person, and the other person believes the actor has the present ability to execute the threat
  • The other person has not consented and the actor knows the other person is unconscious or physically unable to resist
  • The actor knows that as a result of mental disease or defect the other person is at the time of the sexual assault incapable either of appraising the nature of the act or of resisting it
  • The other person has not consented and the actor knows the other person is unaware that the sexual assault is occurring
  • The actor has intentionally impaired the other person's power to appraise or control the other person's conduct by administering any substance without the other person's knowledge
  • The actor compels the other person to submit or participate by threatening to use force or violence against any person, and the other person believes that the actor has the ability to execute the threat
  • The actor is a public servant who coerces the other person to submit or participate
  • The actor is a mental health services provider or a health care services provider who causes the other person, a patient or former patient, to submit or participate by exploiting the other person's emotional dependency on the actor
  • The actor is a clergyman who causes the other to submit or participate by exploiting his or her emotional dependency on the clergyman in the clergyman's professional character as spiritual adviser
  • The actor is an employee of a facility where the other person is a resident, unless the employee and resident are formally or informally married to each other.

A person acts “intentionally” with respect to the result of his conduct when it is his conscious objective or desire to cause the result, according to § 6.03(a) (West 2011). A person acts “knowingly” with respect to a result of his conduct when he is aware that his conduct is reasonably certain to cause the result.


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Aggravated Sexual Assault

The criminal offense of aggravated sexual assault of a child involves an allegation that a person intentionally or knowingly causes the penetration of the sexual organ of a child under the age of 14, by any means, according to Texas Penal Code Annotated §§ 22.021. Texas law provides that the testimony of a child complainant, standing alone, is sufficient to support a conviction for sexual assault, according to Texas Code Criminal Procedure Annotated § 38.07.

In many of these cases the issue is whether the child complainant's unsophisticated terminology alone and the types of details provided establish enough proof of the elements of the offense, including the element of penetration beyond a reasonable doubt. The most important evidence often involves around when the child first recounted the incident, often called the "outcry evidence."


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Indecency with a Child by Contact

Under Section 21.11(a)(1), the offense of indecency with a child by contact can be charged if it is alleged that a person, with a child younger than 17 years and not the person’s spouse, whether the child is of the same or opposite sex, the person:

  • Engages in sexual contact with the victim or causes the victim to engage in sexual contact
  • Exposes the person’s anus or any part of the person’s genitals, knowing the victim is present, or causes the victim to expose the victim's anus or any part of the victim's genitals with intent to arouse or gratify the sexual desire of any person

The charge of indecency with a child by contact under Subsection (a)(1) is a felony of the second degree. Affirmative defenses to the offense include:

  • The defendant, in good faith, reasonably believed the child who engaged in the sexual conduct was 18 years of age or older
  • The defendant was the spouse of the child at the time of the offense
  • The conduct was for a bona fide educational, medical, psychological, psychiatric, judicial, law enforcement or legislative purpose
  • The defendant is not more than two years older than the child

The burden of proof is on the defendant to prove an affirmative defense by a preponderance of the evidence. The term “preponderance of the evidence” means the greater weight of the credible evidence.


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Additional Resources

Texas Association Against Sexual Assault - TAASA was founded in 1982 to help sexual assault survivors by strengthening laws against sexual predators, supporting legislation favorable to victims, advocating for increased funding for sexual assault programs at both the federal and state levels.

Sexual Assault Information by the U.S. Department of Justice - Explains sexual assault as a type of sexual contact or behavior that occurs without the explicit content of the recipient. The DOJ website provides information on hotlines, links to the Violence Against Women Action Center and additional resources.

Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network - RAINN is the nation's largest anti-sexual violence organization. RAINN created and operates the National Sexual Assault Hotline (800-656-HOPE and online.rainn.org) in partnership with more than 1,100 local rape crisis centers across the country.


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Finding the Best Sexual Assault Defense Lawyer in Bexar County

For sexual assault charges in Texas, contact the criminal defense attorneys at Goldstein, Goldstein, Hilley & Orr for a free and confidential initial consultation to discuss the facts of your case. We are experienced in representing clients throughout San Antonio and all of Texas. We understand the sensitivity of your case, and we will fight to help you. Call 210-226-1463 today.