Dallas Child Sex Abuse Defense Lawyers Serving Dallas and Surrounding Areas
Being accused of a child sex crime is extremely serious. In fact, these cases are punished more harshly than any other offense in Texas – other than capital murder.
There’s no way to sugarcoat it. If you have been arrested or charged in connection with a child sex crime, you are facing jail time, fines, and sex offender registration. That’s why it’s imperative to contact an experienced Dallas child abuse defense lawyer as soon as possible. The stakes are too high to leave anything to chance. Your life and livelihood are on the line.
In this article, our Dallas child abuse defense lawyers are going to go over some of the most common child sex abuse crimes in Texas, as well as their potential consequences and possible defenses. Be sure to watch the videos, which contain important information that you will hopefully find relevant and useful.
What is the punishment for child sex abuse convictions in Dallas?
The range of punishment for child sex abuse depends on the offense. It can range from a third-degree felony, which is punished by up to 10 years in prison, to a first-degree felony, which carries a punishment of life in prison. The most serious child sex abuse charge is called Continuous Sexual Assault of a Child and it carries a minimum sentence of 25 years in prison. If you are accused of being a repeat child sex offender, you could face an automatic life sentence. Not to mention, most sex abuse cases require lifetime registration as a sex offender.
How does Texas law define sexual assault of a child?
In Texas, a person commits sexual assault of a child if he or she intentionally or knowingly:
- causes the penetration of the anus or sexual organ of a child by any means;
- causes the penetration of the mouth of a child by the sexual organ of the actor;
- causes the sexual organ of a child to contact or penetrate the month, anus or sexual organ of another person; including the actor;
- causes the anus of a child to contact the mouth, anus or sexual organ or another person, including the actor;
- causes the mouth of a child to contact the anus or sexual organ of another person, including the actor.
What are common child sex abuse charges in Texas?
There are a number of child sex abuse or molestation charges in Texas, all of which carry severe consequences. Here’s a look at common charges and their punishments.
Continuous Sexual Assault of a Child
Continuous sexual assault of a child is the most serious sex offense for which a person can be charged in the state of Texas. The only offense that is more serious is capital murder, which is punishable the death penalty. In the simplest terms, Continuous Sexual Assault of a Child occurs when a person sexually abuses a child or children under at 14 and at least two of the acts took place at least 30 days apart. This offense carries a punishment range from 25 years to life in prison without the possibility of parole. This means the punishment for a person convicted of this crime starts at 25 years in prison and goes up from there, and every day of the sentence must be served. There is no early release and, if you do get out, you will be required to register as a sex offender for life.
Aggravated Sexual Assault of a Child
Aggravated sexual assault of a child occurs when a person intentionally or knowingly commits sexual assault against a child younger than 14. This offense is a first degree felony, punishable by five years to life in prison, a maximum $10,00 fine and sex offender registration. However, the minimum starts at 25 years in prison if the child was under age 6 – that is referred to as “super aggravated sexual assault of a child.” The minimum also starts at 25 years in prison if serious bodily injury was threatened or caused.
Sexual Assault of a Child
Sexual assault of a child occurs when a person intentionally or knowingly commits an act of sexual assault against a child younger than 17. Sexual assault of a child under 17 is a second degree felony and carries a punishment range of 2 to 20 years in prison, a maximum $10,000 fine and sex offender registration.
Indecency with a Child by Contact (fondling)
Indecency with a child by contact occurs when a person, with intent to arouse or gratify the sexual desire of any person, engages in sexual contact with a child younger than 17 years of age. Sexual contact includes touching, even through clothing, of a child’s breast, anus or any part of the genitals. Indecency with a child by contacts is a second-degree felony punishable by 2 to 20 years in prison, a maximum $10,000 fine, and sex offender registration.
Indecency with a Child by Exposure
Indecency with a child by exposure occurs when a person, with the intent to arouse or gratify the sexual desire of any person, exposes his or her genitals or anus, knowing a child under age 17 is present, or causes a child to expose his or her genitals or anus. Indecency with a child by exposure is a third-degree felony punishable by 2 to 10 years in prison, a maximum $10,000 fine and sex offender registration.
Dallas Child Sex Abuse Defense: What is Indecency with a Child?
Video: Child Sexual Assault Defense
Prohibited Sexual Conduct (Incest)
Prohibited sexual conduct is often referred to as incest. A person commits incest if he or she engaged in sexual intercourse or deviate sexual intercourse with their:
- Child by blood or adoption;
- Current or former stepchild or stepparent;
- Uncle or aunt, by blood or half;
- Sibling, by blood or half;
- Cousins, by blood or half;
- Nephew and niece, by blood or half.
Prohibited sexual conduct is a third degree felony punishable by 2 to 10 years in prison, a maximum $10,00 fine, and sex offender registration.
Online Solicitation of a Minor
Online solicitation of a minor occurs when an adult communicates online with a person is under age 17 or someone whom the adult believes is under 17 (such as law enforcement posing as a minor) and the adult:
- Has a sexually explicit conversation; or
- Sends a sexually explicit photo or video; or
- Asks to meet the minor to engage in sexual conduct.
Online solicitation is generally a third degree felony, punishable by 2 to 10 years in prison and maximum $10,000 fine. However, online solicitation of a minor under age 14 is a second degree felony punishable by 2 to 20 years in prison and a maximum $10,000 fine.
Watch: What is Online Solicitation of a Minor?
Sexual Performance by a Child
Sexual performance of a child occurs when an adult allows or encourages a child under age 18 to participate in a sexual performance or engage in sexual conduct. This can encompass a wide variety of activities, such as asking a child for a sexually explicit picture, selfie, cell phone photo or video. Sexual performance of a child is a second degree felony punishable by 2 to 20 years in prism and a maximum $10,000 fine. However, the offense can be elevated to a first degree, punishable by 5 to life in prison, if the child is under age 14.
Possession of Child Pornography
Possession of child pornography occurs when a person intentionally or knowingly possesses visual material of a child under age 18 engaging in sexual conduct. Possession of child pornography is generally a third degree felony punishable by 2 to 10 years in prison, a maximum $10,000 fine, and lifetime sex offender registration.
What kind of issues might a Dallas child sex abuse defense lawyer raise?
Even though the public is quick to judge anyone accused of a child sex crime, you will have an opportunity to defend yourself in court. An experienced Dallas child sex abuse defense lawyer will help tailor an aggressive defense strategy specific to the facts and circumstances of your case, but possible defenses could include:
- False allegations;
- Ulterior motives;
- Lack of evidence;
- Age of Consent;
- Romeo and Juliet Law.
What is the age of consent in Texas?
Statutory rape is an allegation of sexual assault against a person who cannot legally consent, such as a child younger than age 17. Board-certified defense attorney Letty Martinez explains how Romeo and Juliet laws could aid in your Dallas child sex abuse defense.
Can Dallas child sex abuse cases be based on solely the word of a child?
Yes, cases of child sexual abuse are often prosecuted solely on the word of the child. Once a child makes an outcry of sexual abuse, the wheels are set into motion and an arrest is probably imminent. The law doesn’t require their allegation to be corroborated by physical or scientific evidence, such as DNA.
What should you do if CPS or a detective contacts you?
Child protective services, or CPS, is a state agency in Texas tasked with investigating suspected child sexual abuse, physical abuse or neglect of children. The primary responsibility of CPS is to determine whether or not abuse has occurred by parents, family members, or other members of the household.
A CPS investigation is usually initiated after a detective notifies the agency that a police investigation is underway or CPS received a tip. If CPS contacts you, the first thing you should do is contact an experienced Dallas child sex abuse defense attorney so they can advise you the best way to handle their inquiry or request for an interview. The same is true for a detective. If a detective wants a statement from you, it’s imperative that you call an attorney as soon as a detective contacts you. Watch this short video by Dallas child sex abuse defense attorney Benson Varghese to find out why this is so important.
Should you take a polygraph?
If you want to take a polygraph, you should arrange it through your Dallas child sex abuse defense attorney. Longtime criminal attorney Christy Jack explains why in this video.
Call for a Free Consultation with a Dallas Sex Abuse Defense Lawyer
The attorneys at Varghese Summersett have decades of experience handling child sex abuse cases, first as prosecutors and now as top defense attorneys. In fact, you will be hard-pressed to find another criminal defense firm in North Texas with this much experience and skill under one roof. We understand the stigma affiliated with child sex charges and will work diligently to find the defense strategy for you. Call today for a free consultation with a Dallas child sex abuse defense lawyer and find out why we are the best at what we do.
Call us at (214) 903-4000.