Aggravated Sexual Assault of a Child

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Aggravated Sexual Assault of a Child2018-09-03T19:34:47+00:00

In the eyes of the law, anyone under the age of 17 is considered a child. Crimes against children, especially those of a sexual nature, are serious and aggressively prosecuted by the State of Texas. If you or a loved one is being charged with aggravated sexual assault of a child, you need a qualified attorney who knows how to defend these cases properly.

At the Law Office of Paul Schiffer, we believe you are innocent until proven guilty and will fight to maintain your freedom as well as your good name. Attorney Paul Schiffer has over 40 years of experience in the law, both as a prosecutor and a defense attorney, and has worked tirelessly as a defense attorney trying cases just like yours. Besides working on your case, you can be sure that our team of experts will treat you with the dignity and respect you deserve as a human being; you’ll never be judged or met with discourtesy based on the accusations being made against you. Instead, we’ll be by your side from the moment you contact us until your case is resolved. You can’t fight this alone and you shouldn’t have to.

 

What is Aggravated Sexual Assault of a Child in Texas?

Section 22.021 of the Texas Penal Code defines aggravated sexual assault as a sexual assault with two elements. The first element is the sexual assault itself. That means intentionally and knowingly penetrating another’s sex organ, anus, and/or mouth without consent, or forcing the victim’s mouth on the accused’s sex organ or anus. The second element has to do with certain aggravating factors accompanying the sexual contact. These factors include:

  • serious bodily injury to the alleged victim;
  • an attempt to kill the alleged victim;
  • the alleged victim feared they or someone else would die;
  • the alleged victim feared they or someone else would be harmed;
  • the alleged victim feared they or someone else would be kidnapped;
  • a deadly weapon was used or displayed;
  • the accused acted in concert with another in the initial act;
  • the accused facilitated the initial act by using a drug such as Rohypnol, gamma hydroxybutyrate or ketamine; or
  • the victim is under the age of 14, is disabled, or is elderly.

This crime is committed when the two above elements are present against any victim under the age of 17. If the alleged victim is under the age of 14, there doesn’t need to be any other aggravating factor like violent force, the use of threats, weapons, or drugs. The age of the child becomes the aggravating factor in and of itself. While the prerequisite of force, violence, and the like isn’t necessary to elevate the crime to aggravated, if any of those other factors are present, the charge can be more serious.

Even if the alleged under aged victim gave consent, under Texas law, the victim is considered a child, a person would still be guilty of the crime of aggravated sexual assault, because the victim is too young to give legally valid consent to a sexual act. Since consent would not be a viable defense, having an experienced and effective defense attorney on your side is even more important.

 

Super Aggravated Sexual Assault of a Child

An aggravated sexual assault of a child charge would be escalated to “super aggravated sexual assault of a child” if the alleged victim is under the age of six, or if the child is younger than 14 and the sexual assault caused serious bodily injury or there was an attempt to kill the child.

 

The Case of Date Rape Drugs

One of the factors that can elevate a simple sexual assault charge to an aggravated sexual assault against a child is the use of a known “date rape” drug. If the allegation is that the accused used one of these to facilitate the sexual assault, the case becomes even more serious. Common date rape drugs are:

  • rohypnol, commonly referred to as “Roofies;”
  • gamma-hydroxybutyrate, also known as GHB; and  
  • ketamine sometimes referred to as “K.”

 

Proving Aggravated Sexual Assault of a Child

To obtain a conviction, a prosecutor must first prove that all of the elements have occurred for the crime that has been charged, as it’s defined, to have been committed. That also means that the age of the alleged victim has to be properly determined. If there are other factors in place that make the crime “aggravated” those need to be proven, too. All of the elements must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt for the prosecutor to obtain a verdict of guilty.

That isn’t necessarily an easy task. Perhaps it was a case of mistaken identity and you’re not the person who committed the crime. Perhaps the alleged victim is lying about what happened. There are a number ways to make the prosecution’s job difficult to do. That is why it is critical for you to engage a knowledgeable and experienced defense attorney from the very outset.

 

Possible Penalties

If you’ve been tried and found guilty of aggravated sexual assault of a child, you’re looking at a first-degree felony, which is punishable by a sentence of anywhere from five to 99 years in a state prison, along with fines up to $10,000.

Here is a breakdown of related sexual assault crimes and their punishments:

 

CrimeClassificationPunishment
Aggravated sexual assault of an adult or childFirst-degree felony5-99 years in state prison, maximum fines of $10,000, lifetime sex offender registration
Super aggravated sexual assault of a childFirst-degree felony 25 years to life in state prison, maximum fines of $10,000, lifetime sex offender registration, ineligible for parole
Sexual assault of an adult or childSecond-degree felony2-20 years in state prison, maximum fines of $10,000, lifetime sex offender registration

 

Further Ramifications

The sad truth is that when you’re found guilty of aggravated sexual assault of a child (or any crime, for that matter) your punishment doesn’t end with the completion of your sentence. When you’re convicted of this crime, there are consequences that affect your entire life. Some of these ramifications are:

  • restrictions on where you can live and work;
  • difficulty finding or keeping a job;
  • the inability to volunteer with certain organizations;
  • the inability to obtain or maintain certain professional licenses;
  • the inability to possess a firearm;
  • difficulty gaining admission to college or similar schools;
  • the denial of financial aid for school;
  • the denial of government aid or difficulties when applying;
  • an adverse change in immigration status, or the denial of citizenship;
  • loss of custody or visitation rights of biological or adopted children;
  • the inability to foster or adopt a child;
  • public stigma in the community;
  • strained personal relationships; and
  • difficulties running for public office.

 

Sex Offender Registration

One of the most humiliating and difficult to manage consequences of a conviction is that you will be required to register with the State of Texas as a sex offender, because aggravated sexual assault of a child is a reportable offense in Texas. This is a lifetime registration, which begins when you’re released from prison. As a registered sex offender, your name and address will appear in a public database that can be accessed by everyone. This will affect where you can live and where you’re able to work, and may damage your personal and professional relationships.

 

Possible Defenses for Aggravated Sexual Assault of a Child

Again, the prosecution has to prove every element of the crime. While this case is more difficult to defend than are other similar charges, there are still defenses an experienced attorney can raise on your behalf. For example, is this accusation based on anger, revenge, manipulation, attention seeking? An experienced defense attorney who understands the law and who has handled many of these cases will be able to craft your defense in an effort to preserve your freedom and your good name.

 

Why You Need a Defense Attorney

Proving every element of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt is a tall order for the prosecution. That leaves room for a defense attorney like Paul Schiffer and his team to step in and fight for you.

Like most sex crimes, aggravated sexual assault of a child is a sensitive subject, so it’s important that your defense attorney has experience with these specific types of cases. At our office, we understand how serious these charges are and will explain everything to you thoroughly so that you understand what you’re up against, and why you may have a fighting chance. No one should face a situation like this alone. You need a lawyer whom you can trust to handle your case with the highest skill.

When you contact the Law Office of Paul Schiffer, you can be sure that we’ll listen to what you have to say, analyze your case thoroughly, and form a solid defense. We’ll also support you emotionally from start to finish, because we understand what you are going through.

 

How has Paul Schiffer Successfully Defended Cases of this Kind?

That’s a great question, but you won’t find the answer here. While there is nothing inherently secret about a great defense, some attorneys are simply better prepared, more creative, and more experienced than others. It’s that combination that makes Paul Schiffer successful in defending these cases. A professional sports team, or an army preparing for battle, doesn’t disclose its strategy to the opposition. It is only through a confidential, in-person, meeting with Paul Schiffer, where your information is protected by the attorney-client privilege, that he will discuss potential strategies that are tailored to your circumstances. Call today to set up a meeting with Paul in his office. Be sure and bring any paperwork or other information you have about your case or an investigation.   

 

If you or a loved one has been charged with aggravated sexual assault of a child, don’t wait any longer; we know that the sooner we get started defending you, the more we can help you. Contact our office today to start building your case. You can contact the Law Office of Paul Schiffer by phone, email, through our website, or by stopping by our office. We’re ready to help.

 

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Call Houston Child Sex Crimes attorney Paul Schiffer today at (713)-521-0059 to start strategically building your defense.