Sexual Assault of a Child (Statutory Rape) Charges Under Texas Law

In the state of Texas, sexual assault is legally defined as any unwanted sexual contact with another person involving penetration and lacking consent. The consequences of a sexual assault conviction are severe, especially when the alleged victim is a child.

Throughout the state of Texas, thousands of people are accused of sexual assault each year, and many of them have been falsely accused. If you have been accused of a sex crime, it is critically important to work with an experienced attorney who can provide you with a strong defense.

Sexual Assault of a Child in Texas

While “standard” sexual assault charges are usually brought based on the allegation that consent was never verified, and the perpetrator forcibly engaged in sexual activities with the victim, allegations of sexual assault of a child (commonly known as statutory rape) can be much more complex. According to the Texas Penal Code, sexual assault of a child occurs in a situation in which, regardless of whether or not the person knows the true age of the child at the time of the offense, the person intentionally or knowingly engages in sexual activities involving penetration or contact with a child’s sexual organs.

According to state law, a child is defined as anyone under the age of 17 years old. What makes sexual assault of a child charges less clear than other sexual assault charges is the fact that children are unable to express consent. Thus, even if a person believed that the action they were taking part in was consensual, a child cannot legally give consent under Texas law. However, the law states that a potential defense against statutory rape charges is that the alleged perpetrator was less than three years older than the child at the time of the alleged offense.

Aggravated Sexual Assault Charges

Within the Texas Penal Code, a sexual assault charge can be elevated to an aggravated sexual assault charge for a number of reasons. Aggravated sexual assault may be charged if the defendant allegedly caused serious physical harm to the victim, threatened the life of the victim, or was in possession of a deadly weapon during the act.

In cases of sexual assault of a child, a charge can be elevated to aggravated sexual assault if the alleged victim was younger than 14 years of age at the time of the act.

Contact a Harris County Sexual Assault Attorney

If you are accused of a sex crime, it easy to feel hopeless and alone. Those facing sexual assault charges commonly think about the potential jail time they could face, the financial implications of such a severe criminal charge, and the way in which a conviction of such magnitude could impact their relationships with their friends and family. In these cases, it is essential to find an attorney that has your best interests at heart. Nathaniel Pitoniak has years of experience representing those accused of sex crimes, and he will work diligently to provide you with a dedicated defense, helping you reach an outcome that protects your freedom and your reputation. To set up a free consultation with a Houston criminal defense lawyer, call us today at 832-315-6283.


Understanding the Laws Involving Child Pornography in Texas

In the state of Texas, law enforcement officials are cracking down on those believed to possess or promote sexually explicit material involving children. Earlier this year, a 90-day operation intending to arrest owners and promoters of child pornography resulted in 152 child pornography charges statewide, including multiple arrests in Harris County.

Charges related to child pornography are likely to be prosecuted zealously, and a conviction will have drastic effects that will impact a person for the rest of their life. If you have been accused of possessing child pornography or other sex crimes, it is important to understand the nature of the charges, the potential consequences, and your best options for defense.

Texas Child Pornography Laws

According to the Texas Penal Code, a person can be convicted of a child pornography charge if they intentionally or knowingly possess, or access with intent to view, sexually explicit material of a child. The state law defines this visual material as a photograph, film, disk, videotape, or form of online media depicting a minor under the age of 18 who is engaging in sexual acts.  

Criminal charges in the state of Texas vary depending on the intent of the person in possession of the sexually explicit material. Possession of pornographic material with the sole intent to view is a third degree felony, and it can be punished by fines of up to $10,000 and potential jail-time of up to 10 years. Attempting to promote or distribute pornographic material of a child is a second degree felony that is punishable by fines of up to $10,000 and between two and 20 years in prison.

Defenses Against Child Porn Charges

While sex crimes, such as possession or distribution of child pornography, can be challenging to defend in a courtroom, there are a number of common defenses that an educated criminal defense attorney may utilize in these cases. Defenses include whether a person intentionally or knowingly possessed the material and whether their Fourth Amendment rights against unreasonable searches and seizures were violated when a warrant was executed. For additional information on potential defense strategies, it is important to contact a criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible.

Contact a Houston Child Pornography Defense Attorney

If you have been accused of any crimes related to child pornography, you could be facing extensive fines, substantial jail-time, life-long registry as a sex offender, and damage to your career, reputation, and personal relationships. Attorney Nathaniel Pitoniak has years of experience working to defend those accused of sex crimes, and he can help you understand your best options for achieving a positive resolution to your case. If you have been accused of a sex crime in the state of Texas, it is time to contact a distinguished Harris County criminal defense lawyer. To set up a free consultation, call us today at 832-315-6283.


The Impact of a Sexual Assault Conviction

In the state of Texas and throughout the United States, sexual assault is taken very seriously. In addition to criminal charges, an alleged rapist will be tried in the court of public opinion, and their career, relationships, and personal reputation may be harmed, regardless of whether they are found guilty in a court of law. If you are falsely accused of a sex crime, finding qualified legal representation is crucial for protecting your freedom and your reputation.

Implications of a Sexual Assault Accusation

In Texas, sexual assault occurs when a person intentionally penetrates someone’s mouth, anus, or sexual organs without that person’s consent, or when they have sexual intercourse with a child under the age of 17. Texas law specifies that lack of consent occurs when:

  • The alleged rapist uses violence or physical force.
  • The alleged rapist threatens to harm the alleged victim or any other person.
  • The alleged victim has not provided consent and is unconscious or unable to resist.
  • The alleged victim has a mental disease or disability that makes them incapable of providing consent.
  • The alleged victim has not provided consent and is unaware that intercourse is occurring.
  • The alleged rapist intentionally caused the alleged victim to become impaired through the administration of an intoxicating substance.
  • The alleged rapist is a public servant (such as a police officer) who coerced the alleged victim into submitting to sexual intercourse.
  • The alleged rapist is a medical care provider (such as a doctor or nurse), mental health care provider (such as a counselor, therapist, or social worker), or member of the clergy who exploited the alleged victim’s emotional dependency on them to cause them to submit to sexual intercourse.
  • The alleged rapist is an employee of a facility providing care to the elderly, people with disabilities, or terminally ill patients, and the alleged victim is a resident of that facility.

Sexual assault is a second degree felony in Texas, and it carries a minimum prison sentence of two years and a maximum sentence of 20 years, as well as a maximum fine of $10,000. In addition, a person convicted of sexual assault will be forced to register as a sexual offender for the rest of their life.

Regardless of the circumstances of the case, one thing is clear: for those accused of sexual assault, their life can be drastically altered. Both jail time and sex offender registration can be incredibly damaging to a person’s future job prospects, housing opportunities, and relationships with their family and friends. In addition to potential jail time, a person convicted of felony sexual assault may be forced to pay restitution payments to the alleged victim or their family. The severe consequences that come with a sexual assault conviction demonstrate the critical importance of hiring a qualified criminal defense attorney.

Contact a Houston Sex Crime Defense Lawyer

If you have been falsely accused of a sexual crime, finding a defense lawyer you can trust is essential in helping you avoid the monumental implications of a sexual assault conviction. Attorney Nathaniel Pitoniak has years of experience defending those wrongly accused of criminal acts, including sexual assault. For additional information on how to approach an accusation of sexual assault, contact a proven Harris County criminal defense attorney. To set up a free consultation, call us today at 832-315-6283.


The Importance of Hiring the Right Criminal Defense Attorney

Every year, thousands of Americans are wrongfully accused of crimes they did not commit. Many of these people are tragically and wrongfully convicted. According to the National Registry of Exonerations, 2016 represented a record year for exonerations nationwide. An incredible 166 wrongfully convicted people were declared innocent that year, and more than three people continue to be exonerated every week. Tragically, many of those people spent decades in prison before ultimately being granted release.

In Harris County alone, we have seen approximately 128 exonerations since 2010. That total represents an alarming 15% of all exonerations nationwide. If you have been accused of a crime, you will want to do everything you can to avoid being another one of these statistics. That is why it is paramount to work with a competent and experienced criminal defense attorney.

Choosing a Defense Attorney

Choosing a criminal defense attorney can be a truly difficult decision. When deciding who you want to represent you in court, there are a number of important dynamics to consider.

The most important aspect of any attorney-client relationship is trust. Meet with prospective attorneys before you hire one and find someone that makes you comfortable and you feel comfortable working with. You will spend extensive amounts of time working together with your attorney to find the best possible legal outcome to your case, so you want to be sure they will be someone you believe has your best interests at heart.

When hiring a defense attorney, it is also of the utmost importance that you feel confident in their ability in the courtroom. The ideal defense attorney should have experience working on cases like yours, and they should have a proven track record in the courtroom. Doing your homework before hiring your defense attorney may save you stress, money, and even jail time.

Schedule a Free Consultation Today

Hiring a quality defense attorney can be the ultimate difference in finding the optimal resolution to your criminal case. A quality attorney can obtain dismissals in felony or misdemeanor cases, negotiate with prosecutors to reduce charges, and in severe cases, help you avoid or reduce jail time.

While prior success in the courtroom is no guarantee of results in the future, Nathaniel Pitoniak has a proven and distinguished record of success. From assault charges to drug crimes, Nathaniel Pitoniak has tried more than thirty felony and misdemeanor charges in Texas Courtrooms. At The Pitoniak Law Firm, we can promise thorough preparation and aggressive representation for each and every one of our clients. To set up a free consultation with a Houston criminal defense lawyer, call us today at 832-315-6283.

The Wrongly Convicted