Charged with a Sex Crime in Texas?
Few criminal charges are more serious than those related to sexual offenses. Not only are possible punishments for Texas sex crimes quite serious, but the ramifications usually extend into all areas of one’s life—from possible future employment to living arrangements. The bottom line is that anyone charged with a sex crime must act quickly to seek out legal help.
Texas Sex Crimes
Dozens of Texas laws relate to sexual crimes. Some of the more commonly charged sex offenses are:
- Indecency with a Child
- Sexual Assault
- Aggravated Sexual Assault
- Improper Relationship Between Educator and Student
- Improper Photography of Visual Recording
- Prohibited Sexual Conduct
- Promotion of Prostitution
- Aggravated Promotion of Prostitution
- Compelling Prostitution
- Obscenity Display or Distribution
- Sale, Distribution, or Display of Harmful Material to Minor
- Sexual Performance by a Child
- Possession or Promotion of Child Pornography
- Criminal solicitation of a Minor
- Public Lewdness
- Indecent Exposure
Defending Sex Crime Charges in Austin, TX
Sex crime lawyers in Texas understand that these charges are some of the most difficult to defend because of the stigma attached. Prosecutors often feel strongly motivated to believe a child victim no matter what. And because of the sensitive nature of sex crimes committed against adults, prosecutors often feel a heavy responsibility to obtain convictions.
Fortunately, the criminal justice system ensures that people charged with crimes—no matter what type of crime—will have their rights respected. That means that prosecutors must actually prove each and every element of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. If sufficient evidence does not exist, then the accused cannot be found guilty. It is crucial to have proper legal defense such that prosecutors are required to prove their case.
For example, the offense of Texas sexual assault is guided by §21.011 of the Texas Penal Code. A person commits a sexual assault if he intentionally or knowingly penetrates the anus, sexual organ, or mouth of another person without that person’s consent. A person also commits an offense if he intentionally or knowingly causes the sexual organ of another person to contact or penetrate the mouth, anus, or sexual organ of another person, without that person’s consent. Of course, that conduct is also an offense if committed against a child, except that the State need not prove a lack of consent. The statute then lists at least eleven situations where “consent” is deemed not to have existed—such as when another is unconscious or suffering from a mental disease or defect. To meet the requirements of the law, the prosecution must provide evidence to prove the defendant’s mental state, the actual unauthorized conduct, and lack of consent beyond a reasonable doubt. A defense attorney can explain if there may be insufficient evidence to prove any elements of the crime in your situation.
Help While Being Investigated for a Sex Crime
Many Texans first discover that they may be charged with a sex crime when informed by authorities that they are being investigated. It is important to seek out the help of a Texas sex crimes lawyer as soon as possible when you hear about such an investigation. What you say and do during an investigation can be critical in any subsequent criminal case. In fact, in some cases work can be done to ensure charges are not filed at all. This is important in keeping your record clean, because arrests (even if dropped or leading to a not guilty verdict) end up on criminal records.
Sex Offender Registries
One of the most well-known consequences of sex crime convictions is having to register as a sex offender. For example, if you are convicted of a crime like continuous sexual abuse of a young child, indecency with a child, sexual assault (more commonly called rape), or aggravated sexual assault, you may be required to register as a sex offender for the rest of your life. This is on top of any (long) prison sentence.
The registries are public databases that anyone can search to identify the past crimes. For example, one of the most popular is maintained by the Texas Department of Public Safety. The consequences of being forced to register are severe on future employment, housing, and community engagement activities. However, an attorney with experience in these cases can work to help avoid the damage. In some cases registration may be deferred or blocked with completion of proper treatment programs.
Real Defense Results: Case Synopsis Resulting in 4 Acquittals and 1 Dismissal
My unfortunate client truly understands the meaning of the expression ‘Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.’ My client is an American citizen, but grew up in the Philippines. When he became an adult, he decided to move to America. He arrived in Austin and began working.
Eventually, he was approached by someone suggesting that he marry a woman from the Philippines. He declined to just marry her without getting to know her, but said he would be willing to meet her. A courtship ensued in which he eventually took the woman to see his mother, and she took him to see her parents in the Philippines.
They returned to Travis County and got married. One of the benefits a foreign national receives from marrying an American citizen is a pathway to American citizenship. However, the foreign national must remain married to the American citizen for a certain number of years. Before that number of years had elapsed, my client had decided that the marriage was not working out and he wanted a divorce. His wife said that if he divorced her, that she would accuse him of sexually molesting his godson. In that fateful conversation, my client decided that he would rather endure a false accusation, even one as serious as what she threatened, than remain married to her.
My client began divorce proceedings and not long after that, his wife “found” a videotape of him supposedly sexually assaulting his godson. Now, here’s a question for you: if you found a videotape of someone who was unquestionably sexually assaulting a child, what would you do? I think just about all people would call the police. Not my client’s wife. Instead, she called her sister. Her sister supposedly came over and watched the shocking (and nonexistent) video. What did she do? Nothing. Instead, both my client’s wife and her sister sat on this supposed information for months. According to my client’s wife, she eventually confronted him about the video and he supposedly destroyed it.
Ultimately, my client’s wife called the grandmother of the godson and told her about the (nonexistent) video. The grandmother, believing that someone had seen incontrovertible evidence of a sexual assault against her grandson, understandably felt concerned and called both her grandson’s mother and the police.
The police had the alleged victim interviewed by a forensic interviewer. When he was first interviewed, the alleged victim denied all sexual contact of any kind.
A few weeks later, the alleged victim returned for another forensic interview in which he claimed that certain sexual acts had occurred between himself and his godfather. His claims in the second interview did not match the dramatic claims made by my client’s ex-wife after viewing the (nonexistent) video.
Eventually, the police called my client in for an interview. He agreed to speak and explained about his wife’s threat to make a false accusation of sexual abuse and emphatically denied each and every accusation the police officer mentioned.
At trial, on cross examination of the forensic interviewer, she admitted that on many occasions in both the first and the second interview, her questions suggested to the alleged victim answers which would match the accusation made by my client’s (by then) ex-wife.
On cross examination of my client’s ex-wife, she admitted that she had not safeguarded the video or ever called the police at all.
I called as a witness an independent expert on forensic interviews of children who are thought to be possible victims of sexual abuse. He had a number of insightful criticisms of how the forensic interviews were conducted.
I also called an immigration lawyer who had previously prosecuted marriage fraud claims for the United States government. He explained that approximately 50% of the marriage fraud claims brought by the government are found to be true. He further said that this scenario was the kind of set of facts which would result in a successful prosecution for marriage fraud.
The jury acquitted my client of four of the five felony sex crimes for which he had been indicted. On the fifth charge, the jury hung. That charge was ultimately dismissed.
Supporting Travis County Court Documents
The cost, both emotionally and financially, of defending yourself against an accusation of a sex crime can be devastating. The stakes could only be higher if you were charged with a capital murder. You can either walk free or you could walk into prison in chains.
From having prosecuted child abuse cases, I know that the State takes these cases extremely seriously, as they should. Their objective is to do justice and very often in child abuse cases, to a prosecutor ‘justice’ looks like a very long prison sentence for the defendant.
Hire an experienced criminal defense attorney if you’re charged with a sex crime. Call me.
Sex Crime Lawyer in Austin, Texas
In the Austin area, Texas criminal defense lawyer Bill Mange has a history of success in sex crime cases—both as a prosecutor and defense attorney. His experience on both sides of the aisle mean that he is able to vigorously defend you at trial as well as negotiate with prosecutors if necessary.
Texas sex crime charges are always sensitive. It is crucial to have a legal advocate on your side who understands the delicate nature of the charges and appreciates the seriousness of the consequences. Be sure to get in touch with Attorney Mange for the experienced professional you need to defend yourself and protect your future.