Sexual Assault under Texas Criminal Law


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Sexual offense or abuse is when one person intentionally, knowingly or recklessly harms another person or threatens to harm another person sexually and without the other partyís permission.

Sexual abuse is clearly outlined by law as a separate offense from physical abuse. Sexual offenses are expressly explained to be carnal in nature, and many cases tend to leave the victim damaged more psychologically than physically. These offenses affect both sexes; however, more crimes are documented with women than with men. Some states require those convicted of these crimes to be placed on a criminal sex offender list, as well as to pay fines and/or serve potential jail sentences.

Sexual Offenses with Physical attack

Serious forced physical attacks combined with sexual offenses tend to have heightened penalties upon conviction. Many factors may contribute to these more serious crimes. The act of brutally harming one physically or attempting to kill another is considered severe. Another serious offense is placing a victim in a state of fear for their life. The state of fear may be constant, such as a kidnapping, or it may be momentary as when the attacker has a weapon. Committing these acts with a partner or with multiple partners may cause a greater penalty when convicted. Extraordinary punishments may be incurred by using drugs to assist in sexual offenses, involving the very young, very old or disabled. When one is younger than 14, the general law is that the minor cannot provide consent. When one is older than 50, it is also possible consent cannot be given based on the individual.

Victimís Consent

One gives up consent when forceful doings are threatened. Fear of being hurt, dying, or lasting damage forces one to only think about surviving. When a victim is required to participate in these actions, this is not considered permission. A threat of possible harm looms over them, and permission cannot be given when force or intimidation are used. Whether the object of harm has a connection with the attacker or not, any negative response to potential sexual acts is considered nonconsensual. If a person has drunk to the point of passing out or has been drugged, there is no possible affirmative response for sexual acts. This is also considered nonconsensual. The physically or mentally disabled are included in not being able to give consent. Having custody of one, or having authority over others removes the ability to have intimate relations with them. These may be teachers, managers or even family members. Permission to engage in sexual acts with another may not be compelled, inferred or presumed.

Punishments to Fit the Crime

When severe physical harm is not threatened upon the target, penalties are considered to be less serious. However, these cases are still considered felonies. The fine is usually no more than $10,000 with a potential jail sentence anywhere from two to 20 years of incarceration. These felonies follow the criminals and must be written on various applications when filing for numerous appointments. The most notable are for school and jobs. In some cases the penalties for these crimes become more serious. When there is significant age difference or a relational connection between the two parties, incarceration time may increase to a life sentence.

Grave forced physical attacks combined with sexual crimes are viewed as the most serious. Incarceration of the defendant may be up to 25 years or higher. Fines for these acts may also increase based on the state where the crime is committed. Other penalties may be incurred such as registration as a sexual criminal in local, state and/or federal jurisdictions.

Consult an Attorney

Many cases of sexual offenses may stem from various issues with the target party. Cases may arise that prove the target party gave permission to engage in sexual actions. However, permission may have later been revoked. Possible actions of the defending party may have caused the target to become angry with them. Some cases may include a defending individual that is mentally unstable. A plea of insanity may be the best course of action in that situation. Some defendants are very young and do not understand or have the proper knowledge of what nonconsensual means or actions during the sexual activities did not suggest in any way that the event was nonconsensual. To ensure these allegations do not mare oneís record, it is best to consult an attorney immediately. Serious penalties may result with the loss of time or preparation.

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Disclaimer: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide legal advice as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with an expert and/or lawyer. For specific technical or legal advice on the information provided and related topics, please contact the author.

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