Sexual Crimes & Offenses
If someone has accused you of a committing a sex crime in Texas you need to contact a San Antonio Criminal Defense Attorney as soon as possible. If someone has accused you of committing a sex crime it is likely a detective or police officer is attempting to build a case around the allegations. Contact the Texas Sex Crime Lawyers at Rush & Gransee to determine what you need to do to protect your rights. Early intervention by a criminal defense attorney can mean the difference between having a conviction or having the case dismissed or the difference between jail and your freedom. You have legal rights and they need to be aggressively defended.
If you are contacted by an investigator or a police officer and they want to discuss something with you, the first thing you need to do is ask him what the purpose of the discussion or interview is. Upon learning the purpose, tell the investigator that you want to talk to him; however because of the seriousness of the allegations you need to talk to a lawyer first. Tell the officer you will call him back shortly. Immediately contact a Texas Criminal Defense Attorney to discuss your rights and options. Do not talk to the investigator or police officer without first talking to a criminal defense attorney. A criminal defense attorney should be able to describe your rights, obligations and options and what action should be taken to protect you or other family members. You need to talk to a sex crime lawyer prior to talking to friends, family or even the clergy. The desire to talk to someone about the allegations will be strong. Talking to anyone needs to be avoided until you talk to an attorney.
The police officer will often tell you they only want to get your side of the allegations and that you will not be arrested. The officer by not placing you under arrest has eliminated the requirement that he inform you of your rights. Also, by making it appear as though he has not formed an opinion as to your guilt he is hoping that you will freely discuss matters that you have no requirement to disclose. Often an arrest warrant is prepared days after an accused has talked to a detective investigating a sex crime.
Public Lewdness requires sexual contact in a public place or if it is done while in a private location and you are not careful to make sure that someone is not present that will find the activity offensive. The sexual acts that are prohibited are listed or described in the Texas Penal Code.
Public Lewdness is in the Texas Penal Code under Section 21.07. Public Lewdness in Texas is a Class A misdemeanor. A class A misdemeanor can result in up to a $4000.00 fine and one year in jail. Courts will often grant someone deferred adjudication or probation if they have a clean record. However, a conviction will be on your record for the rest of your life.
Various defenses can be raised. Occasionally a motion to quash the charging instrument will result in the case being dismissed. However, the State can and often will re-file the case. Procedurally the motion to quash will make the case more difficult for the state to prove.
Indecent Exposure is not just exposing a part of someones naked body. Indecent exposure takes more than just a momentary exposing of ones naked body parts. Urinating in a public pace is not enough to constute indecent exposure. Indecent exposure in Texas requires that the exposure occurs with the intent of sexual arousal. Furthermore, the accused has to be at least reckless in the exposing of the body part. It may negate criminal culpability if a reasonable effort was made to determine that no one was present that would be offended. Indecent exposure is a class B misdemeanor unless the exposure involved a child younger than 17.
Punishment for Indecent exposure has a couple of issues that need to be addressed with anyone accused of the crime. A second charge of indecent exposure can be enhanced to a felony even if the first indecent exposure resulted in a deferred adjudication that was successfully completed and the case dismissed. Normally, a successfully completed deferred adjudication would result in a complete dismissal; however, a second charge of indecent exposure effectively resurrects the old indecent exposure. A successfully completed deferred adjudication for indecent exposure cannot be sealed (obtaining an order of nondisclosure) until two years have passed from the date of dismissal following the deferred adjudication.
Indecency with a Child is a felony offense that can be committed various ways in Texas. If an exposure of ones sexual body parts is committed knowing that a person younger than 17 is present the offense is a third degree felony and is categorized as indecency with a child. Alternatively, if a person has sexual contact with a child or causes the child to engage in any sexual contact it is also considered indecency with a child; however, it is a second degree felony.
Indecency with a child allegations often surface during divorce and custody battles. In some cases one of the parents may be the source of the false outcry. In other cases the child may be punishing the adult for some perceived injustice. It is often advantageous to obtain the child’s school records to determine whether she has made false accusations in the past also to show that the childs grades did not suffer after the alleged incident.
The prohibited contact with a child does not require touching skin. It is sufficient that the sexual contact be over the clothes.
There is a very limited defense to indecency with a child and it only applies when the accused and victim are within three years of age and there was no force or duress. Consent alone is not a defense to indecency with a child; it requires many other concurrent factors.
Entering a plea bargain or being convicted of indecency with a child will require registration as a sex offender.
Illegal Visual Recording or Photography in Texas is categorized as State Jail Felony. This is a relatively new offense that was probably enacted in response to the highly publicized cases wherein college students would tape sexual escapades and then place the material on the web to the horror of their unknowing and horrified partner. However, it does not require that the material be published if the recording is done surreptitiously and done for sexual gratification. This offense is also committed when hidden cameras are placed in dressing rooms, bedrooms or bathrooms. However, the recording has to be done to arouse or gratify the sexual desire of any person. It may be a defense if the recording was done to catch a thief or to stop some other legal activity.
Improper Relationships between Students and School Employees are illegal if they rise to the level of any sexual contact. Sexual contact does not include kissing on the lips but would include other touching of a physical nature. It is a felony of the second degree. This statute was enacted in September 2003 and has therefore very little history. Consent is not a defense and from a strict reading of the statute it doesn't appear that age can be a defense. The statute would appear to criminalize a sexual relationship between an 18 year old employee of a school district and a 19 year old high school senior.
Internet or Cyber Sex Crimes have various sub categories including possession of child pornography, criminal solicitation of a minor and online solicitation of a minor. Local Police Agencies, the Texas Attorney Generals Office, and Federal Agencies are active in ferreting out computer activity that constitutes internet sex crimes. It is possible to be prosecuted by both the United States Federal Prosecutors Office and the local County Prosecutors Office.
It is not uncommon for law enforcement officers to pretend to be minor children engaging in sexually explicit "talk" on the web. Very often the law enforcement officers will be in the chat rooms posing as a flirtatious child.
The problem with the internet chat rooms is that nearly everyone pretends to be someone else. This fantasy world leads many of the accused to honestly believe they are chatting with an adult posing as a child. This may be a defense in online solicitation cases; however, the legislature has tried to remove this as a defensive issue.
Possession of Child Pornography requires an investigation to determine whether the images were knowingly possessed and whether the search of the computer was legal. With wireless high speed internet it is likely everyone has images and other things on their hard drive that they are not aware of how or when the material appeared on their hard drive. Also, many people believe that if images are on the web and are free they are therefore legal. This is not true and many images are illegal to own and illegal to transmit.
Deleting pornographic images from a hard drive does not totally erase them and they are still subject to being found by the police department’s computer forensic team.
We normally will hire a forensic computer specialist in the defense of a child pornography case to view the hard drive. The computer forensic specialist will under our direction look for defensive issues. Also the computer specialist will also help us determine what evidence will likely be available to the state in its prosecution.
Sexual Assault can be committed various ways. The most common allegation of sexual assault involves two adults engaging in some form of sexual contact wherein one of the participants alleges there was no consent. There are numerous circumstances where consent is not a defense and telling anyone that the sexual contact was consensual is often fatal to the defense. Consent may not be available or may be limited in circumstances involving clergy, healthcare providers, those with a mental defect, public servants, school employees, and of course children.
Often defendant’s make the mistake of telling a sex crimes detective that there was some form of sexual contact but that both parties were willing participants. In some fact situations it is illegal under all circumstances to have the contact and admitting the contact will make the defense difficult and it may be necessary to prepare a defense based upon mitigation of punishment.
Sexual assault in most circumstances is a second degree felony. However, the offense becomes aggravated sexual assault if additional factors are present such as serious bodily injury, serious threats, exhibiting a deadly weapon, or if it involves a child younger than 14. Aggravated sexual assault is a first degree felony and carries very severe punishment.
Being convicted of most cases involving sexual allegations will result in a defendant registering as a sex offender. Even taking a plea bargain for deferred adjudication will result in a defendant having to register as a sex offender even though a deferred is not a conviction.