In Texas, Statutory Rape is charged as Sexual Assault of a Child, a serious felony offense. If convicted as an adult, the defendant is required to register as a sex offender for life. If the alleged child victim is between 14 to 16 years of age, the crime is a second degree felony and punishable by 2 to 20 years in prison for each count in the indictment. If the alleged child victim is under 14 years of age, the crime is a first degree felony and punishable by 5 to 99 years in prison for each count in the indictment.
These cases seem to be more and more common. A 23 year old male name "John" goes to a friend's house party and meets an attractive, willing woman who says she is 18 years of age. They have consensual sex in one of the bedrooms. Several days later, he learns that she is really 14 years of age and that her mother found out about it and called the police.
John now faces serious sex offense charges. There are several important legal issues to consider:
- In Texas, for purposes of the Sexual Assault of a Child and Indecency with a Child crimes, a child does not become an adult until age 17. For other sexual-related offenses, including Possession of Child Pornography and Sexual Performance of a Child, the age of an adult is 18 years.
- In Texas, it is not a defense that the accused did not know the child's real age. So, the alleged victim could have lied about her age to the accused and the accused will still face criminal charges.
- The alleged victim cannot legally consent to sexual relations unless the alleged victim is 14 years of age or older and there is only a 3 year or less difference between the ages of the alleged victim and the accused.
- In Texas, only one eye-witness, the alleged victim, is sufficient for conviction, so long as the jury believes the alleged victim beyond a reasonable doubt.
- In Texas, neither genital trauma nor DNA evidence is required for a conviction.
- In Texas, voluntary intoxication is not a defense. So, if the accused goes to a party, gets drunk and sleeps with an underage girl, he cannot use his intoxication as a defense to the crime of Sexual Assault of a Child.
- In Texas, each separate sexual act can be separately charged within one indictment and, if there is a conviction, each Count can be stacked or served consecutively.
With these types of sexual offenses, there are many other legal issues involved. If a person is charged with sexual assault of a child, possession of child pornography or any type of sex offense, it is important to retain a criminal defense attorney who is experienced defending Texas sex offenses.
Jim Sullivan and Associates are Houston Criminal Defense and Houston Juvenile Defense Attorney with over 40 combined years of defense experience. Jim Sullivan is also board certified in Juvenile Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. Juvenile Law is different than criminal law (see Juvenile Crime). Note: Among the more than 83,000 active lawyers in Texas, there are only 38 lawyers Board Certified in Juvenile Law in private practice. You can call Jim Sullivan and Associates right now at 281-546-6428.
Attorney Jim Sullivan has been very successful in getting Sexual Assault of a Child cases No Billed (dismissed) by the Grand Jury. In just the past three years, Sullivan has fought these cases and prevailed in 5 such cases in Harris County as detailed below. When a case is No Billed by the Grand Jury, the accused has the right to immediately seek an expunction of his criminal record. Because prosecutors generally seek to present the case to the Grand Jury between the first and setting court setting, it is extremely important to hire a defense attorney right away. Unless a defense attorney requests that the prosecutor hold the case from the Grand Jury in order to prepare a defense packet, the prosecutor will seek an indictment from the Grand Jury.
Once an accused is indicted, this option is no longer available. If found guilty by a jury or if placed on deferred adjudication probation for this type of offense, the accused would be required to register as a sex offender for life. Time is of the essence in retaining a knowledgeable defense attorney.
|DATE||CASE #||CT #||TEXAS CRIMINAL OFFENSE||ACTUAL RESULT|
|04/19/12||1332791||185th||SEXUAL ASSAULT OF A CHILD (2° Felony)||NO BILLED BY GRAND JURY (Client accused of having consensual sex with underage girl he met on online after she falsely claimed that she was 18)|
|12/03/10||1283460||232nd||SEXUAL ASSAULT OF A CHILD (2° Felony)||NO BILLED BY GRAND JURY (Client accused of consensual sex with underage female)|
|08/24/10||1264919||232ND||SEXUAL ASSAULT OF A CHILD (2° Felony)||NO BILLED BY GRAND JURY (Client accused of consensual sex with underage female)|
|04/28/10||1220515||179TH||SEXUAL ASSAULT OF A CHILD (2° Felony)||DISMISSED BY STATE PRIOR TO TRIAL SETTING (Client accused of committing sexual assault against a young relative)|
|11/23/09||1231727||179TH||SEXUAL ASSAULT OF A CHILD (2° Felony)||NO BILLED BY GRAND JURY (Client accused of consensual sex with underage female)|