Houston Sexual Assault Lawyer

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Houston Sexual Assault Attorney

Sexual assault crimes have serious implications for both the defendant and the alleged victims. Those charged with sexual assault in Houston can face years in prison, hefty fines, and serious collateral damages. If you are facing Houston sexual assault crime charges, then a Houston sexual assault lawyer can work with you to analyze the details of your case, come up with a strong defense, and defend you in the courtroom.

At our Houston law firm, Greco Neyland, PC, our Houston criminal defense attorneys have been serving our clients for years based on the core belief that no one is guilty until proven so. We are here to listen to your side of the story, help you understand your rights and the penalties that you might be facing, and work as a team to build a defense that fits your particular situation. We can negotiate with the prosecution on your behalf to get charges or sentences reduced or even dropped.

Houston Sexual Assault Crimes

The Texas Penal Code defines sexual assault and aggravated sexual assault, making both illegal. Sexual assault is behavior or contact that happens without the victim’s explicit consent. Under Texas law, some examples of sexual assault include:

  • The penetration of an anus or sexual organ without getting consent
  • The penetration of an individual’s mouth without getting consent
  • Making an individual have contact with a mouth, anus, or sexual organ without getting consent
  • Making an individual have contact with a mouth, anus, or sexual organ without getting consent

In the Texas Penal Code, sexual assault offenses are listed under Section 22.011 and Section 22.021 and are categorized based on severity. Some sexual assault cases can be defined as aggravated or even super aggravated. Sexual assault cases are considered to be aggravated if the following occurs:

  • The defendant inflicted harm or injury on the victim of the act of sexual assault or another party involved.
  • The defendant killed the victim.
  • The alleged crime involved another individual.
  • A deadly weapon was present or used during the alleged crime.
  • A child under 14 was involved in the alleged crime.
  • Substances were deliberately used to impair the victim during the alleged crime.
  • Threats to traffic, kidnap, harm, or kill were used during the alleged crime.

Because the penalties for sexual assault or aggravated sexual assault are serious and life-altering, it is crucial to get in contact with a criminal defense lawyer right away if you are facing charges in Houston.

With such cases, the more time that you have to prepare evidence and your defense, the higher your likelihood of having positive outcomes for a case. A dedicated attorney from Greco Neyland, PC, can help you today.

Sexual Assault Penalties in Houston, Texas

Sexual assault in Houston, Texas, is classified as a second-degree felony. If convicted of a sexual assault crime, defendants can expect to spend a range of two to 20 years in prison and pay up to $10,000 in fines. In addition to this, all individuals found guilty of sexual assault must register as a sex offender for life.

The penalties for aggravated sexual assault are even more intense, as this crime is classified as a first-degree felony. A conviction for such a crime can result in prison sentences of five to 99 years, a fine of up to $10,000, and lifelong registration as a sex offender.

Certain factors can increase your likelihood of receiving greater penalties, which can be referred to as super aggravated sexual assault. Factors that can make these crimes extremely severe include:

  • The minor that the defendant assaulted was under 14, and the offense occurred twice, being 30 days since the last time.
  • The assault victim was under six years of age.
  • The victim faced serious harm.
  • There was an attempt to murder the victim.

Collateral Consequences of a Sexual Assault Conviction in Houston

If you have been convicted of a sexual assault crime in Houston, this can have an impact on your life far beyond your prison sentences and associated crimes. Collateral consequences can affect aspects of your life at both work and home. If you are facing restricted rights as a sex offender in Houston, a criminal defense attorney from Greco Neyland, PC, can help you explore your options.

Professional Challenges

Based on your reputation as a sex offender, certain businesses or stakeholders may not want to work with you. You may lose your professional license or access to gaining one as well, such as your nursing or legal license. As a sex offender, it is extremely difficult to be hired for a position in a school, medical center, sports facility, or daycare, for example.

Furthermore, you may not even be hired to work in retail, restaurants, or bars, as employers from these industries often do not hire sex offenders because these jobs require much interaction with the public. Because you are completely barred from going through child safety zones, you would not be eligible for any job that would require you to cross them.

Restrictions on Your Movement

Being on parole, probation, or registered as a Houston sex offender means that your movements are restricted and under supervision. For example, if you are planning to stay in another county for more than a week’s time, you will have to be registered with the law enforcement agency in that jurisdiction. In any county or state that you move to, study in, or work in, you will have to be registered there as well.

Texas child sex offenders who are on parole or probation cannot live in or be in places that are within a 500-foot radius of a child safety zone. Such zones include:

  • Schools
  • Daycares
  • Parks
  • Youth centers
  • Playgrounds
  • Playgrounds

Typically, these restrictions only last for the duration of the probation. Nevertheless, it is critical to have a criminal defense lawyer on your side who can help protect your rights as a registered sex offender.

Internet and Social Media Blockage

If the sexual assault crime that you are convicted of involves the use of the internet or social media, then you can be banned from using one or the other. For example, if you used social media to carry out the alleged crime, there could be a court order to keep you from using both the internet and social media. In some cases, you may not even be able to use a phone or computer that has an internet connection.

Because the collateral consequences of being convicted of a sexual assault crime can be far-reaching and long-lasting, it’s important to work with a talented group of criminal lawyers in the Houston area who can fight for you to minimize the negative outcomes of your case. They can negotiate with prosecutors and bring forward solid evidence and arguments on your behalf to optimize your verdict.

How Can a Houston Sexual Assault Attorney Assist Me?

If you are facing charges for a Houston sexual assault crime, then you may be wondering whether you should hire a criminal attorney or try to represent yourself. To help make this decision, it is useful to understand how a sexual assault attorney can assist you with your case. A sexual assault attorney can help with the following:

  • Informing You of Your Rights: In such cases, all defendants of sexual assault crimes must be aware of their rights to protect their interests and avoid incriminating themselves. A sexual assault lawyer can ensure that you are aware of your rights before, during, and after a trial.
  • Gathering Critical Evidence: A federal criminal defense lawyer can understand the case and the arguments that the prosecution is bringing against you. Your defense attorney can thoroughly investigate your case to bring out clear evidence to back up your story. They can also use their findings to show faulty logic in the prosecution’s arguments.
  • Proving Consent: A key factor of sexual assault crimes involves proving that the act was nonconsensual. Therefore, your criminal defense attorney can bring forward evidence to prove that the act was indeed consensual, which could help you eventually get your charges dropped.
  • Challenging the Prosecution’s Evidence: By looking at the evidence that the prosecution is using to incriminate you and support their argument, such as by cross-examining witnesses, an experienced lawyer can help point out inconsistencies in their arguments or file motions that certain evidence was obtained illegally.
  • Presenting an Alibi: If your criminal defense lawyer can present a reasonable alibi on your behalf, then they may be able to prove that false accusations are being brought forward or that your identity has been mistaken with that of another person.
  • Negotiating a Plea Bargain: In some cases, it is preferable to come to a settlement with the prosecution outside of court to receive minimal penalties. A seasoned sexual assault case attorney can leverage key negotiation tactics to help you get the deal you need.
  • Defending You in Court: If you are ultimately indicted by a grand jury, and negotiations out of court cannot come to a fair deal, the optimal option may be for you to go to trial. A sexual assault attorney can make sure that you receive critical representation in the courtroom. Your lawyer can bring forward strong legal arguments and present key evidence, such as witness testimony.
  • Providing Emotional Support: Being charged with a sexual assault crime is not only financially taxing, but it can also take an emotional toll. A compassionate sexual assault attorney can provide vital support by listening to and considering your story, ultimately working to defend it with conclusive evidence.

In federal sexual assault cases, the prosecution will need to show that you are guilty of committing the alleged crime beyond a reasonable doubt. An experienced federal sexual assault lawyer can look at the medical evidence that was obtained to support the prosecution’s argument, as well as the credibility of a witness or witnesses, to work toward getting faulty or falsely obtained evidence suppressed.

If you have been accused of federal sexual assault crimes in Houston, such as child sex crimes, indecent exposure, or rape, then the legal team from Greco Neyland, PC, can support you in getting the representation that you need.

We can analyze the charges being brought against you and ensure that the federal criminal legal process is being conducted in a way that defends and protects your rights. Through every step of the way, we can push legal tactics to reach the ultimate goal of minimizing your case penalties or having your case dropped completely.

What Is the Legal Age of Consent for Sexual Acts in Houston, Texas?

In Texas, an individual cannot give legal consent for a sexual act until they are 17 years of age. However, there are certain exceptions to this rule. If the victim, or the younger individual who is not of the age of consent, has a minimum age of 14, and the difference of age with the defendant is less than three years, then the act is not illegal. This is informally known as the “Romeo and Juliet” statute, which is common in many states.

The gender identity and sexual orientation of the alleged victim and offender are not relevant in cases involving lack of consent due to age. For example, if a female aged 18 has sexual relations with a male who is aged 14, then the act is a sexual offense, specifically, statutory rape. It is possible, however, for an 18-year-old to date a 14-year-old as long as no sexual relations are taking place until the 14-year-old turns 17.

Under the “Romeo and Juliet” laws, there can be a certain criminal penalty exception for some individuals who are convicted of statutory rape. While some defendants might not meet the requirements of having sexual relations with someone who is older than 14 and within three years of their age, there are certain conditions in which they will receive penalties but might not have to register as a sex offender. In such cases, the victim must be at least 15 years of age and within four years of the age of the defendant.

It’s important to note that, in cases of statutory rape, asserting that you did not know the age of the victim at the time of sexual engagement is not a sufficient defense. If you are being charged with sexual offenses that involve a minor, such charges can seriously impact your life, resulting in severe penalties and mandatory registration as a sex offender. A knowledgeable lawyer from Greco Neyland, PC, can fiercely represent you and make sure that your rights are protected.

Registering as a Texas Sex Offender

As a penalty for sexual assault crimes, you will be required to register with the federal government as a sex offender, as well as in the Texas Sex Offender Registration Program, which provides personal information about yourself to local law enforcement where you are residing. Registration requirements for such cases usually last for life. Such information will include:

  • Your address
  • Your photograph
  • Your fingerprints
  • The offense
  • The resulting sentence
  • The age of the victim

If you fail to register as a sex offender in Houston, Texas, it is a third-degree felony. Therefore, it is critical to get adequate legal representation that can help ensure that you are properly registered with the relevant local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies. That way, you can avoid facing further incrimination.

At Greco Neyland, PC, our sexual assault legal team understands the negative impacts that being registered as a sex offender can have on your life. There are certain circumstances in which you are able to have your sex offender status voided, which we can help you explore. We can analyze the details of your previous charges and penalties and work to help you get your sex offender status dropped.

Get Fierce and Informed Legal Representation From a Houston Sexual Assault Lawyer

If suspect that you are being investigated for or charged with sexual assault crimes in Houston, then it is of utmost importance that you act quickly to get adequate legal representation.

If you are under investigation, the experienced and passionate Houston legal team at Greco Neyland, PC, can assess the investigations being carried out against you, , as well as keep your rights protected during a grand jury indictment hearing. If your case goes to trial, we can do all that is needed to optimize your case outcome. Contact us today to get started.

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