Aggravated sexual assault is a serious offense in Texas. It’s a terrible charge to face because it carries severe penalties. A guilty verdict can cause you to lose a professional license, ruin your reputation, and may require that you register as a sex offender. Moreover, it may result in a life sentence.
Assault vs Battery
Aggravated sexual battery is a more serious version of assault. It can apply when any bodily contact results in an injury. Texas law defines battery as applying unlawful physical force that results in bodily harm or offensive contact.
Elevation from assault to battery often hinges on whether the contact was intentional and meant to cause harm.
Aggravating Factors in Sexual Assault
Under the Texas Penal Code, aggravated sexual assault combines elements of sexual crimes and aggravated assault. You may also hear the phrase “aggravated indecent assault.” Regardless, it is the circumstances of the case that impact its elevation.
Texas Penal Code section 22.021 outlines aggravating factors as such:
- Victim’s Age: The victim is a child under 14. It doesn’t matter if the perpetrator knew their age. This also applies to elderly victims.
- Weapon Use: The accused used, showed, or threatened the use of a deadly weapon, such as a knife or gun.
- Victim’s Status: Texas elevates charges of sexual crimes against disabled individuals. This covers anyone with a mental or physical disability who cannot provide for or protect themselves.
- Use of Drugs: Use of any drug that impairs a victim’s judgment or ability to resist.
- Threats of Violence: Threats or attempts to cause bodily harm, including both words and actions.
The punishment for aggravated sexual assault in Texas includes jail time, fines, and other potential restrictions. The minimum prison time is 25 years. However, prior offenses can leave you facing life without parole.
Hiring an Experienced Attorney
Facing these charges can damage your family, reputation, and career. It is crucial that you never face these accusations on your own. An experienced attorney can help you protect your interests and your freedom.