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What Is the Legal Definition of Sexual Penetration?

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A good number of sex crimes listed in the Texas Penal Code require penetration to occur before they are considered an offense. Therefore, it’s important for anyone who is accused of one of these crimes to know what the law says about penetration.

Definition of Penetration

According to Black’s Law Dictionary, penetration is defined as “the insertion of the male part into the female parts to however slight an extent; and by which insertion the offense is complete without proof of emission.”

The Texas Penal Code also makes sexual intercourse an element of certain crimes. Sexual intercourse is defined under Texas law as being a penetration of the female sex organ by the male sex organ.

Clarifications

These two definitions would make it appear as though the only criminal acts possible would occur whenever there is a penetration of the vagina by a penis. However, that’s not the case, as Section 22.011 of the Texas Penal Code also defines sexual assault as happening whenever a person intentionally or knowingly:

  • Causes the penetration of the anus or sexual organ of another person by any means, without that person’s consent;
  • Causes the penetration of the mouth of another person by the sexual organ of the actor without that person’s consent or
  • Causes the sexual organ of another person, without that person’s consent, to contact or penetrate the mouth, anus, or sexual organ of another person, including the actor; or
  • Causes the penetration of the anus or sexual organ of a child by any means;
  • Causes the penetration of the mouth of a child by the sexual organ of the actor;
  • Causes the sexual organ of a child to contact or penetrate the mouth, anus, or sexual organ of another person, including the actor;
  • Causes the anus of a child to contact the mouth, anus, or sexual organ of another person, including the actor; or
  • Causes the mouth of a child to contact the anus or sexual organ of another person, including the actor.

From this extended definition, it’s easy to see that penetration may occur vaginally, orally or anally. As such, penetration can occur between male/female, male/male, female/male or female/female.

A number of crimes include the element of “deviate sexual intercourse”, which involves “any contact between the genitals of one person and the mouth or anus of another person.” This means that penetration does not actually have to occur before certain crimes are committed.

Consequences

Upon determining that penetration occurred, an individual could be charged with one of the following crimes, depending upon the nature of the incident:

These acts are typically charged as felonies, and can involve punishments that include:

  • Extensive jail time
  • Rehabilitation/sex offender counseling
  • Sex offender registry
  • Fines of up to $10,000

Individuals who are found guilty may also face the revocation of a professional license, or be permanently barred from practicing certain occupations. After serving jail time, there may be serious restrictions imposed on where a person may live or work, in addition to the social stigma associated with being a registered sex offender.

Consent

When both parties are adults, penetration is only a crime when there is a lack of consent. As such, it might be necessary for defendants to show consent occurred in order to have charges reduced. A few things are normally looked at to determine consent, including:

  • The nature of the relationship between the parties
  • Whether or not there is an ulterior motive involved
  • The possibility that the victim is trying to cover an affair

Penetration can lead to a number of different charges, all of which may have devastating consequences. If you are accused of one of these crimes, contact experienced sex crimes attorney Brett Podolsky at 713.227.0087 as soon as possible.

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