Any sex crime allegation brings with it the stigma of "guilty" before ANY evidence has been presented. Once a sex crime allegation is made, law enforcement sets out to prove the allegation to be true rather than to look objectively at ALL of the facts surrounding the allegation. The accused is then placed in a position of having to prove that the crime did not occur. A sex crime accusation shifts the burden to the accused more than any other accusation.
Sex crimes come with harsh punishments— a majority of the force of law is concentrated on deterring the predation of innocent children by perverse adults. Nonetheless, the law can unfairly include consensual relations between sexually active teenagers as condemnable acts. A sexually active individual under 17 in the State of Texas can be either the victim or defendant in any given sex crime case. Moreover, he or she may be tried in the adult criminal system even as a minor. Thus, a sexually active teenager may very well face the same criminal charges as a sexual predator.
The criminal laws regarding sexual offenses govern both the juvenile justice system and the adult system, and this creates a pertinent problem for rulings. Determining the legality of certain sexual acts in consideration of the actors’ age becomes a difficult process. All too often, teens and adolescents undergoing sexual development participate in sexual exploratory activities that can be criminalized under the law.
Because there are so many facets to sexual offenses, a good place to start is delineating who can be charged with sexual offenses and in which court system. In the adult criminal justice system, cases typically involve an adult accused of sexually assaulting another adult or child. They can also include an adult accused of solicitation of a minor or distributing child pornography. On the other hand, a 17 year old minor or even a juvenile certified as an adult may be prosecuted for sexually assaulting an adult or child in the adult system. In the juvenile criminal system, a juvenile is taken as anyone from 10 to 16 years age. Such an individual may be prosecuted in the juvenile criminal system for sexually assaulting an adult or child. A juvenile may also be accused of a crime for possessing or distributing child pornography, basically photographs of children their age. Nevertheless, which system an individual is placed in depends not only on their age but also their overall disposition.
Perhaps the heaviest cost of a sex crime conviction is the requirement that you register as a sex offender. Texas requires anyone convicted after September 1, 1970, of a sex offense or similar crime that requires registration must now register or face prosecution. The list of crimes is as follows:
- indecency with a child
- sexual assault
- aggravated sexual assault
- prohibited sexual contact
- compelling prostitution
- sexual performance by a child
- possession or promotion of child pornography
- aggravated kidnapping if the crime was committed with intent to abuse the victim sexually
- burglary if the burglary was coupled with sexual assault or aggravated kidnapping
- unlawful restraint, kidnapping, or aggravated kidnapping
- a second conviction for indecent exposure
- any crime under the Uniform Code of Military Justice that meets the requirements of these previously mentioned crimes (note: you must be an active member of the military)
Paul Doyle believes you should fight fire with fire. These cases need to be investigated thoroughly and aggressively. No stone can be left unturned. If you are charged with a sex crime, or are being investigated for one, you should contact Paul Doyle immediately.