What to Expect When You Get Arrested for a Sex Crime
Sex crimes are among the most serious offenses a person can face. In addition to facing severe legal penalties, if convicted of a sex crime in Texas, you may also be required to register as a sex offender for the rest of your life. Because of this, you must understand your rights and what will happen at each stage in the criminal process.
What are Sex Crimes in Texas?
Sex crimes are a broad category of criminal offenses that include many behaviors. Some of the most common include:
- Sexual Assault: This crime involves physically forcing or coercing someone into sexual activity without their consent. It can also include non-physical coercion, such as threatening to report someone to immigration authorities.
- Sexual Battery: This crime involves unwanted sexual contact with another person, including inappropriate touching and forced penetration. It also includes acts that are committed against someone unable to give consent. This can include people who are intoxicated or unconscious, as well as those with a mental or physical disability.
- Sexual Assault With An Object: This crime involves inserting an object into the vagina or anus without the other person’s consent. It may also involve penetrating a child under 18 with an object.
- Rape: This crime involves physically forcing or coercing someone into sexual intercourse without consent.
- Statutory Rape: This crime involves having sex with someone under the age of consent for their state.
- Prostitution: This crime involves sexual activity for money or other compensation.
Sex Offense Law in Texas
The law in Texas prohibits a person from having sexual contact with another person without their consent. It also prohibits indecency and lewdness, such as exposing one’s genitals in public or engaging in sexual activity while on display.
Texas law defines a sex offense as involving sexual contact, sexual intercourse, or deviant sexual intercourse with another person. These crimes typically involve force or coercion but can also include consensual acts if the victim is under 18.
The state has a sex offender registration that requires convicted sex offenders to register with local law enforcement agencies within 48 hours of moving into a new county or city. Registration information includes the offender’s name, address, driver’s license number, and other identifying characteristics such as height and weight.
What to Expect If Arrested for a Sex Crime in Texas
Texas has very harsh penalties for sex crimes, and it’s essential to understand what to expect if you are arrested. As with any criminal charge, you can expect the police to arrest you and take your fingerprints and photograph. You must also submit a DNA sample as part of the standard procedure.
Once in custody, you will be booked and taken to a holding cell. You will be allowed to call your attorney when you are in custody. You should exercise this right, as you must begin the process of defending yourself immediately. If you do not have a criminal defense attorney, one will be provided for you at no cost if the state provides your legal representation.
What to Do If You are Arrested for a Sex Crime
You do not have to make statements or answer questions without legal representation. Instead, ask for your defense attorney and remain silent until they arrive.
The laws that govern sex crimes can be complex and difficult to understand. Your attorney will be able to provide the advice and representation necessary for your defense. The attorney will also help protect your rights and ensure that the evidence against you is not tainted or unreliable.
Criminal Penalties for Sexual Assault in Texas
The penalties for a first-degree sexual assault conviction are severe and can include:
Imprisonment For Up To 20 Years
A felony conviction is a serious crime in Texas, and it can result in a lengthy prison sentence. The exact length of the sentence depends on whether it’s your first or subsequent offense, as well as any aggravating factors involved in the case. A judge will also consider your criminal history and other mitigating factors such as age, mental capacity, or disability at the time of the offense. You may serve up to 20 years in prison if you are convicted. This is the maximum sentence for a first-degree sexual assault conviction.
A Fine of Up To $10,000
The judge may also order you to pay a fine of up to $10,000. This does not include any restitution the court may order for your victim.
A Requirement That You Register As a Sex Offender
If you are convicted, you must register as a sex offender. This means that the court will enter your name and address into an online database available to law enforcement officials throughout the state. You must also update this information if you move from one county to another.
Pay Restitution To The Victim
The court may order you to pay restitution to your victim. The victim will use this money to pay for any medical treatment or counseling they received due to your actions.
If convicted of sexual assault, you may receive a probation sentence. This means that the court puts off sentencing and instead allows you to remain free as long you comply with certain conditions. These conditions include not committing another crime and seeking treatment for mental health issues. If you violate probation, you can be sent to prison.
How a Criminal Defense Can Help You Fight Your Charges
A Plano criminal defense attorney can help you fight your charges by gathering evidence to show your innocence. The attorney may also question the prosecution’s evidence and witnesses, challenge the legality of any search warrants issued, and argue that the police violated your rights during their investigation.
If the alleged victim has lied or been untruthful about certain facts related to the crime, an attorney can use that information to get charges dismissed or reduced. For instance, your attorney may argue that:
- You did not have sexual contact with the alleged victim
- The alleged victim consented to intercourse
- The prosecutor obtained the evidence against you illegally (for example, police searched an apartment without a warrant)
The type of your sexual offense case in Texas will determine your case’s outcome and consequences. For example, a conviction for sexual assault of a child will result in harsher penalties than an indecent exposure charge. A conviction for indecency with a child can result in lifetime registration as a sex offender and mandatory counseling.
Your criminal defense lawyer can help you determine which defenses are most appropriate to your case, fight for your rights at trial, or resolve the issue through plea bargains or negotiations with prosecutors.
Kent Starr, Plano TX Defense Attorney, is Here to Help You
Suppose you’re facing charges of sexual assault, child abuse, or indecency with a child. In that case, getting an experienced Plano TX defense lawyer on your side is important as soon as possible. An experienced lawyer can help guide you through the process and provide legal representation to protect your rights.
Kent Starr, Plano, TX defense lawyer, has years of experience helping clients fight for their rights. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation and learn how we can help you.