Types of Sex Crimes in Texas
A sex crime is a certain type of criminal offense that includes some sexual component. This sexual component usually involves a crime that involves the sexual act or which involves the sexual organs or genitals of the offender or the victim. In Texas, sex crimes are considered extremely serious. As a result, the punishments for these crimes can be very severe.
There are many different sex crimes that are defined by Texas law. Separating these crimes into distinct categories can make it easier to understand the penalty ranges for these types of offenses.
Categories of Sex Crimes
There are four main categories of sexual offenses described under Texas law. Although these categories are not legally binding or officially established, they can be grouped together based on their definitions. Because all sex-based offenses involve some type of sexual activity, there is some overlap between these groups. However, they are distinguished based on the nature and severity of the actions involved in each offense.
These four groups are:
- Assault offenses
- Offenses involving children or protected individuals
- Statutory offenses
- Offenses involving content, pornography or vulgar displays.
Assault offenses are among the most serious sex crimes. This category covers crimes like sexual assault, or rape, and sexual assault involving the use of weapons or deadly force.
Offenses involving children can include sexual assault of a child, child pornography or sexual exploitation of a minor. Sexual assault of disabled or elderly individuals also falls into this category.
Statutory offense are sex crimes that are perpetrated against people who are too young to legally give consent. For example, an adult who has sex with a minor may be guilty of statutory rape, even if the minor agreed to the sexual activity.
The final category includes crimes such as distributing pornography to minors, sharing sexual images of people without their consent or vulgar displays, such as public indecency or indecent exposure.
The penalties for sex crimes are based on the severity of the offense, the age or status of the victim, the defendant’s criminal history and the use of weapons or deadly force during the commission of the crime.
Penalties for assault crimes are typically among the most severe. For example:
- A conviction for sexual assault is a second degree felony, punishable by two to 20 years in prison.
- A conviction for aggravated sexual assault which involves serious bodily injury to the victim is a first degree felony, punishable by five to 99 years in prison.
Sex crimes involving children are also met with harsh punishments. For example:
- Authorizing or causing a child to engage in sexual activity is a second degree felony, punishable by two to 20 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
- Soliciting a child for sexual activity online is a third degree felony, punishable by two to 10 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
Statutory offense have the potential for very serious legal repercussions. For example:
- Indecency with a child is a second degree felony in Texas, punishable by two or up to 20 years in prison.
Sex crimes which involve having sex in public, “flashing” or indecent exposure are punished harshly. For example:
- A conviction for indecent exposure is a Class B misdemeanor, punishable by up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $2000.
In addition to incarceration and steep fines, some of these crimes can be punished by ordering the defendant to undergo mandatory sex offender registration for the rest of their life.
A conviction for a sexually based offense can be extremely damaging for a defendant. Not only will that defendant have to deal with incarceration and fines, they may also face public shame and lose the ability to have certain jobs or careers. To fight against these penalties, it’s important to consult with an experienced defense attorney.
The best way to fight these charges is to use solid evidence in a court of law. If a defense attorney can use evidence and logical arguments to show a jury that the charges against the defendant are false, the charges may be dropped and the defendant may be allowed to go free.
If you or someone you know has been charged with a sex crime in Texas, you should contact a skilled attorney as soon as possible. Brett Podolsky is a tough, experienced lawyer who can help protect your rights in the legal system. Contact his office today at 713-227-0087.