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.