This is the next post in my series on the handling of sexual assault charges in Laredo and other south Texas areas. My last article provided an overview of the topics which this series will be addressing. It also stressed the importance of contacting an attorney as soon as possible if you or a family member have been arrested. It is important that you contact counsel sooner, rather than later, as both the Court and the prosecutors take such matters very seriously. In this article I will be discussing the potential penalties which one faces after they have been convicted. If you require assistance then contact my office today to speak with a criminal defense lawyer.
Sexual assault can be a first or second-degree felony in the state of Texas
Sexual assault is a second-degree felony in the state of Texas. This means that an individual will face a sentence of two to twenty years if they are convicted. Additional fines may be imposed as well. If the offense involved a weapon, threats of death, or kidnapping then the charges can be elevated to first-degree aggravated sexual assault. In this scenario a defendant will face a potential sentence of five to ninety-nine years in prison. Additionally, an individual will be required to register as a sex-offender upon their release from prison and they will also be saddled with a permanent criminal record. This can make it highly difficult to secure housing, employment, or to engage in any other activity which requires the passage of a background check. Furthermore, one will be forever barred from owning a firearm under state and federal law.
It is important to understand that a defendant may face additional charges if they have been arrested for sexual assault. This is due to the fact that it is common for prosecutors to charge numerous counts as a result of one course of conduct. If a defendant is convicted on multiple counts then the sentences may run consecutively, meaning that time would have to be served on one count before a defendant receives credit towards the second count. Consider the following example. A defendant breaks into a home and commits sexual assault. He would be charged with burglary for the illegal entry in addition to the assault. If convicted, the Court could make the defendant serve all required time for one charge before time begins to count towards the other charge. While a Court’s decision will always be based on the specifics of the situation, this example demonstrates how multiple counts can flow from one event.
The importance of retaining an a Laredo lawyer for sexual assault charges
If you or a family member have been arrested for sexual assault then it is important to retain an attorney so that all possible defenses are explored. It may be possible to raise issues in such cases due to the improper taking of evidence by law enforcement. It is also not uncommon for law enforcement to obtain statements in violation of one’s Miranda rights or for an eyewitness identification to have been obtained through overly suggestive procedures. These types of issues can be raised to prevent evidence from being presented in Court. Even if such issues cannot be raised then it may be possible to reach a more favorable resolution with the prosecution or to defend the charges outright. How to best proceed in a case will depend on the particulars of the matter and your attorney will advise you as to the best course of action.
If you or a family member have been arrested for sexual assault then contact my office today to speak with a Laredo criminal defense lawyer. I understand that you are facing a serious situation and that this is a crucial time in your life. My office believes that everyone is entitled to both aggressive representation and respect. Contact us online or by telephone today to schedule an initial consultation.