Charged with a Sex Crime in Austin?
Sex crime convictions carry lifelong consequences. Sexual assault, for example, is charged as a second-degree felony and can lead to 20 years in prison. Even more devastating, perhaps, is the lasting stigma that comes with a sex crime conviction. Many people assume that someone charged with a sex crime is automatically a rapist or a molester, when that is just not true. A recent study by Human Rights Watch found that 13 states (including Texas) required people charged with urinating in public to register as sex offenders. It also found that 32 states registered streakers and flashers as sex offenders. Even in 29 states, consensual sex between two teenagers can lead to required registration as a sex offender. You can see why the number of registered sex offenders in the US has exploded over recent years. Even so, unfavorable social opinions about sex offenders can make it very difficult to find and maintain stable work or housing due to social stigma. Convicted sex offenders are often harassed by the community in which they live, despite the fact that while some are dangerous, many are not.
Frequently Asked Questions About Sex Crimes
What is the age of consent in Texas?
You can be charged with a crime if you have sex with someone under 17 years of age, unless:
The defendant or perpetrator isn’t a registered sex offender, is of the opposite sex AND
There is 3 years or less of an age difference between the two
The victim is 14 years or older
Will my name show up in a database if I’m charged or convicted?
Yes, if you are convicted of a sex crime in the state of Texas (or any other state, territory, or native tribe in the US for that matter) your name, photo, address, and charge will be publicly available for all to see in an online database. The Texas Department of Public Safety has a sex offender registry which collects information from the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, the Texas Youth Commission, and other Texas criminal justice agencies. ‘ Removing your name and information from the database has proven to be difficult, as the DPS and state of Texas takes no responsibility for any errors or omissions.
What should I do if I’m charged with a sex crime in Texas?
Each case is different, but there are a few general things to keep in mind if you are charged for a sex crime:
In sex crime cases, a lot of the evidence comes from statements made during interviews with both the alleged defendant and the alleged victim. More often than not, DNA evidence isn’t available to be analyzed, which gives more weight to interview statements which can be twisted and manipulated to implicate your guilt. Even though you’ll want to clear your name in an interview with Child Protective Services or Austin law enforcement, it’s a good idea to refrain from speaking to them because they are never going to be on your side.
Look into the alleged victim’s background and the background of their family. Have they made similar accusations in the past? If the person is a child or minor, do they have a difficult home life? Are their parents divorced? Do they have a previous criminal record or juvenile record? Does the alleged victim have an ulterior motive, and if so, what is it? The purpose of these questions is to help find cracks in their credibility.
What are some common defenses against a sex crime charge?
Because criminal charges are often based on claims made by the accuser, it can be a strategic move to attack the credibility of the accuser. For example, some alleged victims lie about the consensual aspect of sex in order to protect their reputation or to cover up from family and friends. False claims are also made by opposing parents in custody battles to discredit one another, another ulterior motive. Accusations of sex crimes can even be the result of extortion. If you can uncover the motivation of the accuser, you can reveal their tainted credibility.
Another defense lies in how evidence was collected. if computer files, photos, or other belongings were taken from you in an illegal manner that violated search and seizure laws, they can become inadmissible in court.
Testimonies from children can be easily tainted due to leading and suggestive questioning by therapists, teachers, law enforcement, and other adults. Children are more prone to please adults and answer “yes” to a question that they really don’t know the answer to. Their memories and responses can be manipulated easily in the absence of an experienced professional.
Do I need a lawyer if I’m charged with a sex crime?
Criminal charges that allege sex crimes are very serious indeed. They carry unparalleled social stigma with them that can follow you for the rest of your life, so if you or a loved one has been charged with a sex crime, it’s imperative to protect you. A knowledgeable and experienced attorney can guide you through the extensive and complicated legal process toward innocence.
Protect Your Rights
When you are charged with a sex crime, public opinion immediately swings against you. Prosecutors, judges, friends and even family may automatically assume you’re guilty. At Carroll Troberman, PLLC, however, we don’t assume the worst and believe that everyone is entitled to a fair trial. We care about our clients and will aggressively defend your case no matter what others think.
Meredith “Shelly” Troberman has experience working for both the prosecution and defense in criminal proceedings. She knows exactly what is needed to get a conviction and how to protect you against it.
Blair Carroll has been practicing Texas criminal defense since he graduated from St. Mary’s School of Law in San Antonio. He is a member of the Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association and works diligently to protect his clients’ rights.
Call Carroll Troberman, PLLC
When you call Carroll Troberman, PLLC, you’ve reached out to a friend and ally. We promise to listen to your concerns and fight tirelessly for your defense. Contact our criminal defense attorneys today to set up a free, confidential consultation at 512-478-3800.