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Sexual Assault | Facts and Questions

What is considered sexual assault in Texas?

Texas Penal Code Section 22.011 defines the crimes of rape and sexual assault. According to the statute, sexual assault occurs when any non-consensual, unwanted sexual contact against another person involves penetration of a sexual organ by any means. Lack of consent can include threats of violence, coercion, manipulation, and physical force. Prosecutors can charge sexual assault as a first or second-degree felony in Texas. In Texas, the sexual assault law covers consensual sexual contact between adults and children (statutory rape) and non-consensual sexual contact (rape).

How long do you go to prison for sexual assault in Texas?

Under Texas law, sexual assault is a second-degree felony. Second-degree felonies carry a sentence of two to 20 years in state prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000. However, prosecutors may elevate the crime to a first-degree felony when the victim was someone the defendant was prohibited from marrying. Alternatively, they may elevate the crime when the defendant was prohibited from living under the appearance of being married to the victim. First-degree felonies are serious, and Texas and are punishable by a prison sentence of five to 99 years in state prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000.

What is the difference between rape and sexual assault in Texas?

Texas’s sexual assault law covers statutory rape as well as rape. In Texas, both of these crimes are referred to as sexual assault.  Rape is one specific type of sexual assault under the Texas Penal Code. The crime commonly called rape involves penetration of a sexual organ without the victim’s consent.

What is the difference between sexual assault and sexual harassment in Texas?

The main difference between sexual harassment and sexual assault is that sexual assault is a crime. Sexual harassment is a civil matter. The majority of sexual harassment claims arise from workplace disputes. Federal employment laws and Texas state laws all prohibit certain types of sexual harassment in the workplace. 

When an employee experiences a hostile work environment or quid pro quo sexual harassment, they can bring a claim against the employer. If the sexual harassment victim succeeds, they can be entitled to compensatory damages in the form of money as well as restitution through getting their job back if they have been fired. 

In sexual assault cases, the state of Texas has a right to bring charges against the perpetrator by prosecuting them in a criminal court. When the prosecution successfully convinces the court that the defendant has committed sexual assault, the defendant will be sentenced accordingly. 

What is considered statutory rape in Texas?

Statutory rape is defined as sexual activity between a person 18 or older and a person under the age of 17. Even if the two parties consent to the sexual activities, it is still considered legal in Texas. A person under the age of 17 is below the age of consent. Under Texas law, people under the stage are considered legally incapable of consenting to sexual activity. As mentioned above. Statutory rape is included in Texas has sexual assault law and is referred to as sexual assault.  

Several different crimes fall under the statutory rape umbrella, and each one of the crimes has its penalties. These crimes include indecency with a child, sexual assault, and aggravated sexual assault. Indecency with a child refers to an adult engaging in sexual touching meant to gratify or arouse the sexual desire of a person with a minor under age 17. Those convicted face up to 20 years in jail.

What is the minimum sentence for rape in Texas?

The minimum prison sentence for sexual assault, which includes rape, is two years in state prison.

What is the average sentence for rape in Texas?

The average prison sentence for rape in Texas depends on the specific charge of sexual assault the defendant is facing. Your sentence will depend on the nature of your offense, the age and or disposition of the victim, and whether you have a previous criminal record. In addition to prison time, those convicted of sexual assault will suffer a negative impact on their reputation, relationships, and may have to pay significant fines up to $10,000. They will also have to register as a sex offender.

What is the Romeo and Juliet law in Texas?

The Romeo and Juliet law is an exemption to Texas is statutory rape laws. This exemption allows teenagers and young adults who engage in sexual activity with teens under the age of consent to avoid being classified as sex offenders. Some young adults engaged in consensual sex with teenagers under 17 have protection from prosecution and are exempted from registering as a sex offender. This exemption requires the following four conditions to be met:

  • Both parties consent to the sexual relations
  • Neither party is a registered sex offender
  • The other party is at least 14 years old, and
  • There is no more than a three year age gap between the two individuals

For example, suppose an 18-year-old has sex with a 16-year-old. In this scenario, the Romeo and Juliet law will protect the 18-year old from being prosecuted for sexual assault. However, if a 20-year-old has sex with a 16-year-old, the 20-year-old could be prosecuted because they are more than three years older than the minor party.

What is considered felony rape?

In Texas, aggravated sexual assault is the most severe rape charge and is considered a first-degree felony. Aggravated sexual assault can cover many types of sexual assaults, but it typically includes sexual abuse of children and sexual acts involving people of legal adult age. The prison sentence for those convicted of felony rape in Texas is anywhere between five and 99 years.

DOUGLAS WILDER

I am dedicated to the defense of my clients but that only tells a portion of who I am. I have been practicing law since 1995.

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