Consent Laws in Texas Are Clearly Defined

As there has been a severe need for years to stipulate what consent is and how to address it in sexual assault cases, Texas law, as with several other states, has become more and more apparent.

Victims have a right to protect themselves, and accused offenders have a right to understand what consent consists of and how to avoid accidental charges against them.

Sexual Assault Charges

The charge of sexual assault in Texas refers to knowingly or intentionally penetrating or touching another person in a sexual manner without their consent. As laws are more specific than they may have been before, the consent component can be blurry, and without that piece, charges may be filed.

The age of consent is an important aspect to consider as well. In Texas, if someone is 17 years of age, they can legally consent to having sex with someone else who is at least 17 years of age. If they are under the age of 17, they can not legally give consent in most cases, so charges may be brought against those who have sexual relations with a minors.

What Does It Mean Not to Be Able To Consent?

Consent is imperative in cases of accused assault. Having consent isn’t always black-and-white, however, if the victim is coerced or forced in some way. See the examples below for further clarification.

Teachers – if a teacher or other educator engages in sexual acts with a student, regardless of their age, the student isn’t able to give valid consent, and these actions could result in charges.

Mental health fields – if an individual is receiving mental health care from a psychiatrist, psychologist, or other mental health professional, consent cannot be legally given for a sexual relationship between the two.

Forced consent – if it can be proven that consent was forced rather than given voluntarily, it may not be considered legal consent.

Unconscious persons – if it can be proven that the victim was unconscious at the time of the sexual activity, they cannot legal consent.

Further Examples of Where Legal Consent May Not Be Viable

Mental incapacity – if someone is deemed incapacitated mentally, they cannot legally consent to sexual activity with another.

Treatment Centers or Group Homes – those living at a treatment center while undergoing treatment for alcohol or drugs or those living in group homes for adults with developmental or cognitive disabilities cannot consent to sex with employees at these facilities.

Public servants – police officers, judges, parole officers, and more cannot legally obtain consent for sexual activity from any person whom they may have authority over.

Threats – threats of force may be used to obtain consent, and if it can be proven that the victim was threatened, this isn’t legal consent.

When Being of Legal Age to Consent May Not Matter For a Guilty Charge

In Texas, the burden lies on the perpetrator in sexual assault cases. What this means is that even if the child lied and said they were 17 years old, making them legally able to consent to sexual activity, the offender may still end up with charges. Even if the perpetrator fully believed the child was over the age of 17 and therefore of legal age to consent, charges may still be brought and subsequent convictions.

It’s also important to note that even if a child is 17 and is legally able to consent in the state of Texas if they are taken across state lines or communicated with by online communication, this can make the assault charges governed federally rather than through the state of Texas, which means that the age of legal consent is 18.

Potential Consequences for Sexual Assault

If proven, the offender could face significant consequences for sexual assault. Probation may be an option, or the stay of a sentence, meaning that the offender would need to comply with every single item that is stipulated in their probation for the amount of time that they were sentenced to. For example, if you have no other prior sexual assault charges in any state, our defense attorney can formulate a strategy that may result in probation rather than jail time. If jail time is sentenced, you may be able to have it in limbo, so to speak, in exchange for promising to abide by your probation and remain compliant. If at any time you violate your probation, you may be required to fulfill your sentence in jail or prison.

If the assault charge sticks, the accused may be looking at up to a year in jail if it’s considered indecent assault, up to 20 years in prison if sexual assault is committed, and up to 99 years in jail if aggravated assault is found.

I’ve Been Accused of Sexual Assault: Now What?

If you are facing sexual assault charges, you should understand the severity of these charges, and you should consult an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately. Even if you were under the impression that consent was legally given, if the victim’s team can prove otherwise in court, you may face significant penalties, jail time, and more.

Always remember that you have rights and options. Working with an attorney ensures that your side of the facts is presented to prove your innocence.

Contact us Today

Contact our office today at (254) 274-2227 if you are facing sexual assault charges. The quicker we can gather information and understand your case, the better off everyone is to put together a strategy for the most ideal outcome for our clients.

We offer a face-to-face meeting with potential clients that can last up to thirty minutes so we can thoroughly understand how to help you best.