Sex Crime Offenses in Fort Bend County, Texas

The term “sex crimes” encompasses a broad range of offenses in the state of Texas. If arrested for a sex crime, you can potentially face serious and life-altering consequences, including imprisonment and being branded as a registered sex offender. An experienced Fort Bend County Criminal Defense Attorney can assist in you in protecting your rights and defending sex crimes charges.

What is a Sex Crime in the State of Texas?

Under Texas law, sex crimes are considered an offense against the person and are defined under Title 5, Chapter 21 of the Penal Code. In the state of Texas, a sex crime may be defined as any of the following:

  • Rape/Sexual assault
  • Aggravated sexual assault
  • Sexual abuse of a child
  • Statutory rape
  • Indecent acts involving a child
  • Molestation
  • Incest
  • Indecent exposure
  • Public lewdness
  • Obscenity
  • Possession of pornography
  • Possession of child pornography
  • Promotion or distribution of child pornography
  • Solicitation of a child
  • Online solicitation of a child under age 17
  • Improper photography or visual recording
  • Prostitution
  • Promotion of prostitution
  • Compelling prostitution
  • Improper relationship between teacher and student

Each of these offenses is defined in detail in the Texas Penal Code. As evidenced by this lengthy list, Texas has a fairly broad interpretation of what may constitute a sex crime. If you’ve been charged with one of these crimes, your Fort Bend County Criminal Defense Attorney can assist you in interpreting the statutory definition of the alleged offense in order to give you a better understanding of what you’re being accused of.

How Are Sex Crimes Treated Under Texas Law?

Depending on the type of acts involved, whether or not there was a victim or victims, the age of the alleged victim and the age of the perpetrator, a sex crime may be treated as a misdemeanor or a felony under Texas law. For example, indecent exposure is classified as a Class B misdemeanor while public lewdness is considered to be a Class A misdemeanor offense.

Misdemeanor charges may be enhanced if you receive multiple convictions for the same offense. For example, if you’re arrested for prostitution and you have no prior criminal record, you will likely be charged with a Class B misdemeanor. However, if you have prior convictions for prostitution, you may be charged with a Class A misdemeanor of a state jail felony for repeat offenses.

Certain types of sex crimes are automatically classified as felonies. These include:

  • Child sexual abuse
  • Indecency with a child
  • Compelling prostitution
  • Obscenity
  • Incest
  • Improper photography or video recording for sexual purposes
  • Improper relationship between teacher and student
  • Possession or distribution of child pornography
  • Sexual Assault
  • Aggravated sexual assault

Similar to misdemeanors, felony charges may also be enhanced depending on the type of act involved and the age of the victim. For example, exposing oneself to a child is considered a third degree felony while engaging in sexual contact with a child is classified as a second degree felony. Sexual assault is categorized as a second degree felony but in cases involving serious bodily injury to the victim, use of a deadly weapon, an elderly victim or a victim under age 14, the charge is elevated to aggravated sexual assault and becomes a first degree felony.

How Are Sex Crimes Punished in the State of Texas?

If convicted of a sex crime in Texas, your sentence may range from a $500 fine to life imprisonment, depending on the circumstances of your case. Your Fort Bend County can provide you with specific information about the type of sentence you may be facing but generally, sex crimes in Texas are punished along the following guidelines:

Misdemeanor Sex Crime Penalties

  • Class C misdemeanor: Fine up to $500
  • Class B misdemeanor: $2,000 fine OR up to 180 days in jail OR both
  • Class A misdemeanor: $4,000 fine OR up to 1 year in jail OR both

Felony Sex Crime Penalties

  • State jail felony: 180 days to 2 years in state jail
  • Third-degree felony: 2 to 10 years in prison
  • Second-degree felony: 2 to 20 years in prison
  • First-degree felony: 5 to 99 years in prison

Sex Offender Registration

If convicted of a sex crime in Texas, you may also have to register as a sex offender. The sex offender registry is run and maintained by the Texas Department of Public Safety. Registration is mandatory for adults and juvenile convicted of sex crimes since September 1, 1970.

If you have to register as a sex offender, the following information will be made available to the public:

  • Current photograph
  • Risk level
  • Detailed physical description
  • Employment status
  • Type of offense you were convicted of
  • Home address
  • Date of birth
  • Full name and aliases

Your phone number, Social Security number and driver’s license will not be made public but appearing on the sex offender registry may cause problems in finding employment or a place to live. Failure to properly register as a sex offender and provide the Department of Public Safety with your information is a felony in the state of Texas. You may face jail time if you deliberately avoid registration.

What Should I Do if I’m Charged With a Sex Crime in Texas?

If charged with any of the aforementioned crimes, your first step should be to contact an experienced criminal defense lawyer. Attorney Lee D. Cox specializes in assisting in the defense of individuals charged with rape, sexual assault and other sex crimes in the Fort Bend County area.

As a former prosecutor, Lee understands how frightening an arrest for a sex crime can be and he knows how to aggressively defend your rights against the charges. He is committed to working as an advocate for your innocence and achieving the best outcome possible in your case.

Call 281-762-7345 today for a free evaluation of your case. A conviction for a sex crime can have a long-lasting impact on your life and continue to haunt you long after your sentence is completed. Contact Lee D. Cox now to get the experienced legal representation you need for your Fort Bend County sex crimes case.

20+ Years of Experience in Criminal Defense

I began my career with the District Attorney's office and have been in private practice focusing on criminal defense in Fort Bend and surrounding counties since 2002.

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