Houston Sexual Assault Defense Attorney

Sexual battery is one of Texas’ most seriously punishable crimes, carrying at least a two-year prison sentence. Sexual assault includes many crimes that are commonly known as sexual assault and rape. Oftentimes, these cases involve one person’s word against another’s and deal with withdrawn consent or remorse.

If you are accused of crimes that fall under sexual assault, you need the assistance of an experienced criminal defense attorney you can trust. Attorney Jose Ceja of Ceja Law Firm is a former prosecutor who now represents the rights of those wrongfully accused in the Houston area. If you need a criminal defense attorney, Ceja Law Firm has the experience you are looking for. 

Sexual Assault Defined

Texas law defines sexual assault as intentionally causing penetration of the mouth, anus, or sexual organ of another person without that person’s consent. Sexual assault also includes causing the sexual organ of another person’s sexual organ to penetrate the mouth, anus, or sexual organ of someone else, including the actor, without that person’s consent. In short, causing sexual penetration to another person without consent is a crime, and causing another person to sexually penetrate yourself is also a crime.

Consent

Consent is an important aspect of sexual assault and may be understood differently by one person or another. Sexual assault requires showing the supposed victim did not consent to the act. A sexual assault occurs without consent when:

  1. Physical force, violence, or coercion compel another person to submit or participate in the sexual act;
  2. A credible threat of violence against a person or a third party compels the other person to participate in the sexual act; 
  3. The other person is unconscious or physically unable to resist a sexual act;
  4. The other person is not mentally capable of consenting;
  5. The other person is unaware the sexual act is occurring;
  6. The other person is unknowingly under the influence of a chemical or substance given by the person performing the sexual act;
  7. The actor is a public servant using his or her position to coerce the other person into the act; or
  8. The actor is a physician, clergyman, correctional officer, or another person in a position of power or authority over the other person and takes advantage of that position to conduct sexual penetration.

Sexual Assault of a Child

Sexual assault of a child under the age of 17 includes the acts of penetration of the mouth, anus, and sexual organ of a child, but also includes oral sex acts performed on or by the child. The biggest difference is that it does not matter if the child consents to the act. If the child is under the age of 17, any sexual penetration is a crime.

Aggravated Sexual Assault

Aggravated sexual assault occurs when the actor causes serious bodily injury or attempts to cause the death of the victim when committing the sexual assault, uses a deadly weapon to commit the crime, or gives the victim an impairing drug or substance. If the sexual act occurs in a sex trafficking situation it is also considered aggravated sexual assault.

Defenses to Sexual Assault

Having consent from the purported victim is also a defense. Consent is largely subjective, meaning the accused believed at the time that he or she consented to perform the sexual act. An experienced attorney can highlight facts and circumstances in a case or inconsistencies in a supposed victim’s story that would support showing the accused had consent at the time.  

Additionally, the Texas statute provides defenses for sexual assault of a child where the actor is married to the child or the actor is no more than three years older than the child at the time of the act. Other defenses are similar to the defenses in other criminal cases, such as insufficient or inadmissible evidence, improper search and seizure, and violation of other constitutional rights. 

Punishment

Sexual assault is a felony in Texas, carrying a punishment of between 2 years to life in prison. An aggravated sexual assault carries a punishment of no less than 5 years to life in prison. If an aggravated assault against a victim under the age of 6 or a victim under the age of 14 with aggravating factors carries a punishment of a minimum of 25 years in prison. Also, punishment may include fines of up to $10,000.  

Sex Offender Registry

In addition to jail time and fines, a conviction for sexual assault is a reportable conviction under Texas’ sex offender registration program. This means a conviction for child pornography requires registering as a sex offender in a public registry. In addition to reporting requirements, a registered sex offender cannot live within 500 hundred feet of a school, park, or other public space utilized by children. Registration may also impose restrictions on your ability to access and use the internet and social networking websites. Finally, because sex offenders must report their registration status it may be difficult to find employment in many professions that deal with the public and minors. 

Contact Ceja Law Firm Today 

If you are under investigation for or have been charged with a sex crime, contact Ceja Law Firm today. Located in Houston, attorney Jose Ceja is a criminal defense attorney with experience in protecting the rights of those accused of serious crimes. As a former prosecutor, Attorney Ceja knows both sides of the Texas criminal justice system and knows how to use it for your benefit. 

Attorney Ceja understands sexual assault cases are complex and often hinge on a subjective understanding of consent or are the result of false accusations. Attorney Ceja aggressively represents the interests of his clients and fights to obtain the best outcome in each client’s case. Contact Ceja Law Firm to schedule a consultation today and take comfort in his experience and dedication.