Sex crimes cover a broad range of offenses in Houston, TX and whether you’ve been falsely accused or need to understand your options following a sex offense, you need a legal team to make sense of the potential outcomes and to work on your criminal defense.
At The Love DuCote Law Firm LLC, our Houston sex crime defense lawyers have a lot of experience in this area and can help formulate a sex crime defense no matter the circumstances, all while ensuring your rights are respected.
Hire a Houston Sex Crimes Defense Lawyer Today
Don’t wait until facing sex crime charges!
Sex crime allegations can be incredibly debilitating before an individual even faces sexual offense charges. False accusations that don’t see a person convicted can still do significant damage to a person’s reputation and social standing.
No matter the stage of the legal process, if you face a potential sex crime charge, even if they involve false allegations, it’s time to assess your legal options. A criminal defense lawyer can work to understand your sexual assault case or other sex crime and give you the benefit of extensive experience in criminal law to advise on the best course of action.
You’re innocent until proven guilty, and our law firm will work to ensure the protection of your legal rights while constructing a robust sex crime defense.
Reach out to an experienced Houston sex crime defense lawyer from The Love DuCote Law Firm LLC today at 832-843-1691.
Potential Sex Crime Accusations in Houston
Houston sex crimes cover a broad range of offenses under criminal law and a sex crimes defense lawyer will have experience across all of them. They will also be able to put together a strong criminal defense against false accusations in any sex crimes case.
So, if you’ve been accused of the following, or face criminal charges, you need a legal professional; you need a Houston sex crimes defense lawyer. It’s never too early to start the attorney-client relationship, especially when criminal law permits stringent punishments and potentially even a prison sentence.
Sex Offenses Involving Minors
Under Texas law, any sex crime involving a perpetrator aged 17 or older and a child aged 14 or younger constitutes a sexual offense against a minor. Sex crime cases of this nature may include:
- Aggravated kidnapping: A charge of aggravated kidnapping involves abducting or falsely imprisoning a minor with a sexual motive.
- Sexual assault including aggravated sexual assault: A sexual offense whereby the accused intentionally forced a child to engage in sexual contact or sexual intercourse.
- Distribution of harmful material to a minor: These sex offenses include selling or otherwise furnishing a minor with sexually explicit materials, or enlisting or hiring them to do so.
- Sexual performance: An offense whereby a minor appears in any visual medium involving a sex act or other sexualization.
- Indecency with a child: This charge covers sexual conduct with a minor, often spanning sexual abuse, statutory rape, and continuous sexual abuse.
- Employment in a sexually harmful environment: An individual can face sex crime allegations if they hire a minor to work in a sexual environment, even if they’re uninvolved in sexual contact.
While some child pornography cases fall under sex crimes against minors, possession generally means that the victim is absent, and the case is treated accordingly. An alleged offender could be charged with possession if they knowingly own visual materials depicting minors engaged in sexual conduct.
Public Lewdness and Indecent Exposure
Public sexual contact can lead to a sex crime conviction under both local and federal law, especially in cases whereby the accused is reckless about causing offense in public.
Voyeurism and Invasive Recording
Voyeurism is considered any case of an individual observing an alleged victim without their knowledge or consent, with the goal of sexual gratification.
An invasive recording is similar but often treated more seriously as such a crime may also involve the viewing and dissemination of such content. Unlawful dissemination of these materials can lead to another sex offense charge, spanning the distribution of videos and images through streaming, broadcasts, or other transmissions.
Sexual Assault and Aggravated Sexual Assault
Sexual assault and particularly aggravated sexual assault charges are among the most severe Houston sex crimes and are often considered serious felonies leading to a prison sentence in federal courts.
These crimes are often considered rape, but can also cover anything that inflicts damage or pain on an individual with a sexual motive or threatens to do so.
Prostitution is completely illegal in Texas, spanning everything from promoting to soliciting. Criminal law in the state perceives anyone involved in prostitution, including both vendors and customers, as having committed a sex crime.
Internet Sex Crimes
While a broad category in its own right, Houston sex laws extend to online activity. Anything considered a crime in the real world can also bring criminal charges when carried out on the internet.
This spans more obvious cases, such as online solicitation, as well as child molestation, indecent exposure, and indecency with a child.
Jail Time and Fines for Sex Crimes in Houston
As with most offenses, the Texas penal code divides sexual crimes into misdemeanors and felonies, with penalties as follows:
Penalties for a Misdemeanor Sex Crime Charge
- Class A Misdemeanor: Up to a year in jail with fines of up to $4,000.
- Class B Misdemeanor: Up to 180 days in jail with fines of up to $2,000.
- Class C Misdemeanor: Fines of up to $500.
Penalties for Felony Sex Crime Charges
- First-Degree Felony: Between five and 99 years of life in jail.
- Second-Degree Felony: Between two and 20 years in jail.
- Third-Degree Felony: Between two and ten years in jail.
- State Jail Felony: Between 180 days and two years in state jail.
All felony convictions in Houston, TX can also include a fine of up to $10,000.
Registering As A Sex Offender
A strong criminal defense is essential in any legal case, but it’s vital to remember that a conviction may involve further punishment for a sex offense, namely becoming a registered sex offender.
Designed to protect the public against those known to have been convicted, the Texas Sex Offender Registration Programme publicly lists the names and additional details of anyone that has been legally compelled to add their details.
Sex offender registration isn’t always compulsory in sex crime cases, and becoming a convicted sex offender doesn’t necessarily mean that the perpetrator will have to register their details.
However, the more serious a crime, the more likely sex offender registration becomes. Someone that commits indecent exposure as their first-ever offense of any kind is unlikely to need to register. Meanwhile, someone with a checkered Houston sex crime history convicted of indecency with a child will likely find themselves on the Sex Offender Registry for life.
Naturally, that makes it all the more important to seek representation from someone with a legal specialization in this area of criminal defense law. False allegations can ruin lives, as can unfair trials.
In criminal defense cases where someone is convicted of a Class A misdemeanor when the best Houston sex crime defense lawyers could have had it downgraded to a Class B misdemeanor, it can have a massive and lasting impact.
Additional Punishments and Limitations
Being convicted of a Houston sex crime can have far-reaching consequences beyond typical punishments like jail time, fines, and even registration. Registration itself can turn lives upside down due to additional restrictions.
Your Houston sex crime defense lawyer can tell you more about what to expect based on specific charges. Nevertheless, any or all of the following restrictions are possible.
Even if you avoid jail time, if you’re legally required to register as a sex offender, you may find that you do not have the same freedom of movement around Houston and Harris County.
Law enforcement will closely monitor any attempts to move house or to take a vacation. If you plan to move beyond Harris County for over a week, you’re also legally required to register your presence with local law enforcement.
Limitations on Living Conditions
Anyone registered as a sex offender in Harris County will also find their living options restricted. While on parole or probation, or under mandatory supervision, anyone that appears on the register may not live or visit within 500 feet of a child safety zone. These zones include schools, parks, playgrounds, and sports fields.
An offender that remains under supervision must consider child safety zones beyond their own living arrangements. For example, it becomes illegal to become involved in social activities that involve children of 17 years of age or under, or that take place near schools.
These restrictions apply on a personal as well as the social level and may also restrict attendance at family events.
Limitations on Employment
As a registered offender, it becomes impossible to gain certain roles and professional qualifications. It will also reduce the available work locations – convicted offenders are unable to work in schools, sports centers, medical practices, and even law firms.
Beyond the legal requirement, it is important to remember that the registry is public. As such, employers will be able to discover that registration and may decide against employment, especially in public-facing roles.
Voting and Firearms
Being convicted of a felony for a sexual offense carries the same restrictions in Harris County as with any other type of crime. As such, those convicted of a sex crime will be unable to vote until the completion of their sentence, including probation and parole.
Likewise, as a convicted felon, an individual loses the right to own a firearm. This right returns on the fifth anniversary of sentence completion.
Do note that these restrictions relate solely to a felony conviction where applicable. Registering as a sex offender has no impact on the right to vote or own firearms.
Restrictions on Internet Access
While internet access is widely considered as important as running water and electricity in modern Texas homes, convictions for offenses that take place online or that involve minors may lead to limited access or potentially a blanket ban.
Authorities may prevent a registered offender from owning a computer or even a cell phone with internet access should they determine that any online access could lead to reoffending.
In other cases, internet access is permitted but may be closely monitored. Most offenders find that they are expressly forbidden from visiting websites in certain categories or creating social media accounts.
What Your Houston Sex Crimes Defense Lawyer Can Do
No matter the nature of the case at hand, the Houston sex crime defense lawyers at our law office boast legal specialization and extensive experience that’s relevant to your case.
The impact of a conviction can be extensive and may remain with you forever, so we will work to ensure that false accusations gain absolutely no traction, and in cases of guilt, your rights are respected and your sentencing fair.
Defending a Sex Crime Case
Sex crimes are somewhat unique from a legal perspective, as they may not involve any witnesses. Most accusations, at least in the initial stages, involve the word of one party against that of another.
It is the prosecutor’s job to aggressively pursue the case at hand and they will call upon all of their knowledge and expertise to do all they can to prove guilt. Ultimately, they need to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that events played out in the manner the accuser states.
At The Love DuCote Law Firm LLC, we believe that the accused should also benefit from first-rate legal expertise and experience. Someone without a legal background could find themselves pressured or otherwise misrepresented throughout their case.
Regardless of the crime committed, we believe that every defendant deserves to have their case heard on a level playing field. Our clients receive the benefit of our vast expertise in tackling the case, and we work to understand the specifics.
Some of the most common potential defenses against sex crime accusations include:
- The basic and honest claim of innocence.
- Cases of mistaken identity, whereby the defendant can provide evidence that they were not the perpetrator.
- Implied or expressed consent – many cases of sexual assault, especially those not involving a minor, must tackle the role and presence of consent in the encounter before a successful conviction.
- Illegal evidence acquisition can also throw a case off track, especially when law enforcement acquires computer hardware or other potentially incriminating items without following due process and search guidelines.
The Love DuCote Law Firm LLC is Here to Help
The ramifications of a sex crime accusation can remain with someone for the rest of their life, potentially restricting their movement and employment prospects for decades to come.
Even before being formally charged, such accusations rarely remain a matter solely between the accused and the courts. An accusation alone can alter public perception and ruin reputations, and once the damage is done it can be difficult to recover – even if the allegations are ultimately proven false.
At The Love DuCote Law Firm LLC, we always recommend seeking legal advice at the earliest possible opportunity when facing arrest or charges. When it comes to sex crimes in Houston, this becomes even more imperative.
Our Houston sex crime defense lawyers can assist not only in putting together the best possible defense of accusations, but also aid clients in managing their reputations and any fallout that the allegations alone may cause.
Above all, we work on behalf of our clients to ensure that they are in a position to defend themselves fairly and to the full extent of the law, even in the face of typically aggressive prosecutors.
The earlier you contact our Houston office, the sooner we can get to work on putting together a compelling defense. Given the effects that a conviction can have on your freedom and wellbeing now and far into the future, we highly recommend reaching out without delay.