The Texas court system is particularly strict with defendants accused of sexual offenses. If you have been charged with a sex crime, you need to know what your charges involve so that you can understand what you are up against and what you and your attorney need to do to fight back and protect your rights.
Sex Crimes as Defined by Texas Law
Here are some of the possible sex offenses in Texas, broken down into categories.
Sexual offenses against minors
According to the Texas State Penal Code, a sexual offense against a minor involves an actor aged 17 years or older and a child aged 14 years or younger. A qualified attorney can help you understand your charges. Offenses include:
- Aggravated kidnapping. This charge involves intent to sexually violate a minor.
- Indecency with a minor. If an individual engages in sexual contact with a minor, this charge applies.
- Sexual assault or aggravated sexual assault. If an individual acted with knowledge or intent to cause the penetration of a minor by any means, or causes a child to engage in sexual contact, this charge may be filed.
- This charge may be filed if, upon burglarizing a residence or structure, an individual commits a sexual offense with a minor.
- Sex trafficking or compelling prostitution. This charge involves an individual causing a minor or minors to commit prostitution.
- Sale, distribution, or display of harmful material to a minor. If a person sells, distributes, or displays sexually explicit material, or hires a minor to help in the sale and distribution, this charge applies.
- Sexual performance by a minor under 18 years old. If an individual involves a minor in a play, video, motion picture, or any other visual representation, if a parent or guardian of a child grants consent, or if an individual produces, directs, or promotes such material, this charge may be filed.
- Employment harmful to minor under 18 years old. If an individual employs a minor to work in a sexually-oriented commercial enterprise, this charge may apply.
Possession of child pornography
An individual may be charged with a sex crime if he or she knowingly or intentionally possesses visual material depicting a minor engaging in sexual conduct.
If an individual knowingly engages in acts of sexual contact or intercourse with a person, bird, or animal in a public place, or is reckless as to whether another person present will be offended, this charge may apply.
An individual may face this charge if he or she exposes himself with an intent to arouse or gratify sexual desires of any person, and is reckless as to whether another person present will be offended.
Improper teacher/student relationship
If an individual is employed by a primary or secondary school and engages in sexual contact with a person enrolled at the school, and is not a spouse of the employee, this charge may be filed.
This charge is filed when an individual observes another person without their consent with an intent to arouse or gratify the sexual desire of the individual. The person being observed in a dwelling or structure has a reasonable expectation of privacy.
Invasive video recording
If an individual has intent to disclose visual material with intimate parts exposed or sexual acts being shown without the consent of the depicted person, this charge may be filed.
Unlawful dissemination of intimate visual content
This offense applies to photographs, videotapes, recordings, broadcasts, or transmissions of invasive video recordings.
This charge, commonly known as rape, occurs when an individual intentionally and knowingly engages in sexual conduct with another person without that person’s consent.
Aggravated sexual assault
This charge involves sexual assault plus bodily injury, or attempts to cause death of the victim. It also includes threats in the presence of the victim to cause death, serious injury, or kidnapping. If a deadly weapon or “date rape” drug is used, this charge applies.
Prohibited sexual conduct
If an individual engages in sexual conduct with an ancestor, relative, or descendant, this charge may be filed.
If a person engages in sexual conduct for a fee or publicly solicits sexual conduct for a fee, this charge applies. Those who promote prostitution may also face charges.
If an individual promotes or distributes obscene material, or participates in obscene performances, this charge may be filed.
When you are convicted of a sex crime, you may face years in prison and a lifetime requirement to register as a sex offender. Fines and punishments range widely depending on the nature of the charges. Since Texas law is tough on sex offenders, it’s crucial that you consult with skilled legal counsel as soon as possible.
About the Author:
After getting his Juris Doctor from the University of Houston Law Center, Jeff Hampton began practicing criminal law in Texas in 2005. Before becoming a defense attorney, he worked as a prosecutor for the Tarrant County District Attorney’s Office – experience he uses to anticipate and cast doubt on the arguments that will be used against his clients. Over the course of his career, he has helped countless Texans protect their rights and get the best possible outcome in their criminal cases. His skill has earned him recognition from the National Trial Lawyers (Top 100 Trial Lawyers) and Avvo (Top Attorney in Criminal Defense, Top Attorney in DUI & DWI, 10/10 Superb Rating), and he is Lead Counsel rated.