Austin Sex Crime Lawyer
Punishment For Sex Crimes In Austin
Being charged with a sex crime is unlike any other charge. Not only are the statutory penalties severe, the accusation itself can have a devastating effect in every area of your life. It is imperative that you immediately talk to an Austin sex crime lawyer, even upon being questioned prior to arrest.
Law enforcement agencies and prosecutors often dedicate a large amount of resources to investigating sex crimes, especially those involving children.
Those convicted of sex crimes usually have to register as sex offenders for the rest of their lives. Your future is in the balance when charged with a sex crime in Texas. That’s why it’s important to understand what you’re facing, how the state treats these offenses, and why it’s crucial to hire the right Austin sex crime lawyer to represent you.
What is a Sex Crime in Texas?
Sex crimes in Texas cover a variety of different offenses, ranging from fine-only offenses to first-degree felonies that can carry a punishment up to 99 years in prison. These offenses include:
- Indecent Exposure
- Unlawful Electronic Transmission of Sexually Explicit Visual Material
- Public Lewdness
- Prohibited Sexual Conduct
- Invasive Visual Recording
- Possession or Promotion of Child Pornography
- Indecency with a Child
- Prostitution and Solicitation
- Compelling or Promoting Prostitution
- Improper Relationship Between an Educator and Student
- Failure to Register as a Sex Offender
- Trafficking of Person
- Online Solicitation of a Minor
- Sexual Performance by a Child
- Aggravated Kidnapping
- Sexual Assault
- Continuous Sexual Abuse of a Child
- Continuous Sexual Assault
- Aggravated Sexual Assault
Some of these Texas sex crimes also have federal equivalents, especially those dealing with Internet, children, and trafficking. This means that you can be pursued by either state or federal prosecutors for the same offense.
If you have been arrested…
Your FREEDOM is potentially at stake. A conviction can have a huge impact on your job, relationships, and your future. You need to act fast.
Punishment and Consequences of Texas Sex Crimes
Sex crimes in Texas carry some of the most severe punishments under the law and most start out as felonies. Below is a list of how sex crimes are punished in Texas. Please note that these offenses listed may have aggravating or mitigating circumstances that can enhance or reduce the punishment.
|Class C Misdemeanor||Up to a $500 in fines||Unlawful Electronic Transmission of Sexually Explicit Visual Material|
|Class B Misdemeanor||Up to 180 days in jail and $2,000 in fines||Indecent Exposure|
|Class A Misdemeanor||Up to 1 year in jail and $4,000 in fines||Public Lewdness; Indecent Assault; Prostitution|
|State Jail Felony||180 days to 2 years in jail and $10,000 in fines||Obscenity; Sexual Coercion; Unlawful Disclosure of Intimate Visual Material|
|Third Degree Felony||2 to 10 years in prison and $10,000 in fines||Indecency with a Child; Promotion of Prostitution; Possession or Promotion of Child Pornography; Prohibited Sexual Conduct; Online Solicitation of a Minor|
|Second Degree Felony||2 to 20 years in prison and $10,000 in fines||Sexual Assault|
|First Degree Felony||5 to 99 years in prison and $10,000 in fines||Continuous Sexual Abuse of a Young Child or Children; Aggravated Sexual Assault|
Sex Offender Registration
Aside from facing serious prison time and fines, most sex crimes require you to register as a sex offender with the local law enforcement authority where you reside for more than 7 days following your conviction or adjudication. You are required to provide the following information:
- Full name, date of birth, sex, race, height, eye color, hair color, social security number, driver license number, shoe size, address, recent color photo, fingerprints, type of offense, age of the victim, licenses held, and vehicle registration information.
Generally, registration starts at 10 years; however, it can last indefinitely. Failure to register is a crime that starts as a state jail felony.
If you have to register as a sex offender in Texas, you are prohibited from working:
- as a bus driver;
- providing taxicab or limousine transportation services;
- any type of unsupervised service in another person’s residence; and
- operating an amusement park ride.
Aside from statutory prohibited employment, you are also likely to have trouble finding any job if convicted of a sex crime.
Difficulty Finding Housing
Some landlords run potential tenants through a criminal background check and may not feel comfortable renting to someone with a sex offense on their record. If you are a student, you will be prohibited from residing on your school’s campus without doing a risk assessment and getting permission from your school.
Must Notify Schools of Visit
If you are a registered sex offender, you have to immediately notify any public or private school or daycare of your presence on their premises and your registration status.
Frequently Asked Questions About Texas Sex Crimes
Are There Restrictions on Where I Can Live if I’m a Sex Offender?
A lot of people might think that they aren’t allowed to live within a certain distance from a school or similar place as a registered sex offender. In Texas, this is not true unless your probation or parole officer imposes that restriction on you.
What is the Age of Consent in Texas?
An adult cannot engage in sexual activity with someone under the age of consent without the risk of being prosecuted for a sex crime. The age of consent in Texas is 17. However, Texas and other states have “Romeo and Juliet” laws to address situations where teens date young adults. The younger party must be at least 14 and there cannot be more than a 3-year age gap between the couple in order for the “Romeo and Juliet” protections to apply.
Is There a Statute of Limitations on Sex Crimes?
A statute of limitations is essentially the expiration date for prosecutors to charge you with a crime. If that time has passed, you can no longer be charged with that crime. The statute of limitations for Texas sex crimes depends on the alleged crime. Misdemeanor sex crimes must be brought within two years from the date of alleged commission. Felonies start at two years and serious felonies, such as continuous sexual abuse of a young child, have no statute of limitations.
There is Hope. Call an Austin Sex Crime Lawyer Today
Sex crime allegations are serious and can have lifelong consequences. But that doesn’t mean you can’t fight back. It’s not unusual for a sex crime to be based on a false allegation from a single witness or for there to otherwise be very little evidence against you. The team at Stephen T. Bowling DWI & Criminal Defense Attorneys has experience successfully representing those accused of sex crimes in Texas. Call us today for a free consultation with an Austin sex crime lawyer.
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