According to the Houston Chronicle, a physician in the Houston-area city of Tomball, Texas has been sentenced after pleading guilty to the crime of sexual assault of a child.
Texas laws can be extremely harsh when pertaining to crimes against children. In fact, the charge of continuous sexual abuse of a child is one of the most serious offenses an individual commit. If convicted, a person can face up to 20 years’ imprisonment.
In this case, the crime was a second-degree felony, for which punishments can include 2 to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
Plea deals can lead to probation
By pleading guilty to the charge of sexual assault of a child under 17 and waiving his right to a trial, the Tomball physician was sentenced to 30 days in jail and granted 10 years of deferred adjudication—which essentially means community supervision, or probation.
Also as part of his plea agreement, the physician must pay $1,410 in fines and complete 400 hours of community service.
He must register as a sex offender in the state of Texas for life.
Violating the terms of deferred adjudication can mean a person is subjected to the full range of punishments for the crime to which he or she entered a plea of guilty or no contest.
However, abiding by the terms of a deferred adjudication agreement can be beneficial. A defendant not only can avoid a trial resulting in a possible criminal conviction, but the case will be dismissed if they successfully complete deferred adjudication.
In this case, the physician was charged for actions taken under the guise of giving the child an athletic massage regularly for several months in 2019. The child reported the assaults to her mother, who then notified authorities.
Deferred adjudication is not available for everyone
As this case demonstrates, deferred adjudication can be the key to avoiding severe punishments after a trial and conviction. But not everyone is eligible for such a plea deal. Certain offenses may prohibit deferred adjudication legally. Or, as a practical matter, the prosecutor or judge may not give deferred adjudication.
It is very case-dependent what a prosecutor offers.
Is deferred adjudication for you?
How can you know if it’s best to plead guilty or no contest to a criminal charge in exchange for avoiding a trial and accepting the terms of a deferred adjudication plea deal (assuming it is offered)?
To some extent that depends on the individual nature and circumstances of your case and your charge.
Our award-winning criminal defense law firm has extensive experience helping clients make the decision that is best for them in such matters. We can also fight to have your charge reduced or even dropped before trial, as we have done many times in child sex abuse cases.
And if a case does go to trial, we have the knowledge, skill and experience to fight for our clients’ legal rights.