When you hear the term “assault” it’s likely you think of scenarios where one person is attempting to harm or physically injure another. What you might not know is that you can be also charged with a type of assault for groping or touching another person without their consent. Texas refers to this crime as indecent assault and a conviction can lead to serious life-altering penalties.
In addition, the crime has been enhanced due to a new bill passing in September 2019. Now indecent assault is a class A misdemeanor upon conviction, which means the offender could face up to one year in jail. If you or someone you know has been accused of indecent assault, it’s crucial you obtain legal representation as soon as possible. An experienced criminal defense attorney can assess your case and develop a strong defense strategy to fight your charges.
Indecent Assault Defense Lawyer in Austin, Texas
Many make the mistake of underestimating how serious their charges are for indecent assault until it’s already too late. Don’t go into the courtroom unprepared with such serious penalties on the line. If you have been charged with indecent assault, then we urge you to consult The Law Office of Kevin Bennett. Kevin Bennett is an experienced criminal defense attorney with years of practice under his belt he can utilize for your case.
Set up your first consultation free of charge with The Law Office of Kevin Bennett by calling (512) 476-4626. We will set up an appointment with you and Attorney Bennett so you can discuss your legal options in further detail. He can then get started on crafting a strategic and strong defense plan for your case. The Law Office of Kevin Bennett accepts clients throughout the greater Austin and Travis County area including Pflugerville, Lago Vista, Bee Cave, and Lakeway.
Overview of Indecent Assault Laws in TX
- What is Indecent Assault in Texas?
- What Are the Penalties for Indecent Assault in Texas?
- Indecent Exposure & Public Lewdness
- Statute of Limitations for Indecent Assault
- Additional Resources
What is Indecent Assault in Texas?
In Texas, you can be charged with the indecent assault if the alleged victim accuses you of touching or groping them without consent. The crime is defined under Texas Statutes Section 22.012, which states you’re guilty of indecent assault if you grope or fondle another person without their consent with the intent to gratify a sexual desire for yourself or someone else.
Under Texas law, a person can be charged with indecent assault if they do any of the following actions:
- Grope the anus, breast or genital area of a person;
- Grope another person with their breast, anus or any part of their genital area;
- Expose or attempt to expose their genitals, pubic area, breast, female areola, or buttocks; or
- Force another person to encounter blood, seminal fluid, vaginal fluid, saliva, urine or feces
What Are the Penalties for Indecent Assault in Texas?
For years, indecent assault was charged as a class C misdemeanor in Texas. The penalties for a class C misdemeanor was simply a $500 fine, so many people didn’t take the charges seriously with so little penalty involved. However, this was all changed on September 2019 when a bill was passed in the Texas senate that aimed to enhance the penalties of indecent assault.
Now, an indecent assault conviction can result in a class A misdemeanor. The penalties for a class A misdemeanor include the following:
- Up to one year in jail; and
- A fine of up to $4,000
Indecent Exposure & Public Lewdness Charges
It’s common for offenders to be charged with more than one crime when arrested for indecent assault. An offense frequently tied to indecent assault is the crime of indecent exposure, which can be found under the Texas Statutes Section 21.08. A person is guilty of indecent exposure if they expose any part of their genitalia or anus in public with the intent to gratify a sexual desire for themselves or another person. The charge relies heavily on the alleged offender’s sexual intent, but also if they are reckless enough to expose themselves while another person is present knowing they will likely be alarmed or offended by the act.
In Texas, indecent exposure is a class B misdemeanor, which is punishable by:
- Up to 180 days in jail; and
- A fine of up to $2,000
Public lewdness is another crime often associated with indecent assault. It states under the Texas Penal Code 21.07 that a person is guilty of public lewdness if they do the following acts in a public area where someone could be offended or alarmed.
- Sexual contact;
- Sexual intercourse; or
- Deviate sexual intercourse
It’s important to know the definitions of the terms above to have a thorough understanding of the crime. Texas law defines “sexual intercourse” as any penetration of the female sex organ by the male sex organ. The term “deviate sexual intercourse” is contact with the genitals, mouth or anus of another person as well as penetration of genitals or anus by another person with an object. Lastly, the term “sexual contact” refers to the groping of another person’s anus, breast or any genitals of another person for a sexual reason.
The crime of public lewdness is a class A misdemeanor, which is punishable by:
- Up to one year in jail; and
- A fine of up to $4,000
Statute of Limitations for Indecent Assault in Texas
Similar to other states, Texas law sets time limits for the government to bring criminal charges in a case. This is known as a statute of limitations and in Texas a crime’s statute of limitations depends on the crime’s classification. Felonies have a statute of limitations of up to three years and a misdemeanor crime has a set limit of up to two years. If the prosecution fails to meet this deadline, then the court will prohibit them from filing charges in the future.
In Texas, the statute of limitations for indecent assault is up to two years. It’s important to note that in certain circumstances the court may delay when the statute of limitations starts. For example, if the suspect is an out-of-state fugitive, then the court is likely to stop the clock. The statute of limitations will resume once the alleged preparator is back in state lines.
RAINN – Visit the official website for the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN) to find more information about sexual abuse. Access the site to read survivors stories, read statistics and learn how to get involved.
Texas Sex Crime Laws – Visit the official website for the Texas Penal Code to learn more about their state laws for sexual offenses. Access the site to learn more about sexual assault, invasive visual recording, revenge porn and sexual coercion.
Defense Attorney for Indecent Assault in Texas
Have you recently faced allegations of indecent assault? If the answer is yes, it’s imperative you secure legal representation as soon as possible. The charges may not be as severe as standard assault, but a conviction can land you in jail for up to a year. For these reasons, we highly encourage you to get in contact with The Law Office of Kevin Bennett.
Attorney Kevin Bennett has been practicing criminal defense for years and has represented numerous people in all types of assaultive cases. With his resources, skills and years of experience, Kevin Bennett can create an effective and efficient defense for your case. Call The Law Office of Kevin Bennett and set up your first consultation free of charge at (512) 476-4626. The Law Office of Kevin Bennett accepts clients throughout the greater Travis County area including Austin, Del Valle, Bee Cave, Lago Vista and West Lake Hills.