Violating Texas Penal Code Ch 22.011 is a serious offense with severe penalties. In fact, this is one of the crimes that cannot be expunged. There are also cases where you can be prosecuted based solely on the word of the alleged victim. But, Texas law provides substantial defenses you can use to avoid wrongful convictions.
How Texas law defines sexual assault
The legal definition of sexual assault in Texas is when a person commits any type of sexual contact without the other person’s consent. This includes sex offenses like rape, fondling and statutory rape.
Texas law recognizes two types of consent: express consent and implied consent. Express consent is given verbally or through actions, such as nodding or saying yes, whereas implied consent is when a reasonable person would assume that actions, such as having sex, indicate that both parties want to engage in the activity.
It’s also important to note that a person cannot give consent if they are under the age of 17 or are unable to understand what’s happening, such as being mentally disabled or intoxicated. Further, it is not consenting when a person coerces or forces themselves on someone even if they don’t physically fight them off.
The penalties for sexual assault in Texas
The penalties for sexual assault will depend on various factors, such as the victim’s age and whether a deadly weapon was used. The least serious charge in Texas is punishable by a fine of up to $10,000 and prison time of two to 20 years. In comparison, the most severe charge is punishable by five to 99 years or life in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
If you are accused of sexual assault, it’s important to understand your rights to find the proper defenses to use. Many people spend years in prison based on false accusations.