Types of Sex-Related Crimes
In Texas, sex crimes involve various kinds of non-consensual sexual conduct, including sexual assault, rape, statutory rape, indecent exposure, and other sexual behaviors exhibited toward another person. Some of the most common sex-related offenses in the state of Texas include:
Sexual Assault (Rape)
Under Texas Penal Code Section 22.011, a person commits the offense of sexual assault if they intentionally or knowingly:
- Penetrates the anus or sexual organ of another person by any means, without the victim's consent
- Penetrates the mouth of another person by the defendant's sexual organ without the victim's consent
- Causes the sexual organ of another person, without that person's consent, to contact or penetrate the mouth, anus, or sexual organ of another person, including the offender
Penalties: Sexual assault is typically a second-degree felony, and is punishable by up to 20 years in state prison and a maximum fine of $10,000.
Aggravated Sexual Assault
According to Texas Penal Code Section 22.021, a person commits an offense of aggravated sexual assault when, in the process of committing the sexual assault, he or she:
- Causes serious bodily injury or attempts to cause the death of the victim
- Places the victim in fear of death, serious bodily injury, or kidnapping by acts or words
- Uses or exhibits a deadly weapon during the crime
- Acted with another person to commit the crime
- Administers Rohypnol, GHB, or ketamine to the victim (or any substance capable of impairing the victim's ability to appraise the nature of the act or to resist the act) with intent to facilitate the offense
- Committed the crime on a victim who is under 14 years of age
- Committed the crime on a victim who is an elderly or disabled person
Penalties: Aggravated sexual assault is a first-degree felony, and is punishable by up to 99 years in prison and a maximum fine of $10,000. If the victim is under six years old, a minimum prison sentence of 25 years may apply.
Sexual Assault with a Minor
Under Texas law, it is illegal for an adult (a person 17 years or older) to have sex with a minor (a person 16 years of age or younger). This is also known as statutory rape.
Penalties: Statutory rape is a second-degree felony. Punishable by up to 20 years imprisonment and a maximum fine of $10,000.
Indecency with a Child (Child Abuse)
According to Texas Penal Code Section 21.11(a), a person commits an offense if, with a child younger than 17 years, he or she:
- Engages in sexual contact with the child or causes the child to engage in sexual contact
- Exposes the person's genitals or anus with intent to arouse or for sexual gratification
- Causes the child to expose their anus or genitals with intent to arouse or for sexual gratification
Penalties: Indecency with a child is a second-degree felony, and is punishable by up to 20 years in prison and a maximum fine of $10,000.
Public crimes involve sexual offenses that are committed in a public place. These include:
Under Texas Penal Code Section 21.07, a person commits an offense of public lewdness if he or she intentionally or knowingly engages in any of the following acts in a public place:
- Act of sexual intercourse
- Act of sexual contact
- Act of deviate sexual intercourse
Penalties: Public lewdness is a Class A misdemeanor, and is punishable by up to one year in jail, a fine of up to $4,000, or both.
According to Texas Penal Code Section 21.08, a person commits an offense of indecent exposure if he or she knowingly exposes his anus or any part of his genitals with intent to arouse or for the sexual gratification of any person.
Penalties: Indecent exposure is a Class B misdemeanor. Punishable by up to 180 days in county jail, a maximum fine of $2,000, or both.
Unlawful Electronic Transmission
Pursuant to Texas Penal Code Section 21.19, a person commits an offense of unlawful electronic transmission if the person knowingly transmits, by electronic means, a visual material that depicts:
- Any person engaging in sexual conduct or with the person's intimate parts exposed
- The covered genitals of a male person that are in a discernibly turgid state
Penalties: Unlawful electronic transmission is a Class C misdemeanor, and is punishable by a maximum fine of $500.
It’s important to keep in mind that consent often plays a crucial role in determining whether a sexual activity may be legally considered an offense or not.
Defining Consent Under Texas Law
"Consent" can be described as an agreement between two people to engage in sexual activity. In Texas, the legal age of consent is 17 years. This is the age at which an individual is legally considered old enough to consent to sexual activity. Therefore, engaging in sexual activity with a minor (a person below 17 years of age), even if the person consented to the sexual activity or lied about their age, is regarded as statutory rape.
For more detailed information about consent, check out our blog post.
Work With a Skilled Criminal Defense Attorney
Defending a sex crimes accusation without expert guidance can expose you to the possibility of getting convicted and receiving the maximum punishment. If convicted, you could face devastating consequences, including imprisonment, substantial fines, sex offender registration, and other social ramifications. When facing sex-related crime allegations, you need to act quickly and retain a highly skilled team of attorneys to help build your defense.
At Madson Castello Law, our attorneys are committed to offering comprehensive legal guidance and reliable representation to individuals in their sex crimes cases, including sexual assault and rape. As your legal counsel, we will evaluate and investigate every last detail of your case and determine your best defense strategy. Our attorneys will help you navigate the Texas criminal justice system and strive to keep your record as clean as possible.
*The statistic above includes assaults to commit rape, but statutory rape is not included, according to the 2020 Texas Crime Report, published by the Texas Department of Public Safety.