An accusation of a sex crime can have a devastating immediate impact on your life, with irreparable damage to your relationships, career and family life. If you are convicted of a sex crime, it is likely you will spend the rest of your life on a sex offender registration with serious criminal penalties, many of which lead to long-term jail sentences.
A possible sex crime accusation can come from a passing comment made to a child, a doctor – patient relationship gone amiss or a difficult divorce situation. The truth behind the situation must be entrusted to a skillful Harris County sex crimes defense lawyer who can paint a clear picture to the jury.
Hire A Harris County Sex Crimes Defense Lawyer Today
You can be convicted of a sex crime based purely on a victim’s word, so you must hire an experienced Harris County sex crimes defense lawyer to ensure you are effectively represented and all avenues of evidence are explored.
This is why a thorough investigation into the situation is vital to provide your sex crimes defense lawyer with enough evidence to defend you aggressively in court.
Trials for sex crimes are often based upon verbal accusations, requiring the jury to decide between the word of the victim or the word of the defendant. Sex crime accusations can become even more complex when the accusation comes from a child, as they can be so much more impressionable.
Before entering a guilty plea, it’s vital you understand the consequences that come from a sex crime conviction. Even a false accusation can have devastating effects for the rest of your life, so it’s of the greatest importance you hire a skilled defense lawyer to discuss all your options.
You are innocent until proven guilty, and our law firm will construct a strong defense case whilst working in your best interests.
If you or someone you love has been arrested for a sex crime, contact The Love DuCote Law Firm at 832-843-1691 so an experienced Harris County sex crimes defense lawyer can support you through every step.
Sex crime accusations in Harris County, TX
Sex crimes in Harris County cover a range of offenses under criminal law, and an experienced criminal defense lawyer will have expertise across a variety of these laws. Furthermore, they will also know the right course of action to defend you against a false accusation claim.
If you have been accused of the following crimes or face charges relating to sex crimes, it is never too early to contact a defense lawyer to support your case in a legal and professional manner.
Definition Of A Sex Crime
The label of sex crime can include a number of criminal charges, so this type of crime can be difficult to define. In its broadest meaning, a sex crime is a sexual act without the consent of the other party.
Within Texas law, consent cannot be obtained through force, or if the alleged victim is physically helpless, mentally defective or incapacitated. People who suffer from a mental illness and cannot understand sexual activity cannot consent to it. Anyone under the age of 17 is also unable to consent in the eyes of the law within Texas.
In addition, a person under the influence of an intoxicating substance such as drugs and alcohol is also not in a fit enough state to consent to sexual activity. This includes anyone who is unconscious, unable to say no due to a disability, or is unaware the sexual act is taking place.
The Several Types Of Sex Crimes Recognized In Texas
Commonly known as rape, sexual assault occurs when a defendant intentionally and knowingly commits any of the prohibited sexual activities without the victim’s consent. This also covers any physical damage caused with a sexual motive.
Furthermore, the act is considered to have been without the victim’s consent if physical violence was threatened or used in order to get the victim to submit or participate to the defendant’s actions. The threat of physical violence to coerce consent is also included within this subtype of crime.
If the accused was also in the position of care of the alleged victim, the act would be classed as sexual assault. These charges are amongst the most severe within Texas federal courts, leading to long-term prison sentences, high monetary fines and irreparable damage to the accused’s life.
Aggravated Sexual Assault
Aggravated sexual assault includes vaginal, anal or oral penetration in combination of one of the aggravating factors, such as causing serious bodily injury or even death. The use of drugs to make a victim even more helpless can elevate a sexual assault charge to aggravated sexual assault and therefore increase the penalties.
Prostitution under any circumstances is illegal across the state of Texas, including promoting or engaging in prostitution. Both sellers and vendors within a prostitute relationship are deemed to have committed a crime. If a person is involved in the promotion of multiple prostitutes for their own financial gain, they can also be charged highly.
Sexual contact in public can result in a sex crime conviction covered by federal and local law. This can include sexual intercourse outdoors or masturbation in a public place.
Sex trafficking involves transporting, recruiting, harboring, and providing a person for commercial sex. The trafficking of an adult involves the use of force, fraud, or coercion.
However, for children under 18 involved in sex trafficking, the use of force, fraud, or coercion does not need to be shown. Sex trafficking primarily occurs in escort services and pornography businesses.
The act of observing and/or recording an individual for the purpose of sexual gratification, without their consent to do so.
The inclusion of recording can make a case more serious, especially if there is proof of distribution of the video.
Internet Sex Crimes
Sex crimes via the internet have been steadily increasing over the past decade and cover crimes such as promoting the access to prostitution and engaging in sexual conversations with a minor.
Within most virtual sex crimes, there is a vast amount of evidence, making it easier for the prosecution to gain a successful conviction.
One sex offense that is on the rise is the occurrence of date rape. This refers to unlawful sexual intercourse during a social meeting between two individuals. Often, the offender creates conditions that make the victim more susceptible, such as supplying the victim with drugs. Most often, this is done without the victim’s knowledge. Date rape cases can be difficult to convict due to the relationship between the rapist and the victim.
Sex Crimes Involving Minors
To be classed as sex crimes involving minors, the alleged offender must be over the age of 17, and the alleged victim must be under 14. Consent within these cases is irrelevant as, under Texas penal code, minors are unable to consent. These crimes can include:
- Child molestation.
- Possession or the promotion of child Pornography.
- Continuous sexual abuse of a child.
- Virtual solicitation.
- Sexual assault.
- Statutory rape.
- Prostitution of a child under 18.
- Display or distribution of harmful material to a minor.
If it is proven a person engaged in sex crimes with a minor, it is likely they will have to register as a sex offender, which will have an impact on all elements of their life.
What Are The Penalties For A Sex Crime Conviction in Harris County?
Sex crime charges in Harris County, TX, are prosecuted severely and seriously every year. Each case is complex and individual, but a convicted sex offender could face jail time, mandatory sex offender registration, monetary fines and additional criminal or administrative penalties. In turn, this could have dire implications for relationships, reputation, employment opportunities and living arrangements.
This is why it is imperative an experienced and highly skillful criminal defense is put in place at the earliest opportunity so you can be aware of your options throughout the criminal procedure.
Sexual Assault Penalties
Generally, this sex offense charge is a second degree felony, resulting in between two and twenty years in prison and a maximum fine of $10’000.
Aggravated Sexual Assault Penalties
This type of sexual assault is a first-degree felony. These sex offenses are increased in severity from sexual assault due to the inclusion of violence, a deadly weapon, or indecency with a child, the elderly, or a disabled victim. With a conviction in this sex crime charge, you can face between five and ninety-nine years in prison and a $10’000 fine. If the sex offense included children, there is a minimum twenty-five-year sentence in jail before the option of parole.
Possession Of Child Pornography Penalty
Sex offenses involving child pornography are a third degree felony punishable by a two to a ten-year prison sentence and a fine of $10’000. If your possession of the material also extends to distribution, the sex offense is escalated to a second degree felony.
Prostitution without any aggravating factors
Within Houston TX, this crime is a class B misdemeanor, resulting in 180 days in jail and a maximum $2’000 fine. Being in control of multiple prostitutes is a class A misdemeanor punishable by one year in jail and a maximum $4’000 fine.
Can You Have Your Sex Offense Records Sealed?
Across Texas, certain circumstances can qualify for an order of nondisclosure, which can seal criminal records from the public view. This could provide the offender with better employment and housing options in the future. However, many sex crime convictions do not qualify for this, especially if the crime involved a child or injury to a child, which resulted in the signing of a sex offender registry.
If all the terms of a sentence and the required waiting time have been completed, then it may be possible to file a petition for an order of nondisclosure. The required waiting period is five years for felonies and two years for misdemeanor crimes.
However, the following sex offenses are not eligible for a nondisclosure order.
- Aggravated kidnapping.
- Human trafficking.
- Any instance of injury to a child.
- Any instance of family violence.
A conviction for a sex crime can be incredibly difficult to remove and impacts reputations and the ability to find employment or housing. The impact on family relations can also be devastating.
Hiring a Harris County sex crimes defense lawyer from The Love DuCote Law Firm can assist you in effectively strategizing your defense and therefore increase your chance of obtaining the best legal outcome.
Defenses For A Wrongful Accusation
If your search and seizure rights were violated as the evidence was gathered by law enforcement, this could render some evidence unusable in court.
If an occurrence or entrapment was used against you and you were persuaded to commit a crime by the authorities, this can be used as a defense by your lawyer.
If there is evidence to suggest the witness, testimony is unreliable. In some circumstances, there are ulterior motives for making an allegation of sexual assault, including trying to gain child custody or during a difficult divorce settlement.
Additionally, challenging the prosecution’s proof of subjective facts. For example, many circumstances in sex crime cases can be open to interpretation, and the evidence can be called into question.
Why Should I Hire A Harris County Sex Crimes Defense Lawyer?
After the arrest for a sex crime, it is easy to dismiss the importance of a lawyer during a criminal trial or to opt for a court-appointed defense attorney. However, it is crucial to hire a Harris County sex crimes defense lawyer to defend you, and by choosing your own, there are multiple benefits that a self-representation or a public defender cannot match.
Sex crimes are very sensitive topics and the court and prosecuting attorney may feel the pressure from the public to provide a guilty conviction as a result of how accused sex offenders are viewed in society. An experienced defense lawyer will have a familiarity with sex crime cases, giving them a strong knowledge of the defenses, strategies and processes needed to defend aggressively in front of the prosecution.
In addition, the sex crimes defense lawyer will have a strong understanding of the court systems that will try the case and may have knowledge of the prosecutors and judges involved in the trial. A defense lawyer will guide the accused through these processes, helping them to understand and prepare for the next steps.
Sex crimes can potentially have a severe impact on all aspects of your life if you receive a conviction. An accused individual can lose their job and the ability to find affordable housing and suffer irreparable damage to relationships and reputations. Hiring a Harris County sex crimes defense lawyer can help to increase the chance of obtaining the best potential outcome, giving you a greater opportunity to protect your future.
Hire A Harris County Sex Crimes Defense Lawyer at The Love DuCote Law Firm For Your Court Case
If you or someone you love is facing charges for a sex crime in Texas, The Love DuCote Law Firm can help. Every one of our lawyers has significant experience defending a variety of clients in the courtroom and in negotiations.
We know how embarrassing being accused of a sex crime can be, and know that being convicted for one is even worse. We take the time to build the attorney-client relationship, keeping you informed and listening compassionately to your case.
We thoroughly understand the complexities and intricacies that come with each individual case. Contact our firm today on 832-843-1691 to schedule your initial consultation with a Harris County sex crimes defense lawyer and discuss your legal options.