Ceja Law Firm, PLLC discusses what you should do if you have been accused of sexual assault on a college campus.

I’ve Been Accused of Sexual Assault On My College Campus: Now What?

Unfortunately, sexual assault is one of the most common safety issues facing colleges and universities today. In fact, according to a study by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), which consisted of 5,000 college students at more than 100 colleges, 20 percent of women reported having been forced to submit to non-consensual sexual intercourse. Since this has been made apparent as a big issue currently plaguing co-eds, college administrations everywhere are taking these allegations more seriously, and treating perpetrators more harshly. Unfortunately, these allegations can have a life-long impact.

Students who are faced with these allegations generally believe that if they share their side of the story that the allegations will simply be dropped. Unfortunately, this is rarely the outcome and an investigation will take shape. 

What is Sexual Assault or Rape?

There are a few different situations in which sexual assault can occur. These include:

  • Using force or the threat of force to make a person have sexual contact without their consent
  • Engaging in sexual contact with an individual who is unable to provide consent due to drugs or alcohol
  • Engaging in sexual contact with someone who is incapable of consent by way of mental, intellectual, or physical disability

Rape, which involves engaging in non-consensual sexual intercourse, is the most severe form of sexual assault. But no matter the degree of sexual assault that you are facing, each should be taken very seriously. 

Charges on a College Campus

Schools that receive federal funding must adhere to Federal laws including those on sexual assault or rape on campus. Under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 and the Clery Act, there are strict steps that must be taken in order to prevent, and when necessary, report, instances of sexual violence among students and faculty. 

Schools will usually impose the harshest penalties including suspension or expulsion. Students who are expelled for rape will commonly find it extremely difficult to be accepted to any programs by another reputable school.

Criminal Charges

Aside from the serious school-imposed penalties that you are likely to receive, if the school administration finds that a sexual assault or rape did occur, it is very likely that they will report it to local law enforcement. When this occurs another investigation will be conducted and if the state finds that there is evidence to believe a sexual assault or rape occurred, they will issue criminal charges. Such a charge will not only result in expensive fines and lengthy prison terms but will also undoubtedly have long-lasting consequences. 

Ceja Law Firm PLLC Can Help

If you or someone you know has been accused of a sexual assault or rape on campus, it can have a profound impact on the rest of your life. That’s why it is so important to consult with a knowledgeable and experienced Texas criminal defense attorney. At Ceja Law Firm PLLC, we understand the serious nature of such charges and strive to have your crime reduced or even dropped. For more information or to schedule a free consultation, contact us today!

Defending Against the Accusation of a Sex Crime

One of the worst things a person can be accused of is committing a sex crime. Regardless of your innocence, and how the court may find, the stigma associated with such a heinous act can follow you around for the rest of your life and affect just about every aspect of it. From your ability to gain residence, to what you do for work, to your ability to find work, a sex crime conviction can hinder so much.

There are many different types of sex crimes for which you may be accused. Such crimes include:

  • Aggravated sexual assault
  • Child molestation
  • Indecent exposure
  • Indecency with a child
  • Online solicitation of a minor
  • Possession of child pornography
  • Rape and “date rape”
  • Sexual assault
  • Statutory rape

Defenses to Sex Crimes in Texas

There are many defenses for the accusation of one of these crimes. These defenses include the following.

Consent

One of the defenses that may be argued is that the accused did in fact have sex/engage in a sex act with the alleged victim, but that (assuming that person had the capacity to make their own decision) such act was consensual. This may often hinge upon whom a jury finds most credible. In certain cases, a defense attorney may be able to bring in the alleged victim’s history as evidence.

Mental Incapacity

Another common defense to such crimes is that the defendant lacked the mental capacity (had a mental disease or deficiency) at the time of the act, therefore preventing them from understanding that their actions were criminal. If it can be proven that a defendant lacked the mental capacity at the time of the act in question, the defendant can be found not legally liable.

Mistaken Identity

In situations in which there is a lack of DNA evidence and several witnesses who are able to corroborate the defendant’s argument that he or she was there but was not involved, a defense may be that there has been a case of mistaken identity. The defense may argue that the defendant was not even present, or that the defendant was present at the time but was not the person who committed the act. A common example of this is when a sexual assault has been alleged to take place at a fraternity house.

When it comes to felony sexual assault cases, only a unanimous verdict can convict the defendant. If there is enough reasonable doubt as to the defendant’s guilt, such a verdict can be prevented.

Ceja Law Firm PLLC Helps Those in Texas Who Have Been Accused of a Sex Crime

If you have been accused of a sex crime, it is not something to be taken lightly. Acquiring a knowledgeable and experienced criminal attorney can make all the difference in the outcome of your case, and ultimately in the rest of your life. At Ceja Law Firm PLLC, we understand the seriousness of such charges and will work to aggressively defend you and your rights. To learn more or to schedule a free consultation, call us at 713.568.5380 today!

Must Sex Offenders in Texas Always Be Registered?

Being charged with a sex crime is a very serious matter. It can have a negative impact on everything from where you live, to where you work, and even your ability to find employment. That’s why it’s important to know: Are sex offenders always considered sex offenders after they are charged?

This question depends on the exact crime with which you have been charged. While some crimes demand sex offender status for life, meaning you will be registered as a sex offender until the day you die, others do not have as long of a duration.

Duration of Sex Offender Registration

For some crimes you may only have to register as a sex offender for ten years, while in other situations you may be able to avoid registration all together due to “individual risk assessment.” Individual risk assessment consists of a process in which the state court looks at your criminal record in order to decide if you are likely to remain a danger to the public and repeat the offense.

According to the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure, individual risk assessment has the potential to terminate your status earlier than scheduled. This can occur after an individual files a motion with a trial court to conduct an individual risk assessment, which is then granted.

Texas Sex Offender Registration

The Texas Sex Offender Registration Program requires sex offenders to register their name, address, photo, and the nature of their offense with local law enforcement. Once registered, this information is made available to the public at large. Those who do not follow these requirements are subject to a warrant for their arrest. They may also receive additional charges.

For an adult sex offender (age 17 and up) registration as a sex offender will last ten years for the below offenses so long as they comply. However, this time period does not begin until after they have finished their parole, community supervision, state supervision, or jail sentence. Sex crimes requiring 10-year registration include:

  • Indecent Exposure, Second Offense
  • Online Solicitation of a Minor
  • Prostitution of Persons Under the Age of 18

Aggravated Convictions Lead to Lifelong Registration for Sex Offenders

Those who commit a sex crime involving a child, violence or both must be registered as a sex offender for life. This includes charges such as:

  • Aggravated Sexual Assault
  • Child Pornography
  • Compelling Prostitution by a Minor
  • Continuous Sexual Abuse of a Child
  • Human Trafficking
  • Indecency with a Child by Exposure
  • Sexual Assault
  • Sexual Performance by a Child

An exception often exists for juvenile sex offenders, those under the age of 17. Juvenile offenders are often permitted to register as a sex offender for 10 years after the disposition of their case or after completing the terms of their disposition, whichever occurs later. However, if the crime is one that would warrant life registration for an adult, they may also be required to do the same.

Ceja Law Firm PLLC Can Help

The best way to avoid having to register as a sex offender is to avoid being found guilty of a sex crime in the first place. That’s why it is so important to consult with a knowledgeable and experienced Texas sex crime defense attorney. At Ceja Law Firm PLLC, we understand the serious nature of such a charge and strive to have your sex crime reduced or even dropped. For more information or to schedule a free consultation, contact us today!