Zimmermann Lavine & Zimmermann, P.C.

770 S. Post Oak Lane,
Suite 620
Houston, Texas 77056

Office: (713) 552-0300
Fax: (713) 552-0746

Texas Office
Jack B. Zimmermann
recognized every year from 2003 to 2014 by Law & Politics as a Super Lawyer (an outstanding lawyer who has attained a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement), published in Super Lawyers Magazine.
Super Lawyers
Jim E. Lavine
recognized every year from 2003 to 2014 by Law & Politics as a Super Lawyer (an outstanding lawyer who has attained a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement), published in Super Lawyers Magazine.
Super Lawyers
Terri R. Zimmermann
recognized every year from 2009 to 2014 by Law & Politics as a Super Lawyer (an outstanding lawyer who has attained a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement), and every year from 2004 to 2007 as a Rising Star (one of the top up-and-coming attorneys in the state -- those who are 40 years old or younger, or who have been practicing for 10 years or less), published in Super Lawyers Magazine.
Super Lawyers

Tipping the Scales In Your Favor

Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers – Defending Clients Accused of Sexual Crimes

Perhaps no trial is more emotionally charged than one that concerns an allegation of rape, now more commonly known as sexual assault. The facts of the case are often difficult to hear, and the penalties that are associated with a conviction can be extremely harsh.

Our lawyers practice in state and federal courts throughout the country, as well as courts-martial worldwide.  Using Texas law as an example, below you’ll find information regarding the crimes of rape or sexual assault.  You’ll also find examples of statutory language, analysis of that language, the difference between sexual assault and aggravated sexual assault, the penalties that attach to a conviction of each charge, and finally how you should proceed if you or a loved one face this type of charge.

Texas Sex Crime Statutes

Sexual Assault

There is an entire chapter of offenses dedicated to sex crimes in Texas, and the crime of sexual assault is defined as follows:

A person is guilty of sexual assault if he or she intentionally or knowingly:

  1. Causes the penetration of the anus or sexual organ of another person by any means, without that person’s consent;
  2. Causes the penetration of the mouth of another person by the sexual organ of the actor, without that person’s consent;
  3. Causes the sexual organ of another person, without having that person’s consent, to contact or penetrate the mouth, anus, or sexual organ of another person, including the actor;
  4. Causes the penetration of the anus or sexual organ of a child by any means;
  5. Causes the penetration of the mouth of a child by the sexual organ of the actor;
  6. Causes the sexual organ of a child to contact or penetrate the mouth, anus, or sexual organ of another person, including the actor;
  7. Causes the anus of a child to contact the mouth, anus, or sexual organ of another person, including the actor; or
  8. Causes the mouth of a child to contact the anus or sexual organ of another person, including the actor.

A child is a person younger than 17 years of age.

The statute states that there is no consent if:

  1. The actor compels the other person to submit or participate by the use of force or violence;
  2. The actor compels the other person to submit or participate by threatening to use force or violence against the other person, and the other person believes that the actor has the present ability to execute the threat;
  3. The other person has not consented and the actor knows the other person is unconscious or physically unable to resist;
  4. The actor knows that as a result of mental disease or defect the other person is at the time of the sexual assault incapable either or appraising the nature of the act or of resisting it;
  5. The other person has not consented and the actor knows the other person is unaware that the sexual assault is occurring;
  6. The actor has intentionally impaired the other person’s power to appraise or control the other person’s conduct by administering any substance without the other person’s knowledge;
  7. The actor compels the other person to submit or participate by threatening to use force or violence against any person, and the other person believes that the actor has the ability to execute the threat;
  8. The actor is a public servant who coerces the other person to submit or participate;
  9. The actor is a mental health services provider or a health care services provider who causes the other person, who is a patient or former patient of the actor, to submit or participate by exploiting the other person’s emotional dependency on the actor; or
  10. The actor is a clergyman who causes the other person to submit or participate by exploiting the other person’s emotional dependency on the clergyman in the clergyman’s professional character as spiritual adviser.

The language above taken from the Texas statutes represents a number of different circumstances from which a charge of sexual assault can result.

Aggravated Sexual Assault

The statutory language of what constitutes sexual assault in Texas applies to the aggravated sexual assault statute, which requires additional special factors.

For instance, the additional factors that could result in a charge of aggravated sexual assault include where the person:

  1. Causes serious bodily injury or attempts to cause the death of the victim or another person;
  2. Places the victim in fear that death, serious bodily injury, or kidnapping will be imminently inflicted on any person;
  3. Threatens to cause the death, serious bodily injury, or kidnapping of any person;
  4. Uses or exhibits a deadly weapon;
  5. Administers or provides rohypnol, gamma hydroxybutyrate, or ketamine to the victim of the offense with the intent of facilitating the commission of the offense;
  6. The victim is younger than 14 years of age; or
  7. The victim is 65 years of age or older, or is disabled.

The Difference in Penalties

The most important difference between aggravated sexual assault and sexual assault is the severity of the penalties. If someone is convicted of aggravated sexual assault, he or she can be sentenced anywhere between 5 – 99 years, or life in prison. Additionally, a person could face a minimum of 25 years in prison if the victim is younger than six years old or younger than 14 and is subjected to actual violence.

A person convicted of sexual assault could face a prison sentence of 2 – 20 years.

Both of these offenses carry a requirement to register as a sex offender if a person is convicted.

How to Proceed

If you or someone you love is facing the possibility of being prosecuted for a sex crime, you need to act now to build a strong defense. Contact the criminal defense attorneys at the law firm of Zimmermann Lavine & Zimmermann, P.C. immediately to schedule an initial consultation.

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