Understanding rape laws and penalties in Texas
In Texas, there are multiple defined sex crimes. Each of these crimes has its own unique associated set of potential penalties. Examples of sex crimes in Texas include the possession and distribution of child pornography, prostitution, Internet sex crimes and more.
Rape is one form of sex crime that has different charges that can be levied against a defendant. Many things can affect which charge is decided upon. The age of the involved parties, for example, can affect the outcome of such an allegation.
How widespread is rape in Texas?
Texas state records for 2012 indicate that 7,711 cases of forcible rape were reported in that year alone. Statistics from the U.S. Bureau of Justice show that in 2006, Texas was noted to have the second highest instance of rape nationwide, behind only California.
California reported 9,212 instances of rape in 2006 while Texas reported 8,372. The state in the third position for most number of rapes that year was Florida with 6,475 cases.
The ramifications for anyone charged with any form of rape can be severe and it is important to understand Texas laws in this arena as part of receiving a proper defense.
Standard rape charges and penalties in Texas
A person accused of rape may face one of three different charges under Texas law. The classifications of rape charges and associated penalties are as follows:
- Sexual assault
Sexual assault is lodged as a second-degree felony. Anyone convicted of sexual assault may receive a jail sentence from between two and 20 years.
- Aggravated sexual assault
Aggravated sexual assault is the most serious rape count and is a first-degree felony. This can include sexual abuse of children as well as acts involving persons of legal adult age. Jail time for anyone convicted of this crime is between five and 99 years.
- Indecency with a child
If any sexual assault of a child includes sexual contact such as touching of sexual body parts through clothing, the charge is for a second-degree felony. If there was an alleged intent to arouse, the charge is listed as a third-degree felony.
All three charge classifications carry with them a $10,000 fine for any persons who are convicted.
Help can make the difference
With the severity of penalties to be faced if convicted, anyone who has been charged with sexual assault, aggravated sexual assault or indecency with a child in Texas should seek help from a private defense attorney. Not every person who is accused of such crimes is actually guilty and the right defense can help to ensure that they are not wrongly convicted.