Are Sex Crimes Charged Under Federal or State Law?

December 15th, 2021 by Tad Nelson in Criminal Defense, Sex Crime

Sex crimes in Texas are extremely serious offenses, and it is critical to have a Texas sex crimes defense lawyer on your side. You might be wondering: are sex crimes charged under state or federal law? These charges can be complicated, and it can be difficult to understand whether you are facing federal or state charges for an offense. Our firm can help.

Sex Crimes May Be Charged as Federal or State Offenses

You should know that facing sex crimes charges in Texas could mean that you are facing federal or state offenses. In some cases, you will face both federal and state charges for sex crimes. To be sure, being charged under both federal and state law for a particular offense does not invoke a person’s rights under the Double Jeopardy clause of the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Rather, under the doctrine of “dual sovereignty,” a person can face charges for the same offense under both federal and state law.

The type of offense you are charged with will depend upon the particular facts of your case. Common federal sex crimes charges include but are not limited to the following:

  • Sexual exploitation of children, or the production of child pornography under 18 U.S.C. § 2251;
  • Selling and buying of children under 18 U.S.C. § 2251A;
  • Certain activities relating to material involving the sexual exploitation of minors, or the possession,
    distribution, and/or receipt of child pornography under 18 U.S.C. § 2252;
  • Certain activities relating to material constituting or containing child pornography under 18 U.S.C. §
    2252A; or
  • Production of sexually explicit depictions of a minor for importation into the United States under 18
    U.S.C. § 2260.

Under Texas state law, a person can face sex crimes charges for a variety of offenses, such as:

  • Indecent exposure;
  • Prostitution or solicitation;
  • Sexual assault;
  • Internet sex crimes and online solicitation of a minor;
  • Possession of child pornography; and
  • Rape.

Federal and State Sex Crimes Convictions Can Have Serious Consequences

The consequences for sex crimes convictions under federal and state law are extremely serious. If you are convicted of a federal sex offense, such as the production of child pornography, you could face a statutory minimum penalty of 15 years in prison and up to 30 years in prison, even for a first-time offense. Even a first offense for the distribution of child pornography through interstate commerce can result in a statutory minimum penalty of 5 years in prison and up to 20 years in prison.

Under state law, penalties for sex crimes can include penalties for both misdemeanor and felony offenses. Sex crimes such as indecent exposure or prostitution or solicitation are typically charged as Class B misdemeanors for a first offense, which can result in a sentence of up to 180 days in jail and a fine of up to $2,000. More serious sex offenses are charged as felonies and can result in a sentence of anywhere from 180 days in jail to up to 99 years in prison depending upon the felony classification.

In addition to prison time and monetary fines, most sex offense convictions under federal or state law require the convicted person to register as a sex offender on the sex offender registry, which can have serious repercussions for your job, your living situation, and your position in the community. Accordingly, it is critical to have an experienced sex crimes defense lawyer on your side to help you fight these charges.

Contact a Sex Crimes Defense Lawyer in Texas

If you are facing sex crimes charges, you need to work with an aggressive Texas sex crimes defense lawyer. Do not hesitate to get in touch with us to learn more about how we can help. Contact The Law Offices of Tad Nelson & Associates today for more information.

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