Sexual assault is a serious offense in Texas, and those who face charges are looking at severe penalties if convicted. If you or a loved one is charged with violating Texas Penal Code Ch 22.011 – Sexual Assault, our defense team will review your case and determine if our firm can defend you against these charges. Securing legal representation promptly is one of the most important steps you can take for your future right now.
A sexual assault conviction is damaging, and its devastating consequences can change your life forever. For example, you will have to register as a convicted sex offender in Texas. The legal team at Law Offices of Randall B. Isenberg represents clients in all kinds of sex crime cases. You can discuss your case with us today during a free and confidential consultation.
How Texas Law Defines Sexual Assault
Sexual assault involves more than just rape, even though rape is usually what comes to mind when sexual assault is mentioned. As defined in Texas Penal Code Ch 22.011, sexual assault includes:
- Intercourse and penetration without consent
- Sexual abuse of an individual who cannot give their consent due to a disability or diminished mental capacity
- Intercourse, penetration, or sexual contact with a minor (The law defines a minor as any person under age 17.)
- Forcible and violent intercourse, penetration, or sexual contact, regardless of whether consent is given
- Coercive sexual acts
In Texas, if a defendant used or threatened physical violence to control the victim, or the victim was unable to resist the sexual act, the law considers this lack of consent. In addition, if the defendant is in a place of power or charged with taking care of the individual they are accused of sexually assaulting, Texas considers the victim unable to consent. Individuals in such positions of power include health care providers, clergypersons, public servants, and employees of a facility, such as a nursing home where the victim lives.
Defining Aggravated Sexual Assault
Sexual assault becomes aggravated sexual assault if any of the following occur:
- The defendant attempted to cause, or caused, serious bodily injury or death to the victim.
- The defendant placed the victim in fear of losing their life, being kidnapped, or suffering severe bodily injury.
- The defendant used a deadly weapon.
- The defendant committed the assault with another person.
- The defendant used a “date rape” drug such as Rohypnol or ketamine to incapacitate the victim.
- The victim is younger than 14 years old.
- The victim is disabled or elderly.
Sexual Assault Penalties in Texas
A sexual assault is generally a second-degree felony unless there are aggravating circumstances, such as the ones mentioned above. A second-degree felony carries a charge from 2 to 20 years in state prison and/ or a fine up to $10,000.
Aggravated sexual assault is a first-degree felony. If the charge is elevated to a first-degree felony, the defendant faces 5 to 99 years in state prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000.
For example, the minimum prison sentence for someone convicted of sexual assault of a minor under 6 years old is 25 years. This sentence also applies for sexual assault with a weapon against a child if severe injury or death results.
A Sexual Assault Defense Attorney from Our Firm Could Represent You
Attorney Randall B. Isenberg understands the seriousness of a sexual assault charge. He also knows how to protect his clients’ rights when managing cases involving complex legal matters.
Attorney Isenberg is a former state district trial judge and senior chief felony prosecutor who knows his way around a courtroom. He served on both sides of the bench and has been a legal professional for more than 30 years. He believes every client deserves to have the facts in their case heard and get their day in court.
Our sexual assault attorneys will immediately go to work on your case once you become our client. We will review the prosecution’s case against you, and any evidence presented. Among the pieces of evidence we will examine in your case is the police report or information report – a sexual assault survivor has a legal right to make either.
We Will Represent You in All Legal Proceedings
Our team will meet with authorities, including the police, on your behalf or be there with you when you talk with them. It is important to keep a low profile and watch what you say and do. Anything you say to the authorities can and will be used against you, even if the allegations you face are false – this is why we advise our clients to leave the talking to us.
Our legal team will also ensure you understand every phase of the legal process, how it works, and what it means for your case. Our other services include:
- Collecting and reviewing evidence that supports your case (e.g., witness testimony)
- Identifying any errors authorities made during their investigation or your arrest
- Looking for weaknesses in the prosecution’s case
- Building your defense and preparing it for the judge and jury
- Working diligently to get your charges dropped, reduced, or dismissed
- Updating you regularly on all developments in your case
- Keeping in touch with you and answering your questions and concerns
Possible Defenses to a Sexual Assault Charge in Texas
If you have been accused of sexual assault in the United States, you still have rights under the law and are innocent until proven guilty. You also have the right to reasonable bail. When setting bail, the courts consider the victim and community’s future safety, as well as the circumstances of the assault. While bail must be high enough to ensure defendants appear in court, it cannot be used as a form of punishment.
Our defense attorneys will know what to do to give you a chance at an acquittal or reduced charges and penalties. As serious as a sexual assault charge is, defendants have a legal right to defend themselves with the help of an attorney.
The following are defenses that our firm could use in a client’s case:
- The defendant did not intend to cause harm.
- The victim gave consent.
- The defendant was providing medical care to the child, and no contact or penetration of the mouth, anus, or sexual organ of either party occurred.
- The defendant was married to the child.
- The defendant was not more than 3 years older than the victim, and the victim was 14 years old or older and not prohibited from marrying the defendant.
- The defendant was insane.
- The defendant has an alibi—an explanation of their whereabouts—which differs from the location and time the crime occurred.
Misidentification is another defense one could provide if there is evidence to support it. The burden of proof lies on the prosecution, and we will be ready to challenge the case against you with supporting evidence.
Jail Time Is Not Mandatory for Some Sexual Assault Charges
Nonconsensual sexual contact involving an adult without penetration or physical injuries falls under Texas Penal Code Section 22.01(a)(3). This offense is known as assault – offensive contact.
The law specifies that a person can commit assault if they “intentionally or knowingly cause physical contact with another person when the person knows or should reasonably believe the other will regard contact as offensive or provocative.” This is a Class C misdemeanor that is punishable by a fine of up to $500.
There is a 2-year statute of limitations to file a charge, and no prison time is involved. However, the same conduct with a child younger than age 17 classifies as a second-degree felony with no limitations on when the victim must file.
The state prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you committed the assault, which is a difficult burden of proof. If you have been arrested on a sexual assault or rape charge, you deserve to have an attorney on your side who can serve as a legal advocate and knows how to manage the case.
Call Us Today for a Free, Confidential Consultation
A sexual assault charge in Texas is serious. If you face such a charge, consider hiring a legal advocate to look out for your interests and help you take on this legal battle. Our Texas sexual assault lawyers are ready to hear your side of the story and discuss how we can help.
When you choose our firm, we will walk you through the steps necessary to defend yourself against this charge and the legal options available to you. Call Law Offices of Randall B. Isenberg at (214) 696-9253 today for a free case review.