If you face a charge of sexual assault, even if it’s unfounded, you should be concerned about how much prison time you might face in Texas if convicted. The answer depends on the circumstances of your alleged crime.
Take the case of former Harris County Deputy Richard Cornejo. He was charged with sexual assault in connection with finding a woman sleeping in her vehicle outside an after-hours club in July of 2018.
Cornejo allegedly offered to follow the woman home, where the sexual assault occurred. She later made a complaint to Houston Police, and after an investigation, Cornejo was fired. Then, on Thursday, June 6, 2019, he was arrested and charged with sexual assault and official oppression.
Punishments for sexual assault in Texas
As KPRC Channel 2 reported, if convicted Cornejo could face up to 20 years in prison for sexual assault, and up to one year in prison for official oppression. The minimum prison sentence for sexual assault would be 2 years.
As a second degree felony under Texas law, sexual assault can also lead to a fine of up to $10,000, in addition to jail time. Other sexual assault offenses can lead to even steeper fines and prison sentences.
For instance, when a child under 6 is involved, aggravated sexual assault (involving violent injuries, weapons or multiple offenders in the crime) can bring a minimum prison sentence of 25 years. Also, as a first degree felony, prison time could go up to 99 years, with a fine of up to $10,000.
If the offense was against an adult, the minimum prison sentence would be 5 years.
You even could face life in prison without parole if you are on trial for a first degree felony for sexual assault and it was determined that you had a prior conviction for violent sexual assault, according to Texas Penal Code §12.42(c).
Beyond that, a defendant could face civil lawsuits, loss of reputation, difficulty finding employment upon release from prison, and having to register as a sex offender as more fallout from a sex crime conviction.
Top sex assault defense strategies
As you can see, a sexual assault charge in Texas is a serious charge and must be addressed by an experienced and skilled Houston sexual assault defense attorney.
Our knowledgeable sex crime defense attorneys will determine the best possible defense strategy for you, such as establishing that the event was a case of mistaken identity or that the victim gave consent. Some alleged sex crimes are a matter of “he said, she said,” with no clear evidence to substantiate either side.
However, the defense of consensual sex doesn’t always apply.
Consensual sex between an adult and a child of at least 17 years old is legal in Texas, since 17 is the so-called “age of consent” in this state. But a defense of consensual sex isn’t allowed if the child is younger than 17 and thus not considered wise enough to make a choice in the matter.
Also, a claim that you didn’t know a minor’s age is not a valid defense for sexual assault of a child.
Another sex crime defense may meaning disproving the “aggravated” element of a sexual assault charge, which holds that violence, injuries or weapons were involved.
Though sexual assault is a serious charge — especially when it becomes aggravated sexual assault — you have the right to a legal defense. But you must engage the best Houston sex crime lawyer you can find to protect your legal rights.
Contact the Neal Davis Law Firm today and we’ll provide you a legal review of your case in Harris County, Fort Bend County or Montgomery County. Then, you can decide how you want to proceed when facing possible prison time for a sexual assault charge.