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What is the Difference Between Rape and Sexual Battery?

If you have been charged with rape or sexual battery in Plano, Texas, it is essential to understand the charges brought against you. In Texas, “sexual assault” covers nearly every form of non-consensual sexual conduct, including sexual battery and rape. Prosecutors can charge the crime of sexual battery as a misdemeanor or felony. If they charge the crime as a felony, the defendant could face life imprisonment and serious fines. We will discuss the differences between rape and sexual battery in more detail below.

The Crime of Sexual Battery 

The Texas Penal Code makes sexual battery a crime in section 22.011. Under this law, forcing another person to engage in sexual penetration against their will constitutes sexual battery. Additionally, sexual battery occurs when someone unable to consent to sexual activity because they were mentally incapacitated is forced to engage in that activity. The alleged victim may have been unconscious or have a mental disorder or disease that prevented them from consenting. The defendant may intentionally impair them. In other cases, the alleged victim could have been a minor at the time, making them unable to consent. Examples of sexual battery include the following:

  • Penetration of or contact with an alleged victim’s mouth, anus, or sexual organ with the defendant’s mouth or sexual organ
  • Alleged penetration of or contact with a child’s mouth, anus, or sexual organ with the defendant’s mouth or sexual organ
  • Causing the penetration of or contact with the defendant’s mouth, anus, or sexual organ with an allegedly unwilling victim’s mouth or sexual organ
  • Allegedly causing the penetration of or contact with the defendant’s mouth, anus, or sexual organ with a child’s mouth or sexual organ

 

The Difference Between Sexual Assault and Sexual Battery

Many people incorrectly think that assault and battery are the same crime. However, these two crimes are different offenses. Sexual assault happens when a person knowingly threatens another person with bodily harm. There does not need to be any physical contact for a sexual assault to occur. Sexual assault also happens when someone threatens another person and causes bodily harm of a sexual nature. Battery involves the physical touching of the offense. When someone uses force or engages in an offensive touch on another person, they have committed battery.

Rape is another specific type of sexual assault under Texas’ criminal code. The crime of rape is defined as knowingly and intentionally pursuing unwelcome or non-consensual sexual contact with another individual that involves penetration. Rape may include violent threats, physical force, manipulation, and coercion. Many cases of rape involve an alleged victim who is drugged, disabled, or still a minor. Even if the victim consents to the sexual act, defendants can still be charged with statutory rape if the child is under the age of 18.

 

Aggravated Sexual Battery

In some cases, there is a very thin line between aggravated sexual battery and sexual assault. In other cases, assault and battery are very different. Sometimes sexual battery and sexual assault or terms are used interchangeably, but it is important to remember the differences.  Aggravated sexual assault typically happens when there is a violent Act. Holding someone down to touch his or her sexual organs against the victim’s will is an example of sexual assault.

 

Lack of Consent is a Key Element in Sexual Battery and Assault Charges

When it comes to the crimes of sexual battery and assault, lack of consent is a crucial element that the prosecutor needs to prove beyond a reasonable doubt. In other words, sexual conduct becomes criminal when the touch is sexual, and there is no consent. If a person sexually touches someone else but does not have permission to do so, the individual does not have consent. As mentioned above, it is also a crime to engage in a sexual act with a person who cannot legally consent.

 

Penalties for Sexual Battery

The penalty for the crime of sexual battery will depend on the facts in your case. If you are found guilty, the minimum time in prison is two years, and you may face a fine of up to $10,000. If convicted, the most prison time you could receive would be life in prison, depending on the specific crime. It is a crime of sexual assault that does not include penetration, it will be taken less seriously. Touching someone usually has a lower penalty. Criminal sexual contact that is forced or violent will carry harsher penalties. 

Additionally, sexual contact that injures the victim will carry harsher penalties. Finally, the penalties will be more serious if the crime involves a deadly weapon or more than one person. When these aggravating circumstances are involved, the charges will probably be raised to a felony of the first degree and carry a prison sentence between five and 99 years plus a fine of up to $10,000. If the crime involves a child, prosecutors may bring first-degree felony charges with harsh penalties. If convicted, the defendant must be registered on the Texas sex offender registry.

 

ABOUT DOUG WILDER | WILDER LAW FIRM

Founding partner Doug Wilder began his legal career as a prosecutor, which he did from 1995-2000.  After prosecuting thousands of DWI’s and teaching police officers how to be more effective, he took all of his skill and knowledge and applied it to defending people, many of whom are wrongly accused. Doug Wilder is also a Field Sobriety Test Instructor and has taught the Student Field Sobriety Test Course around the country, and continues to be involved in teaching police officers as well.

* Please note: All articles on this blog are for informative purposes only, and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are being accused of a crime, please contact our law firm directly for professional representation.

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