Sex crimes are serious criminal offenses that are persecuted harshly in Texas. State law allows strict, life-altering penalties for an individual who has been convicted of a sex crime. A sexual offense conviction can also limit a defendant’s employment and housing opportunities far into the future, and negatively affect their reputation.
If you are facing sex crime charges, you are probably feeling very overwhelmed. To navigate this process with ease, you should contact an experienced Texas criminal defense attorney immediately. During a difficult time such as this, The Law Office of Jackson F. Gorski can be your best resource.
Austin Sex Offenses Lawyer | Travis County, TX
If you have been arrested for a sexual offense, do not take those accusations lightly. The penalties for sex crimes are severe and can be life-altering. Austin criminal defense attorney Jackson F. Gorski has years of practice defending Texans charged with criminal offenses and can form a strong defense for your case.
Call 512-960-4646 to schedule your first consultation with The Law Office of Jackson F. Gorski as soon as possible.
Law Office of Jackson F. Gorski has offices in Austin and Georgetown but accepts clients throughout Texas including Travis County, Williamson County, Bell County, Bastrop County, Burnett County, Hays County, Caldwell County, Blanco County, Lee County, Milam County, Hays County, and Caldwell County
- Sexual Offenses in the Texas Penal Code
- Sex Crime Cases with Children
- Punishment for Sex Crimes in Texas
- Sex Offender Registration in Texas
- Collateral Consequences of a Sex Crime Conviction
- Additional Resources
There are several sex offenses that Texas law prosecutes harshly. The following are some of the most common charges:
- Indecent Exposure (Texas Penal Code §21.08): Indecent exposure occurs when a person exposes their anus or genitals with the intent to arouse or gratify sexual desire and is reckless about whether someone is present that might be offended or alarmed by the conduct. Indecent exposure is a Class B misdemeanor punishable by up to 180 days in prison and up to $2000 in fines.
- Improper Relationship Between Educator And Student (Texas Penal Code §21.12): An improper relationship between educator and student occurs when a person who works at a primary or secondary school has sexual contact with a student. Even if the student is eighteen and consents to the contact, those factors cannot be used as defenses. Improper relationship between an educator and student is a second-degree felony punished by two to twenty years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine.
- Public Lewdness (Texas Penal Code §21.07): Public lewdness is when a person has sex or sexual contact in a public place or does so without regard if another individual is present and may become offended or alarmed. Generally, this means sexual contact in public. However, depending on the circumstances, this may apply to private areas like a home or hotel room if another person witnesses that conduct. Public lewdness is a Class A misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail and a $4000 fine.
- Prostitution (Texas Penal Code §43.03): State law in Texas establishes multiple offenses relating to prostitution. A person can be charged with promotion of prostitution if he or she knowingly receives money or property in agreement to participate in prostitution proceeds or solicits someone to engage in sexual conduct with another person for compensation. Promotion of prostitution is a third degree felony. Yet, it escalates into a second degree felony if a jury has previously convicted the individual of this offense. Solicitation of prostitution is also a serious offense. If convicted, the individual can face up to two years in state jail and up to $10,000 in fines.
- Incest (Texas Penal Code §25.02): Incest occurs if an individual engages in sexual conduct with a relative through blood or adoption. If the act occurred between the individual and a parent or child, he or she may face up to twenty years behind bars and up to $10,000 in fines.
- Invasive Visual Recording (Texas Penal Code §21.15): The Penal Code defines invasive visual recording as taking a photograph, videotaping or electronically recording, broadcasting, or transmitting a visual image of another person changing in the bathroom or changing room. It is classified as as a state jail felony offense, punishable by up to 2 years in state jail and up to $10,000 in fines.
- Obscenity (Texas Penal Code §43.2): A person can be charged with obscenity, if knowing the content and the character of said material, wholesale promotes or possesses with intent to wholesale promote any obscene material or device. The offense is classified as as a state jail felony, punishable by up to 2 years in state jail and up to $10,000 in fines.
- Sexual Coercion (Texas Penal Code §21.18): An individual can be arrested for sexual coercion if he or she intentionally threatens to commit an offense so that they can obtain intimate visual material, monetary benefit, or arousal through sexual conduct.
- Marital Rape (Texas Penal Code §22.011): A person can be arrested for marital rape if or she caused the penetration of their spouse’s vagina, anus, or mouth without their spouse’s consent or caused the individual’s spouse’s sexual organs to come into contact with the individual’s mouth or sexual organs, or someone else’s mouth or sexual organs, without the individual’s spouse’s consent. The accused can serve anywhere from two to twenty years and pay up to $10,000 in fines if convicted of this sexual offense.
- Internet Sex Crimes: An Internet sex crime is any type of offense where sexual-related conduct is transmitted online or through electronic communication. The classification and penalties for Internet sex crimes in the State of Texas depend on the context of the crime and additional factors.
- Sexually Oriented Business (Texas Penal Code §102.051): A sexually oriented business (SOB) is an entertainment establishment, such as a restaurant, bar, or similar commercial enterprise, providing live nude performances and alcohol. Violating SOB laws is a Class A misdemeanor, which is punishable by up to $4,000 in fines and up to 1 year in jail.
Both federal and Texas prosecutors are extremely serious about sex crimes involving minors. You do not need to have ever engaged in any sexual activity with a child to face steep penalties.
Sex crimes involving minors can occur in a number of forms including:
- Child Pornography (Texas Penal Code §43.26): Any possession of, distribution of, or promotion of child pornography in any form—including video, images, photo, live performances—is illegal under Texas law. The penalties for child pornography depends on the specific activity and material involved. For example, distributing child pornography is categorized as a class C misdemeanor, punishable by up to $500 in fines.
- Online Solicitation of a Minor (Texas Penal Code § 33.021): A person commits online solicitation of a minor if or she contacts someone younger than sixteen years old via electronic means to establish sexual contact. It is a third-degree felony punishable by two to ten years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines if the minor was fourteen to sixteen. If the child was under fourteen, the accused could face two to twenty years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines.
- Indecency With a Child (Texas Penal Code §21.11): Indecency with the child occurs when someone has sexual contact with or causes a minor (under 16) to engage in sexual contact, with the intent to arouse or gratify his or her sexual desire. If the accused only exposes but makes no contact with the minor, it is a third-degree felony punishable by two to ten years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine. If sexual contact was made, the accused can face a second-degree felony punishable by two to twenty years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine.
- Sexual Assault of a Child (Texas Penal Code §22.011): Sexual assault of a child involves any sexual activity with a person under 17 years of age. The crime is classified as a first-degree felony punishable by five to 99 years in prison or life and up to $10,000 in fines.
- Aggravated Sexual Assault of a Child (Texas Penal Code §22.021): Sexual assault of a child occurs when the offender knows the person is fourteen ears old or younger and intentionally has sexual contact with that person. Sexual contact can involve penetration or contact with sex organs or the mouth. Sexual assault of a child is a first-degree felony punishable by five to 99 years in prison or life and up to $10,000 in fines
- Continuous Sexual Abuse of a Child (Texas Penal Code §21.01): A person can be charged with continuous sexual abuse if he or she, being at least 17 years old, commits two or more acts of sexual abuse with a victim who is younger than 14 over a 30-day period. The crime is a first-degree felony, punishable by a minimum prison sentence of 25 years in prison. However, the maximum sentence for the crime is actually 99 years or life in prison.
- Sexual Performance of a Child (Texas Penal Code Section §43.25): A person commits sexual performance by a child if, knowing the character and content thereof, employs, authorizes, or induces a child in sexual conduct or a sexual performance. In addition, a parent or legal guardian/custodian of a child commits the offense if they consent to the participation by the child in a sexual performance. A child is defined as a person under the age of 18 years old.
- Employment Harmful to Minors (Texas Penal Code Section §43.251): According to the statute, it is illegal to employ or induce a child to work at a sexually-oriented commercial activity business or permit, request, or require that the child be nude or topless. Typically, the crime is a second degree felony.
The possible punishment alleged offenders can receive if convicted of sexual offenses vary depending on the specific crimes they are accused of. Under state law in Texas, the maximum punishments for each grade of criminal offenses are as follows:
- First Degree Felony: Five to 99 years in prison or life and up to $10,000 in fines
- Second Degree Felony: Two 20 years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines
- Third Degree Felony: Two to 10 years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines
- State Jail Felony: 180 days to two years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines
- Class A Misdemeanor: Up to a year in jail and up to $4,000 in fines
- Class B Misdemeanor: Up to 180 days in jail and up to $2,000 in fines
According to Texas law, anyone convicted of certain sex crimes must register with the state’s sex offender registry and update their information regularly. In order to lawfully register as a sex offender, the accused will have to provide certain information to the closest local law enforcement authority such as his or her name, date of birth, sex, race, height, weight, eye color, hair color, social security number, and more.
Failing to register as a sex offender can lead to additional consequences. A person who is required to remain registered as a sex offender for 10 years will face new state jail felony charges if they fail to do so. If convicted of this new offense, the penalty ranges from 180 days to 2 years in state jail and up to $10,000 in fines.
The collateral consequences of a sex crime conviction can be life-altering. Beyond the jail time, fines and other penalties that typically result from a conviction for a sex offense, the most damaging consequences are those that affect the sex offender in the society.
Following a sex crime conviction, life can be difficult. The offender could face difficulty obtaining employment, securing approval for loans, and/or lose any of their professional licenses. Others may even be shunned by their family as a result of mere accusations.
One of the best ways to minimize the collateral consequences of a sex-related crime is to build a strong legal defense. Working closely with a qualified criminal defense attorney such as Jackson F. Gorski at The Law Office of Jackson F. Gorski is critical for making the best of your case.
Texas Penal Code: Sex Offenses – Access the official website for the Texas Penal Code to view chapter which outlines the various sex crimes addressed by Texas law.
Texas Department of Public Safety: Sex Offender Registry – Access the official website for the TXDPS which lists information about the-Sex Offender Registry Program. You can view details about requirements for sex offender registration.
Georgetown Sex Offenses Lawyer | Williamson County, TX
If you were arrested for a sex offense, it’s imperative you secure legal representation immediately since your freedom is at stake. Jackson F. Gorski at The Law Office of Jackson F. Gorski can assess your case and determine the best possible defense to reduce or dismiss your charges. He has extensive experience with sex crimes and can outline all your legal options.
Call 512-960-4646 to schedule a free consultation today. The Law Office of Jackson F. Gorski has offices in Austin and Georgetown, TX.