Aggravated Sexual Assault
Sex crimes are treated as one of the most severe crimes under Texas Law and by Texas society. Being convicted of any sex crime can be disastrous to your future. Punishment includes not only jail time and fines but registration and a lifetime of being label a sex offender. However, being convicted of aggravated sexual assault could be even worse. Not only are you a sex offender, but a violent one at that. Potential employers might think one word when they see an aggravated sexual assault charge on your record: "Rapist."
If you've been charged with aggravated sexual assault, the stakes are too high for you to go down without a fight. While sex crimes are severe, they can also be difficult to prove, especially "beyond a reasonable doubt." An experienced criminal defense lawyer will look at every weakness in the prosecution's case. He will look for mistakes in procedure and gather the evidence that could lead to your charges being dismissed or reduced.
Houston Aggravated Sexual Assault Lawyer
Matt Horak is a former Assistant Harris County District Attorney who now fights for the rights of men and women in the Houston area who have been accused under the criminal justice system. He understands the criminal justice system and gets the mind of the prosecutor.
Horak Law will fight for your rights and will exploit every weakness in the State's case. He will use his experience and knowledge for you. Call (713) 225-8000 to learn more about your legal options during a free, in-depth consultation.
Definition of Aggravated Sexual Assault
The Texas Penal Code contains two elements that define aggravated sexual assault in Section 22.021. The first is that the person charged, intentionally and knowingly, and without the other person's consent, penetrated another person's anus or sexual organ, caused his or her sexual organ to penetrate the other person's mouth (forced oral sex), or caused the other person's sexual organ to penetrate the accused's or another person's sexual organ, anus or mouth.
The last clause generally is for when the accused allegedly forces the alleged victim to have sex with either the accused or another person. If any of these acts involved a child, the child could have consented and the charge could still proceed.
The second element is that, in allegedly doing any of the above acts, the accused:
- Caused serious bodily injury or attempted to kill another person,
- Made the alleged victim fear that she, he or another person would suffer death, serious bodily injury or kidnapping,
- Used or displayed a deadly weapon,
- Acts in concert with a person engaged in any of the acts from the first element, or
- Facilitates any of the acts of the first element by giving the victim flunitrazepam, also known as Rohypnol, gamma hydroxybutyrate or ketamine.
The second element can also be fulfilled if the alleged victim is younger than 14, elderly or disabled.
If the state can prove both elements beyond a reasonable doubt, the accused is convicted of aggravated sexual assault, a first-degree felony. Sentences range from five to 99 years in prison or life in prison and up to a $10,000 fine. A person convicted of aggravated sexual assault must also register as a sex offender and be included in a database with his or her address available to the general public, and faces other restrictions on where he or she can live and what kind of jobs he or she can work. He or she will have to remain on the sex offender registry for the rest of his or her life, possibly with the highest risk level assigned to him or her.
These are extreme consequences. If you've been charged with aggravated sexual assault, there is too much on the line. Your best bet is to hire an experienced criminal defense attorney to fight for you.
Defenses to Aggravated Sexual Assault
The prosecution has to prove all elements of their case "beyond a reasonable doubt." This is a tough standard to prove. It means, basically, that the state has to prove that there could be no other scenario than the one they present, other than very far-fetched or improbable ones. But don't count out the state's ability to do just that — Harris County District Attorneys are able to secure a conviction for aggravated sexual assault.
However, there could be weaknesses in their case. They may be unable to prove that the act was committed without the alleged victim's consent. The alleged victim's claims might be exaggerated, or they cannot prove serious bodily injury. Remember, it is the prosecution's job to prove every element beyond a reasonable doubt. The accused does not have to prove they acted with consent. The prosecution has to prove he or she acted, and that there was no consent.
The defense is prohibited from introducing certain evidence, however. The defense may not bring evidence of the alleged victim's sexual history unless it disproves a specific allegation. This is called the "rape shield" rule. This makes sexual assault cases much more challenging and makes hiring the right lawyer all the more important.
Horak Law | Aggravated Sexual Assault Lawyer for Harris County
If you've been accused of aggravated sexual assault in the Houston area, the charges are very serious. Your best bet is to put your life in the hands of an experienced Houston criminal defense lawyer.
Horak Law will fight for you. Call (713) 225-8000 today for a free consultation.