My son is currently charged with sexual assault of a minor under 17 in Texas. The prosecuter has offered 8 years.

Would it be better to do a guilty plea to the judge and let the judge make the sentencing decision. He has not been able to tell his side of the story. There is a 10 year age difference and a child has been born of this relationship. My son turned himself in and has been very cooperative. He has been in County jail for 7 months. We have a lawyer, however my son feels he is not doing enough to push for probation or a lesser sentence. My son knows he must pay but feels that other offenders who have done worse are getting less time. Can anyone tell me if (with his nonexsistent criminal history) it would be better to plead guity to a judge and would an investigation into his past and the history of what really happened be better than taking the 8 years. We are willing to hire another.

Fort Worth, TX -

Attorney Answers (4)

Maverick Ray

Maverick Ray

Criminal Defense Attorney - Houston, TX
Answered

With no criminal history an 8 year offer seems a bit steep. Without knowing the exact ages and facts, whether they were in a relationship, whether they are still in love, how long ago they had a child etc. it's tough to say how the case should turn out. Two weeks ago we had a jury trial on a sexual assault of a child case where the defendant was 20 and the girl was 14 and were both in love and had a child out of their relationship. The jury really struggled with finding him guilty as they felt that they should not be punished for following their feelings. They did end up finding him guilty as it was obvious he broke the law, but gave him probation in punishment. While no two cases are alike and every jury is different, the offer seems A bit high just based on the limited facts you mentioned. Even though my offices are in Houston, if you are serious about this case give my offices a call and we can look into your case and would be willing to travel to Fort Worth to defend your son if we think we can reach a positive outcome for him.

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Lucio Antonio Montes

Lucio Antonio Montes

Criminal Defense Attorney - Houston, TX
Answered

As Mr. Solis stated, you should not expect an attorney to ethically give you an opinion on whether he is getting a good deal. An attorney that regularly practices in the court can give you a better idea after reviewing your son's case.

If he pleads to the judge he is opening himself up to possibly do way more time than what the DA has offered. It is a calculated risk based on the Judge's past decisions, reputation for harshness or leniency, your son's record, the facts of the case, the complaining witnesses cooperation or lack thereof, and any other factors that a local attorney must take into account before they advice their client to plead without an agreed recommendation from the DA. You should speak with the current attorney, as long as your son authorizes it, and get a feel on why he believes it is the best deal he can get. Then if you are not satisfied you should consult with other local criminal defense attorneys to possibly hire them.
Good luck.

Legal disclaimer: My answers are only intended as general legal advice based on my experience. They are not... more
Gary Churak

Gary Churak

Criminal Defense Attorney - San Antonio, TX
Answered

My first question to you is where is the case pending. There are significant differences between the DA's and Judges in Texas on how they look at this type of charge. I have been representing individuals charged with sexual offenses for over 30 years and the plea offer seems a bit high. Under Texas Law the Judge can not grant your son probation, he can however put him on deferred adjudication probation which may or may not be an option in this type of case as some judges refuse to even consider deferred for sex offenders. A jury on the other hand can grant your son probation, likewise theycan sentence him to more than the 8 years offered. My second question to you is was the relationship consenual and if so was the child over the age of 15. This is important for the reason that if the court finds that the relationship was consenual and the offense was solely based upon the age difference the possibility exists that your son may not have to register as a sex offender for life.

Anthony Michael Solis

Anthony Michael Solis

Criminal Defense Attorney - Los Angeles, CA
Answered

If I were you, I would contact Mr. Ray, or a good DFW area attorney to review the case in detail. It is difficult to compare cases to one another--each case is unique, No one on this site should tell your son how to plead--you need someone face to face, with a copy of the file if you can. A good, ethical attorney will tell either confirm that your attorney is giving you good advice and to follow it, or whether they might take a different course, which may (MAY) lead to a different disposition. Good luck. These are always difficult cases, fraught with tough choices on all sides.

No legal advice is given here. My responses to questions on Avvo are never intended as legal advice and must NOT... more

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