In Texas, prior to September 2019, what is commonly referred to as “groping” would likely have been charged as a Class “C” assault. However, an unwanted touch that is sexual in nature can now be charged as a Class “A” misdemeanor known as Indecent Assault in many instances. Although this is a new law, Indecent Assault is being charged more frequently throughout the Houston area. If you are charged with Indecent Assault, it is important that you hire an experienced Houston sex crimes attorney to help protect your freedom, criminal record, and reputation.
Under Texas Penal Code 22.012, a person can be charged with Indecent Assault if it is alleged that he, without consent, and with the intent to arouse or gratify the sexual desire of any person:
- Touches the anus, breast, or any part of the genitals of another person;
- Touches another person with the anus, breast, or any part of the genitals of any person;
- Exposes or attempts to expose another person’s genitals, pubic area, anus, buttocks, or female areola; or
- Causes another person to contact the blood, seminal fluid, vaginal fluid, saliva, urine, or feces of any person.
Indecent Assault is a Class “A” misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail and a $4000 fine. Unlike many other sex crimes, it is not an offense that requires sex offender registration upon conviction or completion of probation. However, it should be noted that if some of the behaviors that constitute the offense are alleged to have been committed against a child, that could potentially lead to a charge of Indecency with a Child, which is a far more serious crime.
How Can I Get an Indecent Assault Case Dismissed?
A dismissal of an Indecent Assault charge should always be the goal. Just like any other criminal case, your lawyer will typically have to obtain the evidence to be able to evaluate the case and put together the best defense. In a case, the evidence will typically consist of offense reports, witness statements, and videos. In the Houston area, it can frequently take six months or more before all of the evidence in an Indecent Assault case is received by the defense.
A common defense in an Indecent Assault case is that the alleged touching never took place and that the complaining witness is either lying or mistaken. Another defense is that the touch was an accident. Under Texas law, it is required that the alleged Indecent Assault was done intentionally. Additionally, the State must also prove that the Indecent Assault was committed “with the intent to arouse or gratify the sexual desire of any person.” In other words, if the touch was not sexual, then it cannot be an Indecent Assault.
An experienced criminal defense attorney can maximize your chances of getting the case dismissed before trial, by exposing a serious flaw in the State’s case or negotiating a dismissal under some other conditions. If the case is not dismissed, then you will have to choose between a trial and a plea agreement. Having an experienced attorney on your side will allow you to make the correct decision.
It is critical to do everything possible to get the case dismissed or to obtain a “not guilty” verdict at trial. If your case is dismissed, or if you win a trial, you will be eligible for an expunction. In an Indecent Assault case, an expunction will result in all records of the offense being destroyed and you will even be able to deny the existence of the arrest. An expunction is the ultimate goal in a case and having the right attorney in your corner can help make that possible.
Attorney Jose Ceja is a former prosecutor and regularly obtains excellent results in all types of sex-related offenses throughout the Greater Houston area. If you are charged with Indecent Assault, Ceja Law Firm is an excellent choice. Call today for a free consultation.