Austin Sexual Assault Defense Lawyer
Austin & Travis County Sexual Assault Defense Attorneys
Sexual assault is a serious criminal offense that is vigorously prosecuted in the state of Texas. This sex crime refers to a number of illegal sexual actions that are knowingly, intentionally, and forcibly committed without the consent of the victim. Because of the nature of the crime, a conviction can lead to a lengthy prison sentence, significant fines, and a requirement to register as a sex offender.
I am well versed in the state’s sexual assault laws and possess the knowledge and skill necessary for successfully defending these charges.
What is sexual assault in Texas?
There are many ways a person can become charged with sexual assault:
- A person commits sexual assault if he intentionally or knowingly causes the penetration of the anus or sexual organ of another person by any means without that person’s consent
- A person commits sexual assault if he intentionally or knowingly causes the penetration of the mouth of another person by the sexual organ of the actor, without that person’s consent
- A person commits sexual assault if he intentionally or knowingly causes the sexual organ of another person, without that person’s consent, to contact or penetrate the mouth, anus, or sexual organ of another person, including the actor.
The key issue in sexual assault is consent, which is an affirmative agreement to engage in sexual activity. If consent is not given, then sexual assault is said to have occurred. In particular consent has not been given in the following situations:
- Violence or threats of violence are used to obtain consent
- Drugs are used to render a person unconscious
- Engaging in sexual activity with an individual who is unconscious or unaware of the assault
- Engaging in sex with an individual who is mentally incapable of understanding the situation
- Using a position of power or authority to coerce someone into sexual activity, such as a clergyman, healthcare services provider, public servant or employee at the facility in which the victim lives
Additionally, a minor under the age of 17 cannot legally give consent, which means that sexual assault charges may be brought even if the minor agreed to engage in sex willingly.
Additionally, charges can be elevated to aggravated sexual assault if the victim was seriously injured or nearly killed due to assault, the accused used or exhibited a deadly weapon during the crime, another person helped to carry out the crime, a drug was used to restrain the victim, the victim was under the age of 14, elderly or disabled.
Sexual Assault Penalties
Sexual assault is a second-degree felony, punishable by up to 20-year prison and a $10,000 fine. Aggravated sexual assault is a first-degree felony, punishable by 5-99 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
The minimum sentence is 25 years if the victim of the offense is younger than 6 years of age or if a deadly weapon was used during the commission of the crime and the victim was under the age of 14. A person who is convicted of sexual assault or aggravated sexual assault is also subject to mandatory registration as a sex offender.
Sexual Assault Defense Attorney
Sexual assault cases are complicated because there are usually no witnesses and victims often delay making an outcry which means that physical evidence is often lost or destroyed. More troublingly is the fact that these allegations are often made against a family member or a close friend of the family. Finally, accusations of sexual assault often arise in conjunction with divorce proceedings and custody battles.
Building a successful defense requires conducting an extensive investigation including interviewing the victim, the accused and any witnesses. It’s also important to gather other evidence such as school records, phone and email records and medical reports. Many times we find useful evidence on Facebook, Instagram, and other social media. We may be able to demonstrate that the victim gave consent or that there was a lack of intent, or raise questions about the validity of the state’s evidence.
If you have been charged with sexual assault, it is crucial to have a skilled criminal defense attorney in your corner. Even a false allegation can cause long-lasting damage to your reputation. My guiding principle is that anyone accused of a sexual assault crime is innocent unless proven guilty and I will work to protect your rights and clear your name. Please call me at 979.968.3783 today for a free consultation or complete the website contact form.