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.