Children are not considered legally able to give consent to sexual activity. Therefore, any sexual activity between an adult and a child under 17 years of age may be considered sexual assault under the law.
Sexual assault is taken extremely seriously by the legal system and a conviction can lead to severe penalties.
Penalties for Sexual Assault
Sexual assault is a second-degree felony crime. This means that lengthy prison time, steep fines and a lifelong criminal record will be included as part of the sentencing for a sexual assault conviction.
Additional or enhanced penalties can be applied for sexual assault crimes that victimize children, the elderly or disabled persons. Some penalties can include:
- A term of confinement from two years to 20 years in a state prison
- A fine of up to $10,000
- Lifelong registration on the national sex offender database
- Five to 99 years in prison for sexual assault of a person younger than 14 or older than 65
- Five to 99 years in prison for sexual assault that results in serious bodily injury or death
Some laws have been passed recently that deal with sexual assault crimes. For example, a law was passed in Texas that targets repeated instances of sexual assault against children. If a person over age 17 sexually assaults a child under age 14 more than once in a 30-day period, that person may be charged with continuous sexual abuse of a child. This crime is punishable by 25 years to life in prison with no possibility of parole.
Another recent Texas law focuses on the abuse of very young children. In Texas, sexual assault of a person under 14 or over 65 is automatically upgraded to aggravated sexual assault. According to the Texas Penal Code, sexual assault of a child under six years of age is automatically upgraded to super aggravated sexual assault. This crime is punishable by 25 years to life in prison with no chance of parole.
Securing Your Freedom
The best way to avoid criminal charges is to hire an experienced sex crimes attorney. Having a lawyer on your side will give you an advantage in court because you will know when to speak and when to remain silent. Get on the phone today and call Brett A. Podolsky at 713.227.0087.
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