What Is Sexual Assault?
Police officers have taken a particularly strict stance against sexual assault in recent years. Sex crimes are increasingly becoming a priority for law enforcement officials, which has resulted in countless arrests and prosecutions thus far. Sexual assault is an umbrella term that includes several sex crimes that are discussed below.
Sexual assault suspects need to understand what their allegations mean, as it could determine the course of their criminal case. To best ease the confusion, defendants are encouraged to discuss their charges with a criminal defense lawyer no matter the circumstances.
Texas defines sexual assault in addition to sexually assaultive offenses, which are described below:
Sexual assault occurs when a person intentionally or knowingly causes:
- the penetration of the anus or sexual organ of another person by any means, without their consent
- the penetration of the mouth of another person by the sexual organ of the actor, without that person's consent
- the sexual organ of another person, without that person's consent, to contact or penetrate the mouth, anus, or sexual organ of another person, including the actor
A sexual assault charge can be enhanced by aggravating factors. Thus, aggravated sexual assault occurs when a person commits sexual assault and:
- causes serious bodily injury or attempts to cause the death of the victim or another person
- threatens or puts the victim in fear that any person will be forced into prostitution or trafficked, or that death, serious bodily injury, or kidnapping will be imminently inflicted on any person
- uses or exhibits a deadly weapon
- administers or provides to the victim of the offense any substance capable of impairing the victim's ability to appraise the nature of the act or to resist the act
- the victim is under 14 years of age, or an elderly or disabled individual
Statutory rape isn’t necessarily defined in Texas, however, it is generally grouped under the state’s laws concerning sexual assault and aggravated sexual assault against a child, and indecency with a child. Statutory rape typically refers to sexual penetration against a minor who cannot legally consent.
Indecency with a child is committed if a person does the following acts with a child younger than 17 years of age, whether the child is of the same or opposite sex and regardless of whether the person knows the child’s age at the time of the offense:
- engages in sexual contact with the child or causes the child to engage in sexual contact
- with intent to arouse or gratify the sexual desire of any person:
- exposes the person's anus or any part of the person's genitals, knowing the child is present
- causes the child to expose the child's anus or any part of the child's genitals
Continuous sexual abuse of a child occurs when:
- a person commits two or more acts of sexual abuse for 30 or more days, regardless of whether the acts of sexual abuse are committed against one or more victims
- at the time of the commission of sexual abuse, the actor is 17 years of age or older and the victim is a child younger than 14 years of age, regardless of whether the actor knows the age of the victim at the time of the offense.
Here for You When You Need It Most
It can get confusing to understand the various types of sexual assault offenses in Texas but simply put, sexual penetration or touching without the victim’s consent is generally deemed sexual assault. Crimes such as rape, sexual abuse, sexual contact with minors and sexual coercion, for instance, constitute sexual assault.
However, it’s best to understand your sex crime charges with the help of a Dallas sexual assault defense lawyer such as Peter Barrett. Even if your charges seem straightforward and clear, you cannot take the risk of accepting them as true and proceeding with false information in mind. It is in your best interests to put 25+ years of experience on your side and let Peter Barrett do the heavy lifting on your behalf.
Facing sex crime charges in Dallas? Contact Peter Barrett at (214) 307-8667!