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How Do Texas Laws Define Child Sexual Abuse?

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Texas takes a harsh stance on child sexual abuse and has passed stringent laws to punish offenders. Individuals who have been convicted of child sex abuse charges could spend anywhere from a couple of years to life in prison, depending on the circumstances involved.

Additionally, individuals convicted of child sexual abuse will be required to register their names, addresses, and other information on the Texas Sex Offender Registry, which is easily accessible to the public.

If you or a family member have been accused of child sexual abuse, you must obtain qualified legal representation immediately. Due to the potential consequences involved, anyone facing an allegation cannot afford not to have a skilled lawyer on their side who can fight to protect their legal rights.

Contact our law office and ask to schedule a free initial consultation so that we may discuss your case and determine what legal strategies may be available to defend your rights and reputation.

What Are the Different Types of Child Sexual Abuse Charges in Texas?

Texas has several different options regarding the types of child sexual abuse charges that may be filed against those accused of improper behavior with children.

These legal charges include:

  • Continuous Sexual Abuse of a Child: An individual may be charged with continuous sexual abuse of a child if there have been at least two acts of sexual abuse and they have occurred over a period greater than 30 days. The accused must be at least 17 years old, with the victim younger than 14 at the time of the alleged incidents.
  • Aggravated Sexual Abuse of a Child: An individual can be charged with this offense If it is alleged that the accused committed a sexual assault against a child younger than 14 as defined by Texas law.
  • Sexual Assault of a Child: An individual can be charged with this offense if they commit an act of sexual assault against a child younger than 17, as defined by Texas law.
  • Indecency with a Child by Contact: An individual may be charged with indecency with a child by contact if they engaged in sexual contact with a child younger than 17 or with the intent to arouse or gratify sexual desires. Sexual contact includes touching of any part of the genitals, anus, or breast.
  • Indecency with a Child by Exposure: An individual may be charged with this offense if they expose their genitals or anus to a child younger than 17 years old, knowing the child is present, or if they cause the child to expose their genitals or anus.

What Are the Sentencing Guidelines For Individuals Convicted of Child Sexual Abuse?

Texas has strict penalties imposed on individuals who are convicted of child sexual abuse charges. Texas sentencing guidelines include:

  • Third-degree felony: Two to 10 years in state prison and a fine of up to $10,000. Some examples of third-degree felonies include but are not limited to indecency with a child or possession of child pornography.
  • Second-degree felony: Two to 20 years in state prison and a fine of up to $10,000. Examples include sexual performance of a child under the age of 14, child trafficking or aggravated sexual assault, and possession of child pornography with intent to distribute.
  • First-degree felony: Life in prison or 5 to 99 years and a fine of up to $10,000. Some examples include sexual assault of a child under 6 and continuous sexual abuse of a child.

Anyone who has been accused of a sexual offense that involves a child must hire a criminal defense attorney with experience handling felony cases. Failure to obtain qualified legal counsel could result in the defendant losing their freedom and reputation and destroying their standing in the community.

What Can I Do if I Have Been Falsely Accused of Child Sexual Abuse?

If you have been falsely accused of child sexual abuse, you no doubt feel frightened and unsure of what you can do to fight the charges and protect your reputation. Sadly, many individuals who are accused of child sex abuse are found guilty in the court of public opinion before an investigation can be finished.

However, if you have been accused of the serious crime of child sexual abuse, there are several steps that you must take to protect yourself and your good name. These steps include:

  • Seek legal representation immediately: From the moment that you even think you may be accused of child sex abuse charges; you must hire legal representation. A knowledgeable criminal defense attorney who can advise you of your rights and act as your legal advocate.
  • Gather evidence: Gather any evidence that can support your claim. Evidence may include photos, videos, or anything else you feel will support your claim.
  • Do not discuss the case with others: One of the biggest mistakes that many individuals who have been accused of child sexual abuse is to talk about the case with others or proclaim their innocence on social media. However, the most important thing to remember is not to make a statement to the police but instead exercise your legal right to remain silent.

Finally, do not reach out to the person or family of the individual who has made the allegations against you. Your defense attorney will reach out to witnesses and anyone else who may have a part in the case.

If you have been accused of child sexual abuse, you must follow all of the instructions your defense lawyer gives you. A defense lawyer has a working knowledge of the law, and going against their advice could damage your case.

If you or a loved one are facing criminal charges related to the sexual assault of a child, contact Drehner Law of Houston, TX, at 832-626-0063 and ask to schedule a free, confidential consultation so that we may advise you of your legal rights and determine what legal strategies are suitable for your case.

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