Child Sex Trafficking Lawyer in Texas
Serving Plano, Dallas, McKinney, Frisco, Allen, and Surrounding Areas
If you have been accused of sex trafficking a minor in Texas, your future is at stake. You need an attorney on your side who will stand up for your rights and who knows how to fight the stigma that surround the charges against you. Stuckle & Associates PLLC can offer you the superior legal defense you need.
Our team has years of collective experience defending clients against a wide range of sex crime charges. Those facing accusations of child sex trafficking offenses can turn to us for an aggressive defense and knowledge of the process ahead of them. Contact us today to discuss your options.
Understanding Sex Trafficking Charges in Texas
Since Texas is a major hub for child sex trafficking due to the proximity to major bodies of water, the easy access to Mexico, access to major interstate highways, access to international airports, and many bus stations, false sex trafficking allegations are very common. On average, children are lured into sex trafficking between the ages of 12 and 13 and often, false accusations of sex trafficking involve children around this age.
Many times prosecutors and law enforcement officials will exaggerate or sensationalize the alleged offense in order to appear tough on serious crime even though it does not really involve child sex trafficking. False allegations should not result in a conviction, but anytime an allegation is made you must mount an aggressive defense. Child sex crime allegations do not necessarily have to result in a conviction.
If you have been charged with a child sex trafficking offense in Texas, the state prosecutor is required to prove every element of your alleged offense beyond a reasonable doubt before you can be convicted. This can be very difficult burden of proof to satisfy, and any doubt in the mind of the judge or jury can result in a “not guilty” verdict at trial. A good defense also means negotating with the prosecutor before trial for a drastic reduction in the charges or a lighter sentence after a plea.
How Sex Trafficking Is Defined in Texas
Human trafficking is a form of slavery that affects children every year, with thousands of children being trafficked each year. Child trafficking often involves the recruitment, harboring, transportation, providing or obtaining of a child through means of force, fraud or coercion for the purpose of a commercial sex act or some form of child labor.
Trafficking is defined under Texas law as:
- Providing; or
- Obtaining another person by any means.
Trafficking in Texas becomes child sex trafficking when a child, juvenile or youth under the age of 18 is involved. Individuals who are trafficked typically suffer from some form of mistreatment, including sexual abuse, imprisonment and starvation. Trafficking offenses also frequently involves other crimes, such as rape, kidnapping, false imprisonment and violations of labor and immigration codes.
Evidence of these types of offenses, however, does not necessarily indicate a crime of child sex trafficking has occurred or even that any criminal offense occurred. Since local law enforcement officers are required to investigate any report or signs of mistreatment or abuse, it is important to hire an experienced attorney to help you prepare your defense if you are under investigation or have been accused of a child sex trafficking offense.
Texas Child Sex Trafficking Laws
According to section 20A.02 of the Texas Penal Code, an individual can be charged with trafficking of a child if they knowingly:
- Traffic a child with the intent to make the trafficked child engage in forced labor or services;
- Receive a benefit from participation in a venture that involves child trafficking activity, including receiving labor or services from a child the person knows was forced into labor or services or engaged in sexual conduct with the child;
- Traffic a child and cause the child to engage in or become the victim of, sexual assault, compelled prostitution, sexual abuse, and other unsolicited and unwanted sexual conduct.
Penalties Upon Conviction
The penalties or a sex trafficking conviction in Texas can vary on several circumstances, such as whether the alleged offender has a prior criminal conviction, whether the alleged offender is considered a habitual offender, whether the alleged offender is considered a repeat felony offender, and/or whether the alleged offender used a weapon while committing the alleged offense. A conviction for child sex trafficking is generally punishable as a felony of the first degree, which can result in a prison sentence ranging from five to 99 years or life imprisonment and/or a fine up to $10,000.
Additionally, a conviction for child trafficking or even false accusations of child sex trafficking can result in serious consequences, such as:
- A criminal record;
- Inability to own or possess a firearm;
- Ineligibility to be admitted into certain education programs;
- Ineligibility to be hired for certain jobs, occupations or professions;
- Ineligibility to hold public office or vote;
- Loss of certain professional licenses;
- Public humiliation or embarrassment;
- Requirements to register as a sex offender.
Types of Defense Strategies for Individuals Accused of Sex Trafficking
In certain situation, defenses or mitigating factors may be available to the child sex crime accusations against you. However, it is important to know that defenses do not apply to every situation, so it is crucial to first consult with an experienced sex trafficking lawyer who can best determine if any of the defenses listed below may be applicable to the facts of your case.
Some of the most common defenses to child sex trafficking accusations in Texas are:
- Mistaken Identity
- Mistake of Fact
- Lack of Knowledge
- Lack of Intent
Contact Our Firm Today for a Free Case Evaluation
If you have been accused of child sex trafficking in Texas, including the areas of Plano, Dallas, McKinney, Allen, and Frisco, Stuckle & Associates PLLC can help you. We will evaluate the individual details of your case and formulate a solid and aggressive defense on your behalf. Call (972) 423-4405 or send us an online message to begin reviewing your defense options today.