Sexual Offenses

Society in general, and Texas courts in particular, deal very harshly with sex offenders. In addition to punishments outlined in the penal code, there are very important consequences to accepting any sort of guilty or no contest plea to a sex crime. One very important concern for someone facing a sex charge is being a registered sex offender for the rest of their life. In addition to all of one's community knowing that they are a sex offender there are many rules and regulations a sex offender must obey or they will risk being put in prison.

What is Sexual Assault of a Child?

It is an offense that involves sexual activity with a person under 17 years of age. The law provides that anyone under the age of 17 cannot consent to sexual activity. So even if you and your significant other have consented to sex of any type and you are an adult, you are committing sexual assault of a child. If convicted it involves lifetime registration.

Is that Different than Indecency with a Child?

Yes. Indecency is engaging in sexual contact with a child or exposing one's genitals or causing the child to expose his genitals to the actor with the intent to gratify someone sexually. Indecency with contact requires lifetime registration, whereas indecency by exposure requires a 10 year registration.

What about the Romeo and Juliet Defense?

Romeo and Juliet laws are an affirmative defense for an individual being charged with statutory rape for consensual relations with a partner whose age is three years or fewer than his own. Romeo and Juliet Act laws do not make it legal for individuals whose ages are separated by three years or less on opposite sides of the age of consent to engage in sexual relations. Remember, a child (someone under 17) can NEVER consent to sexual activity. These laws will not stop the police from arresting such an individual or the prosecutor from pressing charges. Rather, it is a defense that Pullan & Young will have to present at trial.

What makes this charge aggravated?

If the child was under 14 years old, a deadly weapon is used, or serious bodily injury is threatened, a sexual assault of a child will be aggravated.

What is an outcry witness?

An outcry witness is the first person, eighteen years or older, other than the defendant, to whom the child victim made a statement about the offense. An "outcry" is a statement that would not be admissible unless it fits a very specific legal exception. Frequently, the prosecution will attempt to use an "Outcry" to present testimony much broader than permitted by the actual rule itself.

Can I get a Deferred Adjudication on a sex case?

Possibly. However, even if you receive "Deferred Adjudication" and are told that your case will eventually be dismissed you will likely have to continue registering as a sex offender. This will change your life for the worse in a profound way.
Before you take any kind of plea deal that involves a sex offense make certain your lawyer informs and educates you about the potential consequences of a plea.

Does the Montgomery County District Attorney's Office treat these cases differently?

Yes. Montgomery County has a specialized division that is devoted to prosecuting sex offenders. These prosecutors have more time to focus on each case and are extremely aggressive and personal in pursuing their cases. Having Pullan & Young on your side is the best way to protect yourself from these types of allegations.

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