Sexual assault (often referred to as rape) is a serious criminal offense that carries significant and lasting consequences. While each state’s laws for sexual assault vary, sexual assault is essentially defined as the unwanted and offensive sexual contact of a person.
In Texas, sexual assault and aggravated sexual assault are explicitly defined under Texas Penal Code Title 5, Chapter 22, Sections 22.011 and 22.021. Sexual assault is defined as a person intentionally or knowingly causing the penetration of the mouth, anus, or sexual organ of another person without that person’s consent. In Texas, persons under 17 cannot give consent. Also, persons who are threatened or when another is in a position of power or a caregiver legal consent cannot be given. Sexual assault is typically charged as a second degree felony. If the person being charged was prohibited from marrying the victim, the charge becomes a first degree felony.
A sexual assault conviction can carry a prison sentence of 2 to 20 years and a possible fine of up to $10,000. The increased felony, from first degree to second degree, carries an increased prison sentence and the potential for a fine of up to $10,000.
Sexual assault becomes aggravated sexual assault when any of the following is found to have taken place during the alleged assault ‐
A person has:
- Causes serious bodily injury or attempts to cause the death of the victim or has made threats to do so
- Made threats to regarding kidnapping, serious bodily injury, or death of another person
- Exhibited or used a deadly weapon
- Administered a “date rape” drug (i.e. rohypnol)
- The victim is younger than 14, elderly, or disabled
Sexual Assault Penalties in Texas
Aggravated sexual assault is a first degree felony offense. The penalty for aggravated sexual assault is 5 to 99 years in prison or life imprisonment. The minimum prison sentence is increased to 25 years if the victim was younger than 6 at the time of the assault or if the victim was younger than 14 and subjected to physical abuse at the time of the assault.
All convicted sexual assault and aggravated sexual assault offenders must register as a sex offender which has life-long consequences.
Experienced Sexual Assault Defense Attorney
If you are being charged with sexual assault or aggravated sexual assault in Houston, Harris County, or surrounding areas it is important to retain an experienced defense lawyer. Carl Haggard – of The Haggard Law Firm – has over 30 years of experience and a verified winning record defending clients against sexual assault charges in Texas. Call or use the short email form to get a confidential free consultation regarding your charges. Carl is a an Ex-District Chief prosecutor who knows how to provide you the best defense possible. When you contact The Haggard Law Firm we are here to help and will go to work immediately fighting for you.
Houston Texas Criminal Defense Firm
For more information about Texas sex crimes and various factors involved, see our detailed information page: