Sexual Assault Lawyer For Charges in Fort Worth, Texas
Have you, a friend or a loved one been accused or arrested for sexual assault in Fort Worth or in a surrounding city in Tarrant County, Texas? If so, call The Hampton Law Firm now to speak to Jeff Hampton and his team of Former Tarrant County Prosecutors about your legal options! Sexual assault is one of the most serious crimes you can be accused of in Texas. Unfortunately, detectives will routinely issue arrest warrants for people with little to no evidence other than the word of the alleged victim. It is critical that your freedom, your future, and your criminal record is protected!
What Should I Do If I Get A Call From A Detective?
If you have received a phone call from a Tarrant County detective regarding a sexual assault allegation and he is asking you to come into the police station and “tell your side of the story,” it is critical that you understand that the police detective has little interest in knowing your side of the story.
Police detectives are trained to befriend their suspects and act like they care about you and have your best interests in mind. In reality, most Texas police detectives do not give you the opportunity to give your side of the story. Instead, they interrogate you and will easily twist innocent truthful statements you make to appear to be incriminating. Nine times out of ten, sexual assault detectives have already gathered information from the alleged victim before they contact you. Their primary goal in reaching out to you is to persuade you to give a confession.
Do not be deceived by the belief that because you are innocent, you have nothing to hide, and you can persuade the detective to drop the case. He said/she said cases, which constitute the vast majority of sexual assault cases, are common with sex-based crimes. Fort Worth and Tarrant County detectives are trained to match any statements you make to attempt to corroborate the statements of the alleged victim. Confessions are the easiest way for a Fort Worth sexual assault detective to make a case and get a warrant. The main lesson to be learned: NEVER SPEAK TO A DETECTIVE!
If you are under investigation for sexual assault, call The Hampton Law Firm now to learn about your legal options and how Jeff Hampton and his team of criminal defense attorneys can protect you from criminal prosecution. With an experienced sex assault defense law firm, like The Hampton Law Firm on your side, you will have a fighting chance to prove your innocence. Do not speak with investigators or detective without a defense attorney present.
How Can A Lawyer Help You With A Sexual Assault Detective?
Hiring a sexual assault attorney to speak to a detective shields you from a detective misrepresenting your statement or evidence. Without a criminal attorney on your side, can you really trust the detective will honestly write down what you share? You have a Sixth Amendment right to counsel and you have nothing to be ashamed of by exercising your constitutional rights to employ an attorney.
By hiring an experienced and aggressive criminal defense attorney, you can share important exculpatory evidence with the detective, while ensuring the detective does not twist or misinterpret what you say. Everything your criminal attorney says to the detective is hearsay and can NOT be used against you in court. However, everything you say CAN be used against you. This is precisely the reason police officers and detectives move quickly to attempt to get you to give them a statement regarding the events.
Texas Penal Code Regarding Sexual Assault
Under Texas Penal Code, Section 5: Offenses Against the Person, Section 22.011 Sexual Assault, a person commits sexual assault if they intentionally or knowingly:
(a) causes the penetration of the anus or sexual organ of another person by any means, without that person’s consent;
(b) causes the penetration of the mouth of another person by the sexual organ of the actor, without that person’s consent; or
(c) causes 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.
How Does a Sexual Assault Investigation Begin?
The most common way a sexual assault investigation begins is when an alleged victim makes a claim that he or she was sexually assaulted. By the alleged victim simply making the allegation against you, a Tarrant County detective can seek an arrest warrant, have you arrested, and seek criminal prosecution against you for sexual assault.
Because sexual assault cases very rarely have any physical evidence and rely entirely upon the alleged victim’s word, the element of consent and whether the sexual encounter was consensual or not is often the primary issue at a sexual assault trial.
What is the Legal Age of Consent in Texas?
The legal age of consent in Texas is seventeen, meaning that an adult that is 18 years old or older cannot have sex (even if you think it is consensual) with someone that is 16 years old or younger.
How Does Texas Law Define Consensual Sex?
Texas law specifies when a sexual encounter was not consensual. Under Texas Penal Code, Section 5, § 22.011(b), A sexual assault is without the consent of the other person if:
- a party forcibly penetrates or forces the other to participate in a sex act by using violence
- a party threatens violence or harm against the other person if they do not cooperate or allow a sex act
- a person engages in sexual conduct with someone without consent who is unconscious or cannot physically defend themselves
- a person initiates or participates in a sex act with someone who has a mental disorder that inhibits their understanding of a sex act and/or their ability to refuse
- a party knowingly engages in sexual conduct with someone who did not consent and does not know that the sexual encounter is happening
- a person drugs another or gives them a mind-altering substance without their permission in order to make resistance to sex or awareness of a sexual encounter difficult
- the aggressor is a public servant or government employee coercing the other party to participate in sexual conduct by force or out of fear
- the party works in a mental health, health care facility, or nursing home and uses the victim’s dependent relationship to force sexual conduct
- the aggressor is a clergyman, preacher, priest, or other person of religious leadership and power who coerces the victim using their dependent relationship
- the party is an employee at a place where the alleged victim is a resident unless they are married (Chapter 2 Family Code)
Sexual Assault Defenses In Texas
Sexual assault charges require a thorough analysis of the facts of the case to determine the strengths and weaknesses of the charge and formulate a custom defense strategy to dismiss the case. This requires an experienced and aggressive sexual assault attorney that knows the courts of Tarrant County, Texas and legal defenses that are effective in minimizing your risk in court.
The most common defense to sexual assault is the defense of consent. It is quite common that one-night stands and bad sexual experiences can turn into rape and sexual assault allegations.
For example: a young man and a young woman meet at a local bar and have too much to drink. One thing leads to the other and they end up back at the young man’s house. Very quickly, the consumption of alcohol and fun time leads to a sexual experience. The next morning, the young lady wakes up and does not remember all of what happened and leaves to go home. She starts talking to her friends and they start suggesting that she did not consent to what happened that night and she was raped. In reality, the young man and woman were engaging in consensual activity and the young lady woke up the next day experiencing remorse that she had sex with someone she did not know.
Another example is the situation where a high school or college student has a sexual encounter with an older male student and the parents find out about it. They become enraged and begin to talk their daughter into the idea that she may have been raped by the young man.
This is important to understand: Consent is determined at the time of the sexual encounter, not at a later date. Many people have had buyer’s remorse when it comes to a sexual encounter and wished it did not happen. However, if they were willing at the time of the encounter, it was consensual.
In fact, the real question is did the accused believe he or she had consent to engage in sexual activity at the time of the sexual encounter? Objectively, if a reasonable person would believe that the other partner was consenting to the sexual activity, consent was given. This situation arises when one partner desires rough sex or some variety of sexual activity that borders on violent. How do you know if it was consensual?
The Grand Jury Presentation
What if there is doubt regarding whether consent was provided at the time of the sexual encounter? What if there is evidence of previous sexual encounters or text messages, emails, or video where the alleged victim invited sexual activity? In these situations, your sexual assault attorney MUST make a presentation to a grand jury to exonerate you of all charges.
The grand jury system in Texas is designed to require every felony to be filtered by a panel of citizens that will determine if probable cause exists for a crime. In fact, the grand jury process is completely confidential and designed to provide a true filter to prevent someone from being wrongfully charged with a felony crime.
However, if your criminal defense attorney does not proactively prepare an evidence packet to present to the grand jury, you may lose out on the opportunity to have your case dismissed. The grand jury’s primary responsibility is to listen to a summary of evidence and decide if the charge should remain a felony, be dropped to a lesser misdemeanor charge or be no billed. A no bill is a rejection of the criminal charges and allows you the future eligibility of having your arrest record and criminal charges expunged from your criminal record.
The Hampton Law Firm has made hundreds of evidence presentations to the Tarrant County grand jury over the years and have helped scores of clients clear their good name and prevent a prison sentence or long probation.
Prison Time, Fines & Punishment for a Sexual Assault Conviction in Texas
The crime of sexual assault is a serious criminal offense that could result in prison time and a hefty fine. Under Texas law, sexual assault is classified as a second-degree felony. The range of punishment for a second-degree felony in the State of Texas is a prison sentence not more than 20 years but not less than 2 years and a fine of up to $10,000.
If the sexual assault charges are enhanced to a charge of Aggravated Sexual Assault, you would be facing a first-degree felony, punishable by a prison term of five years to life in prison and up to a $10,000 fine. One example of an aggravated sexual assault would be if someone used a deadly weapon in the commission of a sexual assault.
As you can see, a conviction for sexual assault could result in serious long-term consequences that could result in the following: prison time, an extended probation term, a permanent limitation in your ability to get a job and the stigma of being labeled a rapist or sex offender.
It is critical that you call a sexual assault lawyer at the Hampton Law Firm now for a free consultation. Jeff Hampton is a strategic, aggressive defense attorney who fights hard to prove your innocence.
Contact the Hampton Law Firm or call 817-435-2909 now to schedule a free consultation to determine your rights and legal options.