Sexual assault, like many other types of sex crimes, is the kind of charge that tends to be judged harshly, even before a defendant is able to give his or her side of the story. Having an experienced attorney on your side who can help you launch a defense as soon as possible after an arrest can make all the difference in the outcome of this type of case, so if you have been accused of sexual assault, you should speak with an experienced Houston criminal lawyer about your legal options as soon as possible.
The Penalties for Sexual Assault
Defendants who are convicted of sexual assault in Texas face between two and 20 years imprisonment, a maximum $10,000 fine, and a second-degree felony on their permanent criminal record. If, however, there are aggravating factors in a particular case, such as an assault allegedly carried out with a deadly weapon, a defendant could face enhanced first degree felony charges, which come with even more severe penalties.
Defenses to a Sexual Assault Charge
No two cases are the same, so the defenses that are available to one defendant may not be available to someone else. There are a few specific arguments, however, that are commonly used to defend against sexual assault allegations, including that:
- The alleged victim consented to the sexual activity;
- The defendant is the victim of misidentification;
- The defendant had an alibi for the time when the crime was allegedly committed; and
- The evidence being used against the defendant is the product of an unlawful search or seizure.
These may not be the only defenses available in your case, so if you have questions about building a strong defense against your own allegations, please call our office today.
The Statute of Limitations
Under Texas law, most sexual assault charges must be brought within ten years of when the crime was allegedly committed. It is also true, however, that in some cases, there is no statute of limitations for these kinds of allegations. When a case involves a minor, for example, there is no time limit for how long the state has to press charges.
Sex Offender Registration
In Texas, those who are convicted of sexual assault are required to register as sex offenders. The Texas Department of Public Safety maintains this list, dividing offenders into three different risk levels: low, moderate, and high. The sex offender registry lists certain information about offenders, including their physical description, address, and the details of their convictions. Registrants are required to enroll themselves immediately upon release from prison and those who fail to do so can be convicted of another felony offense.
Discuss Your Case with a Criminal Lawyer in Houston, Galveston or League City
If you have been accused of sexual assault, you should discuss your options with a reputable Houston sex crimes attorney who has experience contending with these types of cases. To learn more about your charges, please contact the dedicated sex crimes lawyers at The Law Offices of Tad Nelson & Associates. You can reach us by calling our office at(281) 280-0100 or by sending us an online message today.