Like most states, Texas takes a hard stance against sexually-motivated crimes by punishing offenders with harsh prison sentences and other undesirable consequences.
The two (2) main Texas statutes prohibiting improper sexual contact and unlawful sexual acts are:
“Sexual assault” is a very broad term that encompasses a number of prohibited sexual acts. All of the prohibited acts require the individual charged with sexual assault (the “defendant”) to have committed a prohibited act “intentionally” or “knowingly.” These are terms defined by other statutes, but generally require the defendant to be aware of and intend to commit the prohibited sexual act.
Sexual Assault in Texas includes:
A person does not have to scream or fight off the defendant in order to be found not to have given consent. In fact, consent will not be found in a number of situations, including where:
A sexual assault (as defined above) becomes an aggravated sexual assault if any of the following conditions apply during the commission of the sexual assault:
Penalties for sexual assault and aggravated sexual assault in Texas are severe and can include prison as well as other burdensome requirements.
A person faces a minimum of 25 years in prison if the victim was under the age of 6 years old, or if the victim was under the age of 14 years old and threatened with violence.
Not only this, but a conviction for sexual assault or aggravated sexual assault will result in registration requirements. A defendant convicted of either of these offenses must register as a sexual offender, usually for the remainder of his or her life.
This requirement would follow the offender wherever he or she moved. These registration lists are made public, which may cause the defendant’s reputation in the community to suffer.
Defendants charged with sexual assault or aggravated sexual assault may find that there are few defenses available to them. Consent is the primary defense to these types of charges. Except in cases of a minor child (any child under the age of 17 years old), a voluntary and consensual sexual encounter will not give rise of a charge of sexual assault.
The law does not punish a defendant whose sexual partner freely and voluntarily engaged in a sexual act but then later regretted that act. To establish consent, a number of facts will be relevant including: