Being charged with a sex crime in Texas can have lasting repercussions. State and federal prosecutors aggressively pursue convictions, and the public tends to assume guilt when allegations of sex crimes arise, despite the presumption of innocence. The best way to protect your rights and reputation is to work with an experienced El Paso sex crimes attorney.
The Benjamin Law Firm has a proven track record of successfully defending individuals accused of sex crimes throughout Texas. Founding attorney Brock Benjamin is a highly regarded defense attorney and Board Certified in Criminal Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. As a former prosecutor, he knows how to anticipate the prosecution’s strategy and will fight to protect your freedom. Contact our office today to schedule a consultation.
Sex Crimes Under Texas Law
Crimes deemed to be “sex crimes” under the Texas Penal Code include:
- Continuous sexual abuse of a young child or disabled individual
- Public lewdness
- Indecent exposure
- Indecency with a child
- Improper relationship between an educator and a student
- Invasive visual recording
- Unlawful disclosure or promotion of intimate visual material
- Sexual coercion
- Sexual assault (rape)
- Aggravated sexual assault
- Possession or distribution of child pornography
Because most sex crimes in Texas are a felony, being convicted carries significant penalties, including a lengthy prison sentence and steep fines. You also face mandatory registration as a sex offender, which can limit your housing and employment opportunities. Felony convictions also carry collateral consequences, such as forfeiting your right to vote or to own or possess a firearm. With so much at stake, having an attorney well-versed in defending sex crimes cases is essential.
When Sex Crimes in Texas Are Federal Offenses
The state typically prosecutes sex crimes; however, sex crimes involving minor children or aggravating factors are prosecuted at the federal level. Federal sex crimes related to minors include:
- Child sexual assault and rape
- Sexual exploitation of a child, including coercion, bribery, or enticing a minor to engage in sexual conduct
- Sexual abuse of a minor or ward
- Purchase or sale of a child for sexual purposes
- Possession or distribution of child pornography, including sharing actual or digital material, sexting (sexually explicit text messages), and transmitting information about a minor
Federal sex crimes involving aggravating factors include:
- Aggravated sexual abuse – using force, fear, threats of bodily injury, kidnapping, or death, or rendering the victim unconscious, to coerce an unwanted sexual act
- Human trafficking – using force, fraud, or coercion to recruit, transport, harbor, provide, or obtain a person for commercial sex acts
- Sexual abuse resulting in death
- Interstate activity – traveling to another state with the intent of engaging in a sex crime or buying illicit sexual material (e.g. child pornography) across state lines
- Sexual crimes on federal land or territory, including military bases, reservations, national parks, federal prisons, institutions, and other facilities
- Prior sex crimes convictions
A conviction for a federal sex crime carries mandatory minimum sentencing, fines, and probation. The more severe the crime, the greater the punishment. For example, the penalties for sex crimes involving minor children are severe: a minimum of 15 years and a maximum of 30 years for sexual exploitation of a child. A sex crime that results in the death of another person is punishable by life imprisonment.
Individuals convicted of federal state crimes must comply with national sex offender registration requirements. Finally, the state can simultaneously prosecute a defendant for a state-specific crime in the case of a federal sex crime. The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that a defendant’s protection from double jeopardy is not violated if they are prosecuted in state and federal court for the same sexual act.
Potential Defenses Against Sex Crimes
If you have been charged with a state or federal sex crime, the Benjamin Law Firm will conduct a thorough investigation, weigh the strength of the prosecution’s evidence, and choose the best line of defense, such as:
- Lack of evidence – By collaborating with a respected network of forensic experts and private investigators, we will challenge the validity of scientific evidence and identify and exploit weaknesses in the prosecution’s case.
- Consent– Depending on the nature of the alleged offense, we may be able to raise the victim’s consent as a defense. However, this defense is not available in sex crimes against children because they do not have the legal capacity to consent to sexual acts.
- Entrapment – In a case involving child pornography or the transmission of data concerning minors, entrapment may be a viable defense: another party (e.g. the victim, law enforcement) tricked, baited, or coerced you into committing the crime.
- Mental capacity – Our sex crimes attorney can explore the possibility that you lacked the mental capacity to make a sound decision at the time of the alleged incident.
Brock Benjamin has successfully defended individuals accused of sex crimes and will tailor a defense strategy to the facts of your case. Although he is committed to winning an acquittal, he will be upfront about the case against you and advise you of your best options.
Contact Our Experienced Texas Sex Crimes Attorney
You face an uncertain future if you have been accused of a sex crime in Texas. You can trust the Benjamin Law Firm to provide powerful legal representation and protect your rights. Contact our office today so we can start working on your defense. Se Habla Español.
From our offices in El Paso, Benjamin Law Firm defends clients against state and federal sex crime charges throughout the State of Texas.