Killeen Sex Crime Defense Lawyers
Smart defense against sexual assault, rape and sex offender charges in Harker Heights, Waco, Copperas Cove and throughout Central Texas
Of all the criminal accusations you can possibly face, sex crimes are some of the most damaging and shaming. Allegations of a sex crime can devastate your reputation, your relationships and every aspect of your professional and personal life. The stigmatization of sex offenses can make you feel abandoned by your friends and family, regardless of the truth behind the charges against you.
The Killeen criminal defense attorneys at the Mary Beth Harrell Law Firm have decades of combined experience protecting clients against a variety of sex crime charges and we can do the same for you. We gather evidence, investigate the circumstances of the allegations against you and launch a smart and strategic defense on your behalf.
The first step toward a successful outcome for your case is understanding the charges against you.
How are sex offenses defined under TX state law?
Sex offenses are listed under state penal code Title 5, Chapter 21. Both state and federal law define what constitutes a sex crime, but generally these actions include sexual misconduct, sexual assault or sexual activity with a child.
Sex offenses on the book here in our state include:
- Aggravated promotion of prostitution
- Aggravated sexual assault
- Improper contact
- Indecent assault
- Indecent exposure
- Invasive visual recording
- Public lewdness
- “Revenge porn”
- Sex trafficking
- Sexual assault
What are the penalties for sex crimes and offenses?
The charges and penalties for sex crimes here in Killeen and around the state will vary widely, depending on the alleged offense and other circumstances. However, here’s a general overview of the consequences of conviction.
Misdemeanor sex offenses
A misdemeanor sex crime can include things like public lewdness or indecent exposure. It may also apply to some first-time offenders.
- Class A misdemeanor convictions may result in up to one year in jail and fines up to $4,000
- Class B misdemeanor convictions may result in up to 180 days in jail and fines up to $2,000
- Class C misdemeanor convictions may result in up fines up to $500
Felony sex offenses
Felony sex crimes include sexual assault or sexual indecency with a child.
- State jail felony convictions may result in 180 days to two years in state jail and fines up to $10,000
- Third-degree felony convictions may result in two to 10 years in prison and fines up to $10,000
- Second-degree felony convictions may result in two to 20 years in prison and fines up to $10,000
- First-degree felony convictions may result in five to 99 years in prison and fines up to $10,000
Anyone convicted of a sex crime, even a misdemeanor, is required to register as a sex offender.
Will I have to register as a sex offender in Texas?
Yes. This is why it’s so important to have a smart, tough defense attorney on your side – to avoid conviction and mandatory sex offender registration. If you’re convicted of a sex crime, you must register with local law enforcement via the Texas Sex Offender Registration Program. This database collects and stores information about sex offenders and makes it accessible to the general public. Inclusion on this list can negatively affect your life in a variety of ways, including making it difficult to find a job, a place to live and a place to work – not to mention a shattered reputation.
Some sex crime offenses may result in mandatory registration as a sex offender for life. These offenses include:
- Aggravated kidnapping
- Aggravated sexual assault
- Compelling prostitution of a minor
- Indecency with a child by contact
- Indecency with a child by exposure
- Possession or promotion of child pornography
- Sexual assault
- Sexual performance by a child
How long do you have to register as a sex offender in Texas?
With other offenses, you may only be required to register for 10 years. Failure to register as a sex offender is a felony than can result in up to 10 years behind bars. Our attorneys can explain every possible circumstance, and even work for expungement or removal if you are eligible.
What makes sex assault charges “aggravated”?
When you see the word “aggravated” in front of sex assault or assault charges, you’ll likely face much harsher penalties than for general charges. Aggravated means that other factors were involved in the offense that made it a higher-level crime. Examples of aggravated sexual assault include:
- Using a date rape drug to commit the assault
- Sexually assaulting a person who is under the age of 14, disabled or elderly
- If the victim suffered or was threatened by serious injury
- If the sexual assault occurred during the commission of another crime
A non-aggravated sexual assault is a second-degree felony. However, an aggravated sexual assault charge makes it a first-degree felony, which comes with penalties of five to 99 years in prison. With tough sentences, you need tough defense. Mary Beth Harrell will work with you to ensure the best possible outcome for your case.
How our Killeen sex crime defense lawyers can help you
For years, we’ve dedicated ourselves to protecting our clients against a vast array of sex offenses, and will do our best to build a sound defense for you. We’ll collect all the evidence, including written police reports, videos of interviews, photos, witness statements, DNA lab results, forensic report on any weapon, medical records, the report of the sexual assault nurse examiner and forensic reports of cell phone use. If the accusation involves a minor, we will obtain school records, the recorded interview at the children’s advocacy center (CAC) and CPS records if an investigation was started due to the accusation.
We’ve often found that the person making the accusation against our client is motivated by the desire to get revenge for a broken relationship, trying to get custody of a child, filing for divorce, jealous that our client has started a new relationship or is cheating on their relationship, or the accuser may be upset about financial problems, has a drinking or drug problem or a mental health issue.
Most importantly, we know that false accusation can ruin an innocent person’s life.
Tough legal defense for sex crime charges in Killeen
At the Mary Beth Harrell Law Firm, our criminal defense attorneys understand the severity of sexual assault charges and the stigma that comes along with them. We fight to protect your rights, your reputation and your freedom. Let us help. Contact us today at 254-680-4655 or by filling out our contact form. We have offices in Killeen, Copperas Cove, and Waco, and handle in-custody visits for clients who cannot come to us.