Texas takes sexual assault charges very seriously. Under Texas Penal Code section 22.011, sexual assault is defined as a non-consensual, and unwanted act of sexual contact against another person that involves penetration.
Depending on the specific situation, sex crimes can be classified as either first or second-degree felonies. In Texas, punishment for a first-degree felony, including rape, can result in up to 99 years to life in prison as well as hefty fines of up to $10,000. In addition to the legal consequences, a rape accusation can come with many personal consequences and cause a lot of damage to your reputation and personal relationships, so it is not an accusation to be taken lightly.
What constitutes sexual assault?
The main issue when it comes to sexual assault cases is proving whether or not there was consent. Texas classifies consent in several different ways. A sexual act is considered non-consensual if:
A sexual assault charge may be changed to an aggravated sexual assault charge if:
Many cases of sexual assault can be prosecuted based solely on the word of the alleged victim despite there being little or no physical evidence that supports the accusation. Texas has laws that provide important defenses against false allegations of sexual assault when there is insufficient evidence.
Even if you are not guilty of committing sexual assault, many times, just by being accused, there is a lot of damage done. A sexual assault accusation can cause a lot of distress as well as consequences that aren’t the result of a legal battle. You may face public backlash, risk of losing your job or being ostracized by friends, family, or your community. It can be very challenging to regain a positive reputation after being accused of sexual assault. For this reason, it’s imperative to get the best legal advice possible to help you get your life back on track.
If you are being accused of sexual assault in Houston, Texas, don’t rely on internet advice to make a legal decision that could impact your future. It’s crucial to reach out to a qualified attorney who can help guide you through your situation and help you achieve the best possible outcome. Christopher T. Gore has experience handling sexual assault cases in Houston, Texas, and is here to help you move forward. Contact his office for a consultation and learn more about how he can help you.