Of all the charges an individual can face, sex crimes are perhaps the most stigmatized in our society. Although under the law a person is innocent until proven guilty, most people charged with sex crimes find that those around them, even family members and friends, jump to conclusions based solely on the accusations.
Considering the inhospitable treatment given to those accused of a sex crime, it is crucial to make sure a charge does not turn into a conviction. Like other crimes, a sex crime conviction can result in extended jail time sentences and major fines. However, most sex crimes also require those convicted to place their names on a national registry, which must be updated on a regular basis and include personal information for all the world to see. A conviction can also substantially impact a person’s future work prospects, interpersonal relationships, and even restrict where that person is legally allowed to live for many years to come.
If you have been charged with a sex crime, don’t take chances with your defense. At the Law Office of Walker Fults, we know how difficult it can be for anyone in Dallas to be facing sex crimes charges and these potential penalties. We are on your side, and we will fight for your best interests. With the help of an aggressive legal team, you might have your charges reduced or even dismissed altogether.
Types of Sex Crimes
There are a number of different sex crimes, all of them extremely serious and requiring fast, effective legal attention. When facing a sex crime charge of any kind, the lawyer you have on your side makes all the difference.
The law in Texas defines “public lewdness” as public sexual intercourse, sexual contact, or sex involving an animal. Although often perceived as harmless, public lewdness is actually a class A misdemeanor, and carries with it penalties as steep as one year in jail and up to $4000 in fines.
When a person exposes himself to another with the intent to arose that person and shows reckless disregard for whether the act will cause offense, he commits the crime of indecent exposure, a class B misdemeanor, punishable by jail time and fines.
Sexual Assault, or rape, is treated as a 2nd degree felony in Texas, and a conviction carries between 2 and 20 years in prison. The charge is elevated to “aggravated sexual assault” when accompanied by the threat of physical violence, death, or kidnapping. Aggravated sexual assault is a 1st degree felony, punishable by 5 to 99 years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines.
Statutory rape, so called because the law defines those under age 17 as unable to consent to sex as a matter of law, carries penalties just as strict as violent rape. In Texas, if you have sex with someone under the age of 17 and are more than three years older than that person, you can be charged with a second degree felony, punishable by 2 to 20 years in prison. If you have sex with someone under the age of 14, you can be charged with a first degree felony, punishable by 5 to 99 years in prison. Consent is not a defense.
Adam Walsh Act Violations
Passed just in 2006, the Adam Walsh Act is a federal statute that makes a uniform system of registration for those convicted of certain sex crimes. The Act establishes three tiers of offenses, each with different reporting requirements. Failure to follow the reporting guidelines found in the Act can result in new felony charges.
Walker Fults has experience authoring draft judicial opinions related to the Adam Walsh Act from his time clerking in a federal court in Texas. He understands how the Act’s provisions can affect you, and can guide you through each step of the process to ensure you comply with the Act’s requirements. And if you are charged with a first time sexual offense, he will work to shield you from the reach of the Act through a smart defense at trial, or strategic settlement agreement.
Sex Offender Registration Violations
Individuals convicted of a sex crime are required in Texas to register with local law enforcement. In most cases, you must provide your name, address, a photo, and the charge on which you were convicted. Failure to comply with these registration rules can trigger additional charges, just as serious as the first ones.
Indecency with a Child
In addition to statutory rape (see above), individuals can be charged with Indecency with a Child, outlined by Section 21.11 of the Texas Penal Code as various forms of exposure or sexual contact involving a child. This charge can be prosecuted as a 2nd or 3rd degree felony, both punishable by a minimum of two years in prison.
Possession of Child Pornography
Possession of child pornography is a serious criminal charge, one that law enforcement officials are notoriously aggressive in prosecuting to appease public demand. As computers connected to the internet have become ubiquitous in daily life, an individual’s chance of innocently coming across illegal material while browsing the web has grown. There are many reported cases of people having illegal material installed on their personal computers through malware, viruses, or falsely labeled download material. Those charged with possession of child pornography—even if they have never touched a child—face potentially life-altering consequences such as 2 to 10 years in jail, steep fines, and registration on a permanent sex offender database.
Call for a Free Consultation
At the Law Office of Walker Fults, we are committed to defending your rights to the fullest extent, no matter what charge you face. We understand the impact a sex crimes charge can have on your life, career, and public reputation, and we are committed to fighting for your best interests. If you have been charged, don’t wait to start mounting your best defense. Contact the Law Office of Walker Fults today at (214) 797-1861 to learn how we can help you.