October 12, 2018
In Texas, sexual assault is typically prosecuted as a second degree felony, and can be raised to a first degree felony under certain circumstances. If convicted, you will likely receive a lengthy prison sentence, significant fines, and a requirement to register as a sex offender.
You may also be subject to a civil lawsuit from the victim or the victim’s family.
Individually, each of these penalties can throw your life off course and make things far more difficult for you. Together, they can’t help but have a long-lasting impact on your reputation and overall quality of life, making it far tougher to not just get ahead, but even do previously simple things that you likely took for granted.
Because of this, it’s essential to consult with a knowledgeable Texas criminal attorney as soon as charges are filed against you to start putting together the strongest possible defense and fighting for your future.
Battling sexual assault charges begins with understanding the law in our state. This crime is defined under Texas law as intentionally or knowingly making sexual contact without the other person’s consent. The law prohibits coercion, force, or violence in sexual assault cases. It also penalizes offenders who commit sexual assault against minors and incapacitated adults.
There are a number of different possible defenses that you may be able to employ in your case to weaken the prosecution’s argument and make it more likely that your charges will be reduced, dropped, or dismissed. Which one is right for you will depend upon the specific circumstances of your situation, and is best left in the hands of an experienced sex crimes lawyer with a track record of success.
Some of the most common successful strategies include:
Providing an Alibi
A strong alibi is an excellent defense. You will need to amass hard evidence to support your alibi, however. This may include eyewitness reports, expense sheets, ticket stubs, or receipts.
Arguing False Testimony
Sometimes victims make false allegations to retaliate against a plaintiff or for other reasons. Minors may make false statements against parents, particularly in difficult child custody cases.
It’s possible that the victim wrongly identified you as the assailant. A DNA test, along with other evidence, can show that you were not at the scene.
If you have been charged with indecent exposure, for example, you may be able to provide evidence that the act did not occur in public, that no sexual organs were exposed, or that your actions were misconstrued.
You may be able to battle your charges if you are able to provide evidence that the victim consented to a sexual act. This is a difficult argument to make unless you have strong evidence to support your claim. Consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney to know if this defense strategy will work in your case.
Believed Victim Was of Consenting Age
If you believed that the victim was at least 18 years old, this defense may work for you. You will need to offer evidence that you inquired about the victim’s age before the sexual act, and that no reckless behavior occurred.
Mental Incapacity or Insanity
A qualified expert may be able to offer evidence of your mental incapacitation at the time of the act, which could reduce your charges.
Since penalties are serious for a sexual assault conviction in Texas, it’s important to start putting together your defense strategy as soon as possible. The more time you have to put together your argument, the likelier it is to succeed.
About the Author:
Jeff Hampton has been practicing law in Texas in 2005, first in the Tarrant County District Attorney’s Office as a prosecutor, and now as a private attorney with the Hampton Eppes Law Group, protecting the rights of Texans who have suffered injury due to negligence or are facing criminal charges. His success in helping people with their legal troubles has been recognized by clients and peers alike, with a Top Attorney designation and 10/10 Superb Rating on Avvo, and a place on the National Trial Lawyers list of the Top 100 Trial Lawyers.