What is Sexual Assault of a Child in Dallas?
Texas defines sexual assault of a child as sex with any person under age 17.
Sexual assault of a child includes penetration and certain kinds of sexual contact. Texas courts treat this offense very harshly and should not be taken lightly, and it requires an adept Dallas child sexual assault lawyer to fight this charge.
In Texas, anyone under 17 cannot legally give consent for sex. So even if the child was a willing participant, this fact is not a legal defense. The defendant can’t argue that they did not know the child’s age. Even if the child lied about their age, that is not a legal defense.
If the child is under 14, the charge is called aggravated sexual of a child. If the child is under six at the time of the sexual assault, the charge is called super aggravated sexual assault of a child.
Additionally, sexual assault of a child under 14 is elevated to super aggravated sexual assault if another aggravating factor exists. Such factors include:
- Exhibiting a deadly weapon
- Causing or threatening serious bodily injury
- Using a drug or intoxicant in the commission of the sexual assault
Are you or a family member facing allegations of sexual assault of a child? If so, consultation with an experienced Dallas child sexual assault lawyer is crucial. The team at Varghese Summersett includes Board Certified criminal defense attorneys with decades of work fighting these cases.
What are the penalties for Dallas sexual assault of a child?
Sexual assault of a child aged 14 to 17 is a second-degree felony in Texas. A conviction carries a prison sentence of two to 20 years.
Sexual assault of a child aged 6 to 14 is a first-degree felony. A conviction carries a prison sentence of five years to life.
Sexual assault of a child under six is automatically elevated to super aggravated sexual assault, and a conviction is punishable by a minimum of 25 years to 99 years or life. A conviction for super aggravated sexual assault of a child has no possibility of deferred adjudication, probation, or parole.
Additionally, sexual assault of a child under 14 with an aggravating factor is elevated to super aggravated. Aggravating factors include causing or threatening serious bodily injury, using drugs or alcohol in the commission of the crime, or death. Like sexual assault of a child under 6, a conviction carries a minimum of 25 years to 99 years or life, with no option for probation, parole, or deferred adjudication. As you can see, the severity of these punishments is massive. Anyone facing such charges needs a strong Dallas child sexual assault lawyer.
Is sex offender registration required for sexual assault of a child in Dallas?
Yes, if convicted of sexual assault of a child in Texas, you will be required to register as a sex offender for life. It doesn’t matter if you received deferred adjudication, probation, or a prison sentence.
Can you get probation for Dallas sexual assault of a child?
Neither a judge nor a jury can impose probation as a sentence for sexual assault of a child if the child was under 14, for super aggravated sexual assault, or if the sentence is more than 10 years in prison.
Texas judges also can’t impose probation as a sentence for sexual assault of a child aged 14 to 17. It doesn’t matter how competent the Dallas child sexual assault lawyer is.
Shock probation isn’t an option either because Texas’ shock community supervision statute requires ‘the defendant is otherwise eligible for community supervision.”
Note: Offenses before Sept. 1, 2007, may allow the possibility of shock probation since, until that date, probation was an option.
Is deferred adjudication possible for sexual assault of a child?
Texas judges could choose deferred adjudication, but only if they find that doing so is in the best of the victim. This is not an option for judges, however, for anyone who has received probation or deferred adjudication for a sexual offense, per the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure Article 42A.102.
What should I do if I’m charged with sexual assault of a child?
Before talking with anyone, including your spouse and law enforcement, call a Dallas child sexual assault lawyer.
The defense team at Varghese Summersett will discuss with you potential ways to avoid an arrest, the bond process, if necessary, and to handle your specific case.
Pro Tip: The biggest avoidable mistake we often see people make is talking to a police detective without an attorney. A close second is people believing anything a detective tells them during an investigation.
How to best defend against Dallas child sexual assault allegations?
If you have any inkling you’re being investigated for child sexual assault, you need to contact a Dallas child sexual assault lawyer immediately. How do you know if you’re being investigated?
If you receive a call from Child Protective Services (CPS), you can bet the agent is working with law enforcement, even if they don’t tell you that.
Often, a police detective watches forensic interviews in such cases through a one-way mirror or video feed.
Defending against false allegations of Dallas child sexual assault
False allegations of child sexual assault frequently occur in Dallas County and beyond.
This can happen as a result of a child who is being manipulated by another adult, often during child custody battles, a divorce, or because of suggestions from a biological parent who is no longer around. An experienced Dallas child sexual assault lawyer will explore each and every corner to find the proper defense.
Heads up: Most people don’t realize that giving a statement to law enforcement is enough for an arrest – and sometimes enough for a conviction. There is no requirement for physical evidence, and most child sexual assault cases are filed without any physical evidence. And many of these cases end with a conviction.
Also, a child victim is not required to be precise about the date of an alleged crime. That means a defendant’s “alibi” is generally not a defense.
Sexual assault of a child is a heinous charge, and rightly so. But because of the nature of the alleged crime, detectives and prosecutors can often get tunnel vision and will press charges despite exculpatory evidence or a passed polygraph test.
Do you need a Dallas child sexual assault lawyer? Call us.
The defense team at Varghese Summersett has defended clients facing all manner of child sexual assault charges. Our record in these cases, including super aggravated sexual assault of a child, is unmatched in North Texas.
We have had cases dismissed, plead down, and received positive results at pre-trial, before a grand jury, and at trial. We have earned the words “not guilty” from North Texas juries.
All the Partners at our firm are former prosecutors, who not only know the Crimes Against Children playbook, but we helped to write it in many cases.
In nearly every case, our firm has more experience than the prosecution.
A sexual assault of a child allegation in North Texas requires the best defense available. That’s what Varghese Summserett provides.
For a free consultation with a top Dallas child sexual assault lawyer, call us at 214-903-4000.