Defend Yourself Against Serious Allegations of Sex Crimes in Houston and Throughout Texas
Effective September 1, 2013, thanks to the 83rd Regular Session of the Texas Legislature, Article 38.37 was amended to allow prosecutors to introduce into evidence during its case in chief evidence of a defendant’s prior sexual misconduct with other children. The amendment was hailed as a “powerful tool” in child sexual assault prosecutions.
This amendment reflects the aggressive nature the State of Texas exhibits when it comes to prosecuting sex crimes, especially those involving underage children. Texas has twenty-one major felony sex crimes on its books. Some of these offenses, like public lewdness and indecent exposure, are misdemeanors, a conviction of which can result six months to 1 year in a county jail; others, like aggravated sexual assault and continuous sexual assault of a child or children, are felonies, a conviction of which can result in a minimum sentence of five or 25 years to a maximum of 99 years or life imprisonment in a state penal facility. These offenses are listed in the Texas Penal Code as:
- 15.031 – Criminal Solicitation of a Minor (a person under age 17)
- 20.04 – Aggravated Kidnapping [second degree felony]
- 21.02 – Continuous Sexual Assault of a Child or Children [first degree felony]
- 21.06 – Public Lewdness [Class A misdemeanor]
- 21.08 – Indecent Exposure [Class B misdemeanor]
- 21.11 – Indecency with a Child (a person under age 17) [third degree felony]
- 21.12 – Improper Relationship Between Educator and Student [second degree felony]
- 21.15 – Improper Photography or Visual Recording [state jail felony]
- 21.011 – Sexual Assault [second degree felony]
- 22.021 – Aggravated Sexual Assault [first degree felony]
- 25.02 – Prohibited Sexual Conduct [third degree felony]
- 43.02 – Prostitution [state jail felony]
- 43.03 – Promotion of Prostitution [Class A misdemeanor]
- 43.04 – Aggravated Promotion of Prostitution [third degree felony]
- 43.05 – Compelling Prostitution [second degree felony]
- 43.22 – Obscene Display or Distribution [Class C misdemeanor]
- 43.23 – Obscenity [state jail felony OR third degree felony]
- 43.24 – Sale, Distribution, or Display of Harmful Material to Minor (person under age 18) [Class A misdemeanor OR third degree felony]
- 43.25 – Sexual Performance by a Child [second degree OR third degree felony]
- 43.251 – Employment Harmful to Children [Class misdemeanor]
- 43.26 – Possession or Promotion of Child Pornography [second degree felony]
Punishments for sex offenses under the Texas Penal Code are:
- 12.21 – Class A misdemeanor [fine and/or up to 1 year in jail]
- 12.22 – Class B misdemeanor [fine and/or up to 180 days in jail]
- 12.23 – Class C misdemeanor [fine not to exceed $500]
- 12.32 – First degree felony [fine and/or minimum 5 and 25 to 99 years or life]
- 12.33 – Second degree felony [fine and/or minimum 2 to 20 years]
- 12.34 – Third degree felony [fine and/or minimum 2 to 10 years]
- 12.35 – State jail felony [180 days to 2 years]
It is estimated that there are between 100,000 to 300,000 prostituted children in the U.S., and that roughly a quarter of a million of American minors are at risk of sexual exploitation, especially among the ranks of runaways. A lion’s share of these sexually exploited minors reside in Texas. These bare statistics reflect why Texas lawmakers and prosecutors aggressively pursue sex crimes violations.
As of June 2018, the Texas prison system housed more than 141,000 inmates with roughly 27,500 of those being convicted of two categories of child sex offenses: aggravated sexual assault of a child and indecency with a child. It is estimated that anywhere from 3 to 5 percent of imprisoned felons were wrongfully convicted, with the highest percentage being among the ranks of sex offenders. 2016 data shows that the State had to pay out more than $93.6 million over the past 25 years to more than 100 people wrongfully convicted in Texas courtrooms.
Being charged with a sex offense in Texas, especially with a child sex offense, is the most horrific experience an individual can face. It only takes the word of the victim to send a person to prison for most, or even the rest, of their life. Families, careers, and friends are often lost before the case ever sees the inside of a courtroom.
If you find yourself being investigated and ultimately charged with a Texas sex offense, you should not speak to the police and you should reach out to an experienced attorney who has represented these kinds of cases. Your attorney must be as aggressive as the prosecutor trying to send you to prison and destroy your life.