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Houston Sexual Assault Defense Lawyer

What Crimes are Considered Sexual Assault?

Rape, referred to in Texas statutes as “sexual assault,” is considered by Texas law to be an especially heinous crime, which exposes the accused to extremely severe penalties, some of which last a lifetime. The Texas Penal Code defines sexual assault as:

  • Sexual intercourse or sexual penetration without the victim’s consent.
  • Sexual activity involving a person incapable of consenting to it because of mental incapacity or disability.
  • Sexual intercourse, penetration, or other sexual contacts with a minor under the age of 17, even if consensual (“statutory rape”).
  • Forcible and violent sexual intercourse, penetration, or contact, regardless of consent.
  • Coercion of someone to perform or submit to sexual acts.
  • Sexual acts with a person over whom the accused is in a position of power or for whose care the accused is responsible, such as a teacher, healthcare provider, member of the clergy, staff of a residence where the victim lives, police officer, or other public servants.

Can My Charges Be Elevated?

In addition, your rape charge may be elevated to “aggravated sexual assault” under certain circumstances delineated in the state’s law:

  • If the victim was seriously injured or killed.
  • If you are being accused of causing the victim to fear serious bodily injury, death, or kidnapping of the victim or another person.
  • If you are being accused of using or exhibiting a deadly weapon during the assault.
  • If the victim was given a “date rape drug,” such as Rohypnol (roofies) or ketamine.
  • If the victim was under 14 years of age.
  • If the victim was elderly or disabled.

Penalties in Texas for Sexual Assault & Rape Accusations

A charge of non-aggravated sexual assault, a second-degree felony, exposes you to a potential sentence of anywhere from two to twenty years in a Texas prison, along with a fine of as much as $10,000.00. This carries a sentence of two to twenty years in state prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000.

Aggravated assault (defined above), is a first-degree felony, which can result in your being sentenced from five to ninety-nine years in prison. For certain aggravated sexual assault offenses, Texas law requires a minimum prison sentence of 25 years:

  • If the victim was younger than age six when the assault was committed.
  • If the victim was younger than age 14 and a deadly weapon was used or exhibited.
  • If the child was seriously injured.
  • If it is shown that you tried to kill the child.
  • If you drugged the child to facilitate the sexual assault.

If you were accused of these charges, don’t hesitate to call a Houston child sexual assault defense lawyer, Not only will a charge of rape threaten your freedom, potentially for a very long period of time, but it will permanently damage your reputation and cause your name, photo, address, and the nature of your charges to be available to the public and published on a registry of sexual offenders, often for the remainder of your life. (An exception is made in some cases of statutory rape involving consensual sexual relationships between young people close in age.) Your employment prospects will be seriously limited, as will your ability to obtain housing, not to mention the humiliation of being labeled as a sexual offender for life. If you have questions regarding registering for a sex offender registry, contact our Houston sex offender attorney for help.

Keep in mind that being accused of rape is not the same as being convicted. As with any crime, the Constitution requires that you are considered innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. There are defenses available that may succeed in beating the charges. Having an experienced criminal defense attorney working on your behalf can make the difference between spending many years in prison and being able to move forward in your life in freedom.

In Houston, if you have been arrested or accused of rape, don’t answer any questions by police and assert your constitutional right to counsel by calling the offices of attorney Mary E. Conn Law immediately.

Defenses to Sexual Assault Charges

The attorneys at Mary E. Conn Law have years of experience in defense of rape charges and employ defense strategies that will often result in the best possible outcome for your freedom and future options. They understand the nuances of Texas state criminal law and will plan the best strategy available considering the circumstances of the alleged crime. In some cases, they may be able to prevent prosecutors from filing charges at all; in others, they will work to have your case dismissed or the charges reduced. If necessary, they will take your case to trial to fight for a full acquittal on all charges. Mary E. Conn and her associates are seasoned trial lawyers who will never sell you out or push you into a plea bargain simply to avoid going to court. If the prosecutor’s case is less than air-tight, a strong defense can create the reasonable doubt of your innocence in the minds of the jurors that could result in a “not guilty” verdict.

These are some of the possible defenses that might be used in your case, depending upon the circumstances:

  • The police had no probable cause to arrest you for the crime.
  • Evidence against you was obtained illegally.
  • You were wrongly identified as the rapist;
  • You could not have committed the assault because you were elsewhere, i.e., you have an alibi;
  • DNA evidence shows that you were not the person responsible for the crime.
  • The alleged assault was in the course of providing medical care for a child, and there was no contact or penetration of the child’s mouth, anus, or sexual organ by your mouth, anus, or sexual organ.
  • The alleged victim consented to the sexual act;
  • You were insane or mentally incapacitated;
  • You lacked the intent to commit the crime

If the alleged victim was a minor:

  • You were legally married to the child.
  • You were no more than three years older than the child, and the child was at least 14 years of age and not prohibited from marrying you at the time the alleged offense took place.

Protect Your Freedom, Your Reputation, and Your Future

If you or someone close to you has been accused of sexual assault, it is important to contact a Houston sex crimes defense lawyer immediately. You may be offered the services of a public defender, but it’s best to do whatever is necessary to obtain your own private counsel. Public defenders are notoriously overloaded with cases and simply can’t give your situation the focused attention required to achieve the best outcome.

At the law offices of Houston, Texas, criminal defense attorney Mary E. Conn, you will have the advantage of more than thirty years of successful criminal defense experience. Mary E. Conn is a top-rated Texas criminal defense attorney, with the highest possible ratings by Martindale-Hubbell (AV Preeminent) and AVVO (10 of a possible 10).

At Mary E. Conn Law, we treat every client with the respect they deserve. We are committed to giving each client the best defense available under the law and pride ourselves in protecting those whom we represent from violations of their legal rights while minimizing or omitting penalties in many cases. If you have been arrested or questioned or are concerned that you may be accused of sexual assault, waste no time bringing our attorneys on board. Call today for your free consultation. The sooner we start advocating for you, the better the odds that you will beat the charges or obtain a less severe penalty.

During the COVID-19 crisis, Mary Conn Law is working and available to discuss your case with you. Contact us today.