While sex-related crimes are always taken seriously, these are viewed as especially heinous by law enforcement and prosecutors when the victim is under the legal age of consent. Under Chapter 22 of Assaultive Offenses, §22.021, the crime of aggravated sexual assault is addressed. The law defines this crime as the intentional and knowing act of causing penetration of the anus of sexual organ without consent, the penetration of the mouth without consent or causing a person’s sexual organ to contact or penetrate the mouth, anus or sexual organ of another person.
Aggravated sexual assault already carries serious penalties, there are cases where it can become enhanced even more and be charged under §22.021(a)(2)(A). This occurs should during the commission of the assault, serious bodily injury befall the victim, the victim be placed in fear of death, the victim be threatened with death, injury or kidnapping, or if a deadly weapon was used. It can also occur should the victim be administered flunitrazepam, commonly referred to as rohypnol, gamma hydroxybutyrate or ketamine.
When these crimes are committed against a child, law enforcement and prosecutors will take even further steps to track down the alleged criminals and to prosecute. Should a conviction happen, the defendant will be facing criminal penalties of a first degree felony with a minimum of 25 years of incarceration if the victim is younger than six years of age or if the victim was younger than fourteen years of age and the crime was carried out as described in §22.021(a)(2)(A). Under a recent update to Texas law, these are deemed as Super Aggravated Sexual Assault or Aggravated Aggravated Sexual Assault and can be penalized for up to a life term sentence; this was passed in 2007 in an attempt to keep these criminals from reoffending.
Unfortunately, in many cases false accusations can be made. As society is so hypersensitive to crimes of this nature, it has led many to refer to the epidemic of false allegations as a “modern day witch hunt" and has left many innocent people caught in the traps. It is important to keep in mind that while legally, a person is to be considered innocent until proven guilty, this is not always the reality that the accused will face. Many will treat the accused as if they have already been convicted and many will find themselves facing an uphill battle in an attempt to prove their innocence and fight for a just outcome.
For this reason, it is highly encouraged that those who are criminally charged do not hesitate to get the involvement of an experienced criminal lawyer who is well-versed in sex crime defense. These are delicate cases and they require an attorney who is willing to invest the necessary time and energy into creating a viable defense. It is also important that a lawyer take the time to provide discrete representation as even an allegation of a sex-related crime against a child is enough to cause irreversible personal and professional damage if not handled correctly. If you have recently been criminally charged or if you have a loved one that is dealing with criminal accusations, then do not hesitate to pick up the phone and contact an attorney from a reputable firm. With so much at stake, you do not have the luxury of taking your time. You need to take action to ensure that your future is protected and that everything possible is being done to help protect you.