The Difference Between Sexual Assault and Aggravated Sexual Assault
Every year, thousands of Americans are accused of sex crimes. In many cases, these acts can be exaggerated or even fabricated. Once accused of a sex crime, one faces an uphill battle. A sex crime conviction can come with substantial jail time, severe fines, job termination, and a negative reputation in the community for the rest of one’s life.
That said, some sex crimes come with even greater consequences than others. If you have been accused of a sex crime, it is important to understand the legal, financial, and occupational ramifications of a guilty conviction. Below we will discuss the differences between a sexual assault charge and an aggravated sexual assault charge in the state of Texas
Sexual Assault Under Texas Law
According to the Texas Penal Code, sexual assault is legally described as an act in which a person intentionally penetrates someone’s mouth, anus, or sexual organs without proper consent. The inability to grant proper consent can legally mean a number of things, including having sex with a person 17 years of age or younger, when the victim is unconscious and thus unable to grant consent, or when the alleged rapist utilized the power of their position (occupational hierarchy, police officer, etc.) to engage in sexual misconduct.
A sexual assault conviction can come with massive, lifelong implications. A sexual assault charge is a second-degree felony in the state of Texas and carries a two-year minimum prison sentence (although those convicted could face up to twenty years in prison), a fine of up to $10,000, as well as forced lifelong registration as a sex offender.
Aggravated Sexual Assault
Here in the state of Texas, an aggravated sexual assault conviction can come with an even more severe legal punishment. According to the Texas Penal Code, an aggravated sexual assault is defined as when a person intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly causes or threatens harm to another person through a sexual attack, without consent. What makes an aggravated assault more serious is the presence of an aggravating factor.
Aggravating factors include sexual actions with a youth under the age of 14, causing bodily harm or fatal injuries to the victim, causing the victim to fear for their life, the use of drugs to incapacitate the victim, or the presence of an additional perpetrator.
Unlike a sexual assault conviction, which carries a second-degree felony, an aggravated assault conviction comes with a first-degree felony charge. This means that the convicted party would face increased prison time (including a minimum sentence of 25 years if the victim is 14 years of age or younger), as well as more substantial monetary fines.
Contact a Houston Criminal Defense Lawyer
In the state of Texas, sex crimes are harshly punished. If you have been accused of sexual assault or any other sexual offenses, it is critically important to work with a knowledgeable defense lawyer. Attorney Nathaniel Pitoniak has years of experience representing those accused of criminal acts in the state of Texas. To set up a free consultation with a skilled and dedicated Harris County criminal defense attorney, contact us today at 823-315-6283.