Sex Related Offenses

A Sex Crime is one of the most taxing crimes for offenders. Being placed on the sex offender registry can inhibit your job opportunity, ability to attend public places and can taint your community image.

What is considered a Sex Crime in the State of Texas?

According to Texas Penal Code, sex crimes in the State of Texas include:

  • Child sex offenses
    • continuous sex abuse of a child
    • aggravated sexual assault
    • aggravated kidnapping
    • statutory rape
    • sex trafficking
    • child prostitution
    • sexual performance by a child
    • sexting
  • Online solicitation of a minor
  • Possession or distribution of child pornography
  • Indecency with a child
    • By contact
    • By exposure
  • Public lewdness
  • Indecent exposure
  • Improper student-teacher relationship
  • Invasive visual recording
  • Voyeurism
  • Unlawful disclosure and promotion of intimate visual material
  • Prostitution
  • Promotion of prostitution
  • Obscenity
  • Rape & sexual assault

What is the age of consent in Texas?

The legal age of consent in Texas is 17 years of age. Although this number is defined, the State of Texas does not enforce strict penalties if the younger person is at least 14 years of age and there is an age difference of three years or less, due to the Romeo and Juliet Law.

For example, although the age of consent in Texas is 17, sexual relations between a 16 and 18 year old are not considered a crime, as the age difference is only 2 years.

What are the conditions for the Sex Offender registry?

Any person who has been convicted of one or more of the sex crimes listed above, must be filed into the sex offender registry. The extent to which a person must stay on the registry is dependent on the crime they commit and their risk level. Risk levels determine the level of danger sex offenders pose to their community.

Risk levels are divided into three categories:

  • Level One (Low) — Poses a low danger to the community and will not likely engage in criminal sexual conduct;
  • Level Two (Moderate) — Poses a moderate danger to the community and may continue to engage in criminal sexual conduct; and
  • Level Three (High) — Poses a serious danger to the community and will continue to engage in criminal sexual conduct.

Most offenders deemed as sexual predators must be on the registry for life, but for less extreme cases, there is a 10-year period that only starts after their time in prison is concluded.

Are Sex Offenders restricted from certain public places?

In the State of Texas, parole conditions for sex offender are rather strict after their release from prison.

The limitations of sex offenders are case-by-case based on the severity of their crime, but they are typically not allowed to loiter or live within 1,000 feet of “Child Safety Zones.”

According to Texas Government Code 508.187, these zones include:

  • Schools
  • Day-care facilities
  • Playgrounds
  • Public or private youth centers
  • Video arcade facilities
  • Public parks
  • Privately and publicly owned recreational facilities (including but not limited to)
    • Parks
    • Pools
    • Playgrounds
    • Community pools
    • Child water play areas
    • Skate parks
    • Skate rinks
    • Public or private buildings for civic or cultural activities for youth
    • Libraries
    • Hike and bike trails that children younger than 17 frequent
    • Youth athletic fields where an entrance, admission or rental fee is charged.

If an offender is found in any of these areas, it is considered a violation of parole, resulting in severe consequences for offenders.

What are the punishments for sex crimes?

Sex crimes are especially unique in their punishment as addition to the sex offender registry is mandatory, on top of prison time and fines. There are many sex crimes and their punishments are determined on a case-by-case basis, so consultation with a lawyer is essential. Below are a few common charges and their penalties to give an understanding of the penalties, based on the severity of the offense.

Indecent Exposure

  • Section 21.08 of the Texas Penal Code: A person commits an offense if he exposes his anus or any part of his genitals with intent to arouse or gratify the sexual desire of any person, and he is reckless about whether another is present who will be offended or alarmed by his act.
  • Class B Misdemeanor
    • Up to 6 months in Jail
    • Up to $2000 fine
  • Required registration on Sex Offender registry for a 10 year period on the SECOND offense.

Public Lewdness

  • Section 21.08 of the Texas Penal Code:A person commits an offense if the person knowingly engages in the act of sexual intercourse, the act of deviate sexual intercourse, or the act of sexual contact in a public place or, if not in a public place, the person is reckless about whether another is present who will be offended or alarmed by the person’s.
  • Class A Misdemeanor
    • Up to 1 year in Jail
    • Up to $4,000 in fines
  • Not required to register as a sex offender per Article 62.001(5) of the Code of Criminal Procedure.

 Indecency with a Child

  • Section 21.08 of the Texas Penal Code: A person commits an offense if, with a child younger than 17 years of age, whether the child is of the same or opposite sex and regardless of whether the person knows the age of the child at the time of the offense, the person engages in sexual contact with the child or causes the child to engage in sexual contact, or with intent to arouse or gratify the sexual desire of any person.
  • Second Degree Felony
    • 2-20 years in prison
    • Up to $10,000 in fines
  • Required to register as a sex offender for life per Article 62.001(5) of the Code of Criminal Procedure.

These are just a few examples of the consequences of sex crimes in the State of Texas. The best way to learn the possible consequences of a sex crime is to discuss with an experienced lawyer who will give you the best advice on your unique situation.

Can I get a Sex Crime expunged from my record?

Texas law allows for some sex offense charges to be expunged from personal public records. Juvenile offenders typically get more leeway for expungement in comparison to adult offenders.

Eligibility for expungement includes:

  • If the sex crime was a minor offense that did not involve violence and occurred many years ago.
  • If the victim was at least 15 years old and the offender was no more than 4 years older at the time of the crime.
  • If the offense was consensual.
  • If the defendant passes an individual risk assessment and requests the court for early termination.

Outside of these conditions, you cannot expunge a sex crime from your record. This can be especially taxing to your life as the crime can stain your reputation, economic status and opportunity. It is important to talk to a lawyer that will help you receive justice.

What can Gary Tabakman do for me?

Gary Tabakman is an award-winning lawyer that has defended countless sex crime clients and believes in the right to a fair trial. Mr. Tabakman knows the law and will fight to give you the best possible defense. To speak to Gary Tabakman about your unique legal situation, call 713-331-9457 to schedule a free initial consultation and case evaluation.