Sex Crimes| Criminal Defense Lawyer| Ed Chernoff
Sex offenses is a broad category and the offenses range from sexual assault, including date rape, prostitution, solicitation of prostitution, public lewdness, obscenity, sexual assault and sex crimes against children, such as statutory rape, aggravated sexual assault, indecency with a child and possession of child pornography. Convictions for sex offenses typically result in stiff fines and prison sentences. A convicted person may be required to register as a sex offender for life, damaging his reputation and making it hard for him to find housing and work.
It is vital for someone so charged to obtain tough and experienced legal defense. No matter the circumstances of a charge, the most important factor in the outcome of a criminal case is the competence and dedication of the sexual assault lawyer.
Our team believes that the American value of the presumption of innocence is often ignored in sexual assault cases. We will fight to preserve that right for you.
At trial, we vigorously present our defense and challenge the state case. Lawyers at Chernoff Law use their cross-examination skills to expose exaggerations, falsehoods, and lies. It is our purpose to establish a reasonable doubt compelling acquittal of charges.
At Chernoff Law we have a record of success in the defense of our clients and our goal is to achieve the best possible result. We urge you to contact the firm for a confidential interview.
What Is Sexual Assault in Texas?
Texas Penal Code Sec. 22.011 broadly defines sexual assault as nonconsensual sex. In some States, this is described as rape. The Texas Penal Code statute makes it a second-degree felony to penetrate the sexual organ, mouth or anus of another individual without that person’s effective consent. Effective consent is lacking if the other person is forced or is in a condition that makes it impossible for them to resist. If a person has been drugged or is mentally incapacitated at the time of the sex act, sexual assault could be charged.
Under the law, a child never has the capacity to consent. See section Sex Crimes Against Children.
It is not unusual for a drunken night to turn into questionable sexual activity. We have had many clients charged with sexual assault to tell us that they were under the firm impression that all the sexual activity was consensual. We have seen situations where a person accusing our clients of rape were discovered having an affair and chose to allege a forced act rather than admit to being unfaithful. In several situations, we have defended individuals of doping up their “victims” prior to sex, and a subpoena of medical records revealed that there were no drugs in the other parties’ system.
Texas Prostitution Laws
Most individuals arrested for soliciting prostitution in Houston, Fort Bend County or Galveston County occur as a result of sting operations. Officers pose as prostitutes, walking the streets or prowling hotel bars. They also pretend to be prostitutes on online services such as Craigslist.com. The purpose of these “stings” is to catch would be purchasers of sexual services, as in Texas even a simple offer for a sex service may be considered an offense.
Often, the police are interested in arresting as many people as possible in one operation. As a result, they can get sloppy. It is important that anyone arrested for prostitution hire a lawyer who is willing to do the necessary investigation to determine whether the prosecution actually has sufficient evidence to make their case. Many times, they do not.
Is Prostitution a Felony or a Misdemeanor?
Most people charged with soliciting prostitution or offering sex for hire are charged with a Class B misdemeanor. Promotion of prostitution will likely be charged as a felony. The state can also charge a felony if the individual has two prior prostitution convictions prior to arrest.
Employers, future love interests and even divorce lawyers check the criminal record of their applicants and adversaries. There is hardly any crime more embarrassing than prostitution. It is absolutely necessary that a lawyer who represents a client charged with this crime be sensitive to this reality.
At Chernoff Law, we don’t take this charge lightly. In every criminal case, including prostitution, we defend clients as if their life and future are at stake! If you are facing a prostitution charge, give us a call today.
Sex Crimes Against Children
Very few criminal charges are prosecuted more vigorously than a sex crime involving acts with children. There is a general consensus that a sex crime against a child is one of the most heinous in the penal code. Prison sentences are routinely offered for these types of crimes.
Lifetime Sex Offender Registration is mandated for most of these offenses. This is why it is absolutely necessary that a person accused of a sex crime against children obtain experienced, dedicated and talented defense counsel. The State of Texas will be looking to punish individuals, irrespective of their guilt. We are supremely experienced in handling Police Investigations of Sexual Assault of a Child in addition to defending at trial.
What Is Sexual Assault and Aggravated Sexual Assault of a Child?
Under the law, any sexual intercourse or contact with a child is presumed to be nonconsensual. The difference in the potential punishment depends on the age of the child and the type of contact alleged. Penetration of the sexual organ, anus or mouth of a child younger than 17 years old, or causing said child to be penetrated for the purpose of gratifying a sexual desire will be considered sexual assault in Texas. If the child is 14 years old or younger, this same activity will be charged as an Aggravated Sexual Assault, which carries with it a possible punishment of life in prison.
What is Indecency With a Child?
Indecency with a child will carry with it less severe penalties than Aggravated Sexual Assault. However, it is a second degree felony and prosecutors routinely seek prison sentences. Touching of a child’s breast, anus or private areas for the purpose of satisfying a sexual desire is considered Indecency with a Child. However, in our experience, it is difficult for the prosecution to draw the fine line between touching and penetrating. This is especially so when a child is very young, and her outcry is vaguely described.
What is Statutory Rape and Does Romeo and Juliet Law Work in Texas?
Sex with a minor, or statutory rape, is a sex crime in which someone engages in a sexual act with a person under the legal age of consent, which is 17 years, irrespective of consent.
The State of Texas implies the so-called Romeo and Juliet Law, which can actually provide for a defense. If the person being charged was no more than 3 years older than a 15 – 17 year old minor, a charge might be avoided. This makes perfect sense for an 18-year-old, in a consensual sexual relationship with a 16-year old.
As noted, if one of the parties is under 15 years old, this defense will not apply.
It is important to contact a sex crime lawyer at Chernoff Law so that you can understand and correctly defend charges brought against you, as penalties for statutory rape can be severe and conviction can have a devastating effect on a person’s life.
Is Possession of Child Pornography a Felony in Texas?
Possession of Child Pornography is a crime under State and Federal laws. The Federal sentencing guidelines are brutal. The determination of how long someone is likely to be sentenced to prison depends on the number of images they are alleged to have possessed. The problem with this formulation is that many file sharing applications where child pornography is obtained allow for rapid and volumetric downloading. A typical viewer of child pornography is not going to browse image by image. This viewer is ashamed of his actions and is likely to download all of it and view it later. He may not look at the images or look at them sporadically. However, if they are on his computer they will be counted.
Both State and Federal prosecutions may arise from task forces monitoring the transport of pornography through IP Addresses. In addition, a spouse or computer repair man may accidentally come across images in a computer that they interpret to be child pornography. In such circumstances, search and seizure law may come into play.
What Is Online Solicitation of a Minor
Law enforcement officials are becoming increasingly vigilant about investigating and pursuing those suspected of online solicitation of minors.
Online solicitation of a minor in Texas involves soliciting a minor for sex through chat rooms, social networking sites, or other internet-based applications. This could include having sexually explicit conversations with a minor over the internet.
Law enforcement officials frequently employ a wide variety of methods for catching someone engaged in online solicitation, including posing as minors themselves, in chat rooms and on other similar sites. Some of the methods they use may be regarded as entrapment, and a person charged with online solicitation is advised to retain an attorney who can investigate the possibility of rights violations occurring in the case.
Continuous Sexual Abuse of a Child
If a person is alleged to have committed any sexual act with a child, including indecency or sexual assault, two or more times over a period of time greater than 30 days, he can be charged with continuous sexual abuse of a child. A conviction for this crime results in particularly harsh punishment, since the minimum sentence is 25 years in prison.
Obviously prosecutors prefer to charge this crime if possible since the result of conviction is so severe. However, there are a substantial number of exceptions and defenses that apply to this charge. Only an experienced sex crimes lawyer knows how to take advantage of these defenses.
What Are The Consequences of a Sex Crime Charge in Texas
What Are the Penalties for Sex Offenses in Texas?
- Sexual assault – Anywhere from 2 years to life in prison depending on the characteristics of the assault and victim;
- Aggravated Sexual assault – Five years to life in prison;
- Continuous Sexual Abuse of a Child – 25 years to live in prison;
- Indecency with a child – 2 to 20 years in prison;
- Possession of Child Pornography – 2 to 10 years in prison, unless charged with promotion;
- Online Solicitation of a Minor – 2 years to 20 years, depending on age of alleged victim
- Prostitution – up to 180 days in jail, $2000 fine for first offense
- Statutory Rape – 2 years to LIfe in Prison, depending on the age of the minor
Registering as a Sex Offender
Often a conviction, probation or deferred adjudication for a sex crime in Texas involves mandatory registration as a sex offender. Legally, this is not considered a penalty for the crime, but rather a function of the State’s ability to legislate for the safety of the community. However, the individual who is saddled with this requirement understands very clearly the punitive nature of registration. There are many internet sites and apps that target a sex offender’s status and registered location. As a result, housing and employment are difficult, if not impossible, for those who register.
In addition to registration for all sex crimes involving children, a person convicted or receiving deferred adjudication is required to register in cases involving sexual assault, possession of child pornography, promotion of prostitution or even repeated indecent exposure misdemeanor offenses.
The public can access the identity, criminal history, and sex offender classification of an individual who has had to register on both state and federal sex offender registry lists.
Depending on certain circumstances, such as the severity of the sex crime committed, a person may have to register as a sex offender for 10 years, or even a lifetime.
If you have been charged with a sex crime and are in danger of being labeled a sex offender, it is strongly recommended you contact a sex crime defense attorney right away. A competent attorney like Ed Chernoff can provide you with a legal defense that may result in you avoiding registration.
Why You Need to Hire a Top Houston Sex Crime Attorney if Charged with Sex Offense
Do not take any accusation of sex crime lightly. Your innocence alone will not make the accusation go away. You need the help of a strong criminal defense attorney who understands the process of criminal investigation and prosecution in these types of cases. Don’t speak with a police officer until you call Ed Chernoff.
A Sexual Assault of a Child trial is no place for the uninitiated and inexperienced. If you are facing an accusation from a child, it is absolutely imperative that you hire a lawyer who has been there before and has a record of success in trial. Many lawyers who claim to handle criminal cases have never even tried a child sex crime case. Ed Chernoff has handled well over a hundred individuals accused of sexual assault. Chernoff Law has a reputation and history for success.
Children have the capacity to make up sexual contact as easily as sexual assault. However, in our experience an accusation for Indecency With a Child, whether by exposure or contact can be confused with normal parenting behavior. It is not unusual for a parent or stepparent to be viewed without clothing. In addition, small children can be touched when they are bathed or treated for a medical condition.The problem is that children are now inundated with information about sexual abuse. This is provided to them by schools and parents with all the best intentions. However, this information can be confusing to young children. Once an accusation is made it will not be presumed that the acts the child described constituted purely innocent behavior. As noted in other pages on this site, law enforcement, schools, and Child Protective Services treat accusations of sexual abuse with a “better safe than sorry” mentality.