What Constitutes “Sexual Performance by a Child in Texas?
In Texas, if you’re charged with Sexual Performance by a Child, it’s a highly severe charge that can impose harsh penalties, including years of jail time and more.
Texas penal code section 43.25 defines this charge and all the various (and sometimes innocuous ways) it can occur.
Sexual performance of a child is a severe criminal offense. It prohibits any adult from requesting a minor to depict their genitals or any portion of the female breast below the top of the areola.
This charge can range from asking a child for a “selfie” to requesting a video. It’s also vital to note that a Sexual Performance of a Child charge can occur with anyone under 18. This differs from other similar criminal offenses where the child is a person under 17. You must also note that this charge can be levied on you even without physical contact with the child.
So, if you encourage a child under 18 years old) to participate in any type of “sexual performance” or engage in “sexual conduct,” you can be charged; this behavior covers a vast array of applicable sexual activities. It also does not matter if you are the child’s parent or guardian or are unrelated to the child.
Sexual performance by a child charge is much more complex than the “Indecency with a Child” charge, although they can be related. An “indecency with a child” charge is the primary “Statutory Rape” offense in Texas, and state attorneys only must prove the child’s age and that sexual contact occurred. Sexual Performance by a Child is a much more legally complex charge, and you, of course, must immediately have the guidance and advice of a Collin or Dallas County criminal defense lawyer.
What Is the Legal Meaning of “Sexual Performance” & “Sexual Conduct”?
In Texas, sexual Performance is defined as any performance or part thereof that includes sexual most any kind of sexual conduct by a child younger than 18 years of age. A “performance” can be a play, video, photograph, dance, selfie, or any other visual “performance” that can be shown to an audience of one or more.
Sexual conduct is even more severe and, in Texas, is defined as “sexual contact which could include actual or simulated sexual intercourse, forms of deviate sexual intercourse, bestiality, masturbation, sadomasochistic abuse, exhibition of the genitals or any portion of the female breast below the top of the areola.
However, being charged with the sexual performance of a child is a more complex charge and, at times, intertwined with the charge of sexual contact.
You must understand that either charge in Texas is severe and could impose life-changing penalties and consequences on you. For example, if convicted of either charge, you almost always will have to register as a sex offender, which has negative impacts on numerous facets of your daily life.
Therefore, if you are facing allegations involving sexual performance by a child in Collin or Dallas Counties, you must reach out to a knowledgeable and experienced sex crimes lawyer immediately.
What Penalties May I Face if Convicted of Sexual Performance of a Child?
If you are convicted of the charge of sexual performance of a child in Texas, the penalties can alter your life forever. They can range from five years in jail to a maximum of 99 years of incarceration.
Most charges for Sexual Performance start at a third-degree felony and progress to a first-degree felony.
Suppose you are convicted of violating subsection “b” of the statutes. In that case, you will usually receive a second-degree felony charge unless the child is younger than 14 years old, in which case the charge moves to a first-degree felony.
The punishment for this charge was updated around 2017, and minor changes to the language of the statute were changed. But this new language made it clear that you don’t need to be aware of the age of the child involved to receive additional and more severe consequences.
You must note that each case involving the sexual performance of a child differs, and so does how you’re charged and the penalties you incur. However, by consulting with an experienced Plano sex crimes defense lawyer, you will best know what you may be facing and the best way to defend yourself.
Are There any “Affirmative Defenses” Against a Sexual Performance by a Child Charge?
Due to the severity of the consequences imposed for this charge, the sooner you get the knowledgeable advice of an experienced Texas sex crimes defense lawyer, the better your chances of reducing, mitigating, or even having your charges dropped.
After analyzing your case, an experienced criminal defense lawyer will have numerous ways to mount a winning defense. However, there are a few specific “affirmative defenses” to this charge that could be used; they are:
- If you (as the defendant) and the child were married at the time of the incident.
- If there exists a valid educational, medical, psychological, psychiatric, judicial, law enforcement, or legislative purpose for the incident to have occurred.
- If you are at most two years older than the child involved. However, this so-called “Romeo-Juliet” provision is only two years of age difference, as opposed to the typical 3-year requirement for most other types of these offenses.
The main thing is don’t hesitate to get legal help as soon as possible. The sooner your Plano sex crimes criminal defense lawyer obtains the specific details of your case, the better they can defend your rights and your freedom!
I Have Been Charged with Sexual Performance of a Child; What Should I Do?
If you’ve been charged with the sexual performance of a child, it’s a serious charge under any circumstances, and you must have professional legal guidance immediately. Also, your lawyer must have a deep familiarity with defending sex crimes and defending them in a trial.
The experienced criminal defense lawyers at the Wilder Law Firm have a winning and lengthy history of defending Texas clients accused of sexual performance of a child and numerous other sex crime charges.
Call them today at (469) 457-4868 and get the aggressive, zealous, and thorough representation you must have when charged with such a severe crime.
Don’t hesitate, as your rights, freedom, and future are in balance.