Dallas County Sexual Assault of a Child
In Texas, the age of consent is 17. It is illegal for an adult to engage in sexual contact with a minor under the age of 17, except for in specific cases where the age gap between the adult and the minor is less than three years. This rule only covers minors age 14 and older, though – under no circumstance may an adult or even an older adolescent engage in sexual contact with a child 13 or younger. When an adult engages in sexual contact with a minor who cannot consent to the contact, he or she commits sexual assault of a child. Sexual assault of a child is also known as statutory rape.
What Constitutes Sexual Assault of a Child?
The way the law is written, sexual assault of a child is any act of intentionally or knowingly:
- Penetrating a child’s mouth, anus, or genitals; or
- Caused the child’s mouth, anus, or genitals to come into contact with another party’s mouth, anus, or genitals, including the offender’s own.
The law does not recognize a difference between cases where force is used to engage in sex with a child and cases where sex occurs consensually, then the younger party retroactively revokes his or her consent out of fear, regret, anger, or jealousy. In fact, it is quite possible, and not uncommon, for a young adult to face this type of charge after engaging in consensual sex with a younger partner, either as an act of revenge from the younger partner, a desperate act out of confusion or fear on the younger partner’s part, or from disapproval by the younger partner’s parent. Additionally, a younger partner who engaged in sex while intoxicated or under the influence of another drug might decide afterward that he or she was date raped.
Under most circumstances, sexual assault of a child is a second degree felony. The penalties for this conviction are a fine of up to $10,000 and a prison sentence of two to 20 years. A convicted defendant or a defendant receiving probation will also be required to register as a sex offender.
Sexual assault of a child can be elevated to aggravated sexual assault, a first degree felony. It may be elevated when an aggravating factor, such as the use of a date rape drug or a deadly weapon, is used to force the victim into engaging in sex with the offender. Sexual contact with a child age 14 or younger is also an act of aggravated sexual assault.
There are many possible defenses to a statutory rape charge. The right defense for your case depends on your case’s circumstances. Potential defense strategies could include:
- The prosecution gathered evidence illegally;
- A lack of evidence connecting you to the offense that occurred;
- A lack of evidence to show that any offense occurred; and
- The presence of any evidence that shows the plaintiff’s motive to accuse you of sexually assaulting a child.
- Polygraph examinations to prove that you did not have sex without consent
- Obtaining social media and other electroinic evidence to prove you were in a consentual relationship with the accuser.
When you are facing a sexual assault charge, you need an experienced criminal defense lawyer to help you fight it. It does not matter how old the alleged victim is or the actual circumstances surrounding the case – if you have been charged with this type of crime, you are facing steep fines and jail time. Do not simply accept a conviction for a crime you did not commit. Contact J. Michael Price II today to set up your initial consultation with us today to start working on your case.