Aggravated Child Sexual Abuse
If you have been accused of abusing a child, then you need to hire a Denton defense attorney to represent you in court.
Perhaps one of the most important principles of the justice system is that people are presumed to be “innocent until proven guilty.” Unfortunately, most people, including prosecutors, the jury, friends, neighbors, and employers all seem to overlook that presumption when the crime is of a sexual nature.
For aggravated sexual assault, particularly when a child (or children) is involved, societal emotions run high and elected court officials are quick to assume guilt, often coming to the wrong conclusions by being easily swayed by emotions, rather than facts. The burden of proof rests upon the prosecution to provide enough evidence “beyond a reasonable doubt” that the defendant is guilty, yet oftentimes a claim or allegation is enough to solidify the belief that a crime was committed. Sometimes a child’s word is all it takes to send a person to jail for the rest of their lives. And children are easily manipulated by parents or desires, so a simple testimony needs to be carefully examined in order to ensure that there are no ulterior motives of any party involved.
Sexual assault of a child, refers to any sexual activity between an adult and someone who is under the legal age of consent. Sexual assault is considered to be “aggravated” if:
- The victim was under the age of 14 years at the time of the act
- If a deadly weapon was used to intimidate, threaten, or harm the child
- If a “date rape” drug was used (such as: flunitrazepam, otherwise known as rohypnol, gamma hydroxybutyrate or ketamine) to the victim
- If another such aggravating factor was implemented by the accused
Our criminal defense lawyers at Marsala Law Group have successfully defended individuals in Denton County, Collin County, and Dallas County for over 10 years, and have obtained positive results both in the county courts and at the federal level.
Sexual assault occurs when the defendant:
- Penetrates the anus or sexual organ of another person by any means, without that person’s consent
- Penetrates the mouth of another person by the sexual organ of the defendant, without that person’s consent
- Causes the sexual organ of another person, without the person’s consent, to contact or penetrate the mouth, anus, or sexual organ of another person, including the defendant
Sexual assault of a child occurs when any of the above is committed against a person under the age of consent.
Defending Against Aggravated Sexual Assault Charges
Unfortunately, false accusations are common in sexual assault cases involving a child. It is easy to manipulate or coach children to give a certain testimony or claim, sometimes based on what their parent(s) want. For instance, the parents may be in financial trouble, so the coach their child to claim that the daycare manager sexually abused or assaulted them – all to get a settlement payment. Or a single parent may want to obtain higher child support payments, so they will coach the child to tell a lie about the other parent. Even the police investigators may phrase questions in such a manner as to receive a certain kind of answer from the child.
This is why it is highly important to hire an experienced sex crime defense attorney, who can recognize when less-than-honest tactics are being employed by the accuser or the prosecution.
Penalties for Aggravated Sexual Assault in Texas
Aggravated sexual assault of a child is more serious than other child sex offenses, such as indecency with a child, or online solicitation.
In Texas, aggravated sexual assault is counted as a first-degree felony, punishable by:
- up to 99 years in prison (life imprisonment)
- And a fine of up to $10,000.
If the victim was under six years of age at the time of the criminal act, then the offense is considered “super aggravated” and carries a minimum sentence of 25 years in prison.
In addition, any person convicted of sexual assault of a child is required to register as a sex offender, and this registration will likely stick with them for the rest of their lives, making it exceedingly difficult to keep jobs, maintain relationships, find a place to live, etc.