Child Sexual Assault
Any allegation of sexual assault can be devastating for the person accused of the crime, but these alleged criminal offenses become especially frightening when the alleged victim is a child. In addition to possibly being sentenced to decades in prison and ordered to pay a considerable fine, a person who is convicted of sexually assaulting a child in Texas can have most every other area of their personal and professional life irreparably damaged.
Any person who is under investigation for or has been charged with this serious crime may often feel as though they have already been found guilty, despite the guaranteed presumption of innocence. In many cases, alleged offenders have been falsely accused during contentious and emotionally-charged disputes involving divorce or child custody proceedings.
Dallas Child Sexual Assault Lawyer
If you are facing charges for sexually assaulting a child in Collin County, Dallas County, Denton County, or elsewhere in North Texas, it is critical to contact a highly skilled child sex crimes attorney as soon as possible. Paul Stuckle has more than 25 years of experience in various roles in the criminal justice system, including time as a police officer in the Patrol Division of the Dallas Police Department, the attorney for the Fort Worth Police Department, and Chief Municipal Court Judge for the City of The Colony.
When you have been accused of child sexual assault, it's critical to speak with an attorney with experience in these complex cases specifically. In this regard, not all defense attorneys are made equal. An attorney who practices all areas of criminal defense may not have sufficient expertise in these delicate cases. When your entire future and reputation are on the line, it's in your best interests to speak with an attorney who has the experience to navigate the Texas criminal justice system in these cases.
Stuckle & Associates PLLC represents adults and minors charged with child sexual assault in Plano, Fort Worth, Arlington, Frisco, Garland, McKinney, and other communities throughout North Texas. Call (972) 423-4405 or send us an online message to schedule a free, confidential consultation to review your case directly with an experienced attorney,
Information on Texas Child Sexual Assault Charges
- Why would a child make false charges?
- How are sexual assault charges different from aggravated sexual assault charges?
- What kinds of consequences does a person face if convicted?
- Does an alleged offender have any ways to defend himself or herself?
If you have recently been charged with child sexual assault in Collin County, among the many strong emotions you are feeling is likely bafflement. You are certain of your innocence and suspect that there may be ulterior motives at play. You may be on to something. There are many situations where a false or exaggerated accusation may be lobbied against you or a loved one.
- False allegations have been made by spouses during a heated custody or divorce. This may be from a misguided attempt to gain leverage, limit your negotiation abilities, and sway your decisions.
- A teenage child may give a false accusation in an attempt to have a family member removed from the home. An overly authoritative father or a step-parent who will not give in to the demands of a child can be the target for untrue claims.
- Misinterpretation of "Good Touch, Bad Touch" films shown at school. Without proper guidance or context, a child may view these films and review every innocent interaction with a certain person with alarm.
- Attention seeking can be a potential cause for a child to allege sexual assault. If they are not receiving the level of interaction they need from adults around them, a shocking claim may help give them much longed for attention.
- Emotionally and mentally disturbed adolescents may have specific agenda to hurt a person and these allegations certainly can cut deeply.
- Young children may not necessarily understand the gravity of their words and can inadvertently make a claim that they do not mean.
- If a child hears of another classmate who has experienced sexual abuse, he or she may attempt to mimic the claim.
Whatever the circumstances of the accusation, it's critical to speak with an attorney before attempting to protest your innocence. Even if you feel you can explain away the situation, your words and actions may be interpreted in a way you do not intend. This in turn can be used against you by a prosecution that is ready to fight for your conviction.
It is critical to learn about your defense options with a Dallas child sex assault lawyer prior to discussing the allegations with the prosecution, CPS, investigators, the child's family, or anybody else who potentially has a stake in your case.
Texas Penal Code § 22.011(c) defines child as meaning any person younger than 17 years of age. There are two types of sexual assault charges listed in Chapter 22 of the Penal Code:
- Sexual Assault, Texas Penal Code § 22.011 — This offense is classified as second-degree felony that an alleged offender will be charged with if he or she intentionally or knowingly did any of the following:
- caused the penetration of the anus or sexual organ of a child by any means
- caused the penetration of the mouth of a child by the sexual organ of the alleged offender
- caused the sexual organ of a child to contact or penetrate the mouth, anus, or sexual organ of another person, including the alleged offender
- caused the anus of a child to contact the mouth, anus, or sexual organ of another person, including the alleged offender
- caused the mouth of a child to contact the anus or sexual organ of another person, including the alleged offender
- Aggravated Sexual Assault, Texas Penal Code § 22.021 — This offense is classified as first-degree felony that an alleged offender will be charged with if he or she intentionally or knowingly committed any of the acts listed above and the victim was younger than 14 years of age or:
- caused serious bodily injury or attempted to cause the death of the victim or another person in the course of the same criminal episode
- by acts or words placed the victim in fear that any person will become the victim of an applicable trafficking offense or that death, serious bodily injury, or kidnapping will be imminently inflicted on any person
- by acts or words occurring in the presence of the victim threatened to cause any person to become the victim of an applicable trafficking offense or to cause the death, serious bodily injury, or kidnapping of any person
- used or exhibited a deadly weapon in the course of the same criminal episode
- acted in concert with another person who engaged in sexually assaultive conduct directed toward the same victim and occurring during the course of the same criminal episode
- administered or provided flunitrazepam, otherwise known as rohypnol, gamma hydroxybutyrate, or Ketamine to the victim of the offense with the intent of facilitating the commission of the offense
Prosecutors in these cases will relentlessly pursue the maximum punishments. It is enormously important for an alleged offender to be represented by a proven and capable criminal defense lawyer, as a conviction could possibly result in the following sentences:
- Second-Degree Felony — Up to 20 years in prison and fine of up to $10,000.
- First-Degree Felony — Up to 99 years or life in prison and fine of up to $10,000. It is important to note that Texas Penal Code § 22.021(f) states that the minimum term of imprisonment for aggravated sexual assault is 25 years if the victim was younger than six years of age at the time of the offense or the victim was younger than 14 years of age at the time of the offense and the alleged offender committed any of the aforementioned acts that constituted aggravated sexual assault had the victim been 14 years of age or older.
Under Texas Penal Code § 22.011(d), it is a defense to these charges that the alleged conduct consisted of medical care for the child and did not include any contact between the anus or sexual organ of the child and the mouth, anus, or sexual organ of the actor or a third party. Additionally, Texas Penal Code § 22.011(e) states that it is an affirmative defense to these charges that the alleged offender was the spouse of the child at the time of the offense or:
- the alleged offender was not more than three years older than the victim, and at the time of the offense, was not required to register for life as a sex offender or was not a person who had a reportable conviction or adjudication for this type of offense
- the victim was a child of 14 years of age or older or not a person whom the alleged offender was prohibited from marrying or purporting to marry or with whom the alleged offender was prohibited from living under the appearance of being married
If none of these defenses are applicable to an alleged offender’s case, an attorney may still be able to utilize another legal defense that may include, but is not limited to:
- False accusations
- Lack of evidence
- Mistaken identity
- Tainted testimony
Articles on Child Sexual Assault Cases in Texas
- The Special Nature of Child Sexual Assault
- The Right Child Sexual Abuse Attorney
- Police and Social Services in Child Abuse Allegation Cases
Find a Child Sexual Assault Defense Lawyer in Plano, TX
Paul Stuckle of the Stuckle & Associates PLLC aggressively defends clients throughout the Collin County, Dallas County, Denton County, and throughout North Texas. He is a former law enforcement officer, municipal judge, and law professor, giving him a deep insight into these complex accusations.
Call (972) 423-4405 today or send our firm an online message to review your case directly with an experienced local attorney. We can begin your defensen today.
This article was last updated on Friday, February 19, 2016.