A charge of indecency with a child in Texas is incredibly serious. It is a felony offense that can result in, if convicted, many years behind bars, high fines, and registration as a sex offender. Texas law takes the protection of children very seriously. One of the side effects of this is that prosecutors and judges are often overzealous in prosecuting people, often to the point that someone who is not actually guilty of this offense could be punished inappropriately.
If you face charges of indecency with a child in Texas, contact an Odessa criminal lawyer to understand your rights and fight a criminal conviction. Your case should be handled by an experienced criminal defense attorney who knows how to defend your case.
Odessa, Texas Indecency with a Child Lawyer
E. Jason Leach focuses exclusively on criminal defense law and has been doing so for over a decade. Since 2005, he has worked tirelessly to protect the rights of those accused of crimes. He is a Texas board-certified expert in criminal defense and believes that all clients are entitled to the most vigorous defense possible.
People accused of a crime have constitutional rights that deserve to be protected. A criminal conviction can place an incredibly heavy burden on your life, but you do not have to simply accept the charges against you. You can fight back and work to avoid the difficulties of a criminal conviction. With the right help at your side, you can move forward confident that your rights are protected.
Indecency with a Child Charges in Texas
Indecency with a child is located in Texas Penal Code § 21.11. There are two different types of indecency with a child:
- indecency with a child by sexual contact
- indecency with a child by exposure
Both are very serious charges that can lead to a long prison sentence. If you face either charge you need an experienced attorney to fight for your rights.
Indecency with a Child by Sexual Contact
This version of the offense occurs if a person engages in sexual contact with a child who is under the age of 17 and who is not the person's spouse. "Sexual contact" is defined as: "any touching by a person, including touching through clothing, of the anus, breast, or any part of the genitals of a child" when committed "with the intent to arouse or gratify the sexual desire of any person."
No penetration of a person's bodily orifices is required for this offense, otherwise, the offense would likely be raised to a sexual assault. The conduct involved here is commonly referred to as "fondling," which may seem less serious than true sexual conduct but can still result in a very serious criminal charge if you are convicted.
Indecency with a Child by Exposure
Indecency with a child by exposure occurs when a person exposes the anus or any part of the genitals in the known presence of a child or causes the child to exposes the child's anus or part of his or her genitals "with the intention to sexually arouse or gratify any person's sexual desires."
Often called "flashing," the factual situations in which this may occur are extremely varied. In every case, this is a serious charge with high penalties.
Penalties for Indecency with a Child in Texas
Texas places very high penalties on its felony offenders, and it does not take either form of indecency with a child form lightly. A charge of indecency with a child is always a felony offense and may require you to register as a sex offender in the State of Texas.
Indecency with a child by sexual contact is a felony of the second degree. It is punishable by:
- Between 2 and a maximum of up to 20 years in prison
- a maximum possible fine of up to $10,000
Indecency with a child by exposure is a felony of the third degree. It is punishable by:
- Between 2 and a maximum of up to 10 years in prison
- a maximum possible fine of up to $10,000
As a felon, you will also lose the right to vote, own or carry firearms, and serve on a jury. You will likely face several other collateral consequences, such as difficulty finding employment, loss of special licenses, and many more.
How to Defend Your Case
Certain affirmative defenses may apply to your case that could save you from a charge of indecency with a child. Certain affirmative defenses based on age can be raised, including if all of the following apply:
- if the alleged offender was not more than 3 years older than the alleged victim
- the alleged offender did not use threats, force, or duress against the child
- the alleged offender was the opposite sex than the child
- the alleged offender was not already a registered sex offender
If the parties were married at the time of the alleged incident, the charge also cannot apply.
Ultimately, even if one of the affirmative defenses does not apply, there are still many ways to challenge the case against you depending on your specific circumstances. These include, but are far from limited to:
- filing a suppression motion to exclude certain evidence
- presenting reasonable doubt to the jury
- demonstrating inconsistencies in the prosecutor's case
- demonstrating that the alleged "victim" has been untruthful in his or her testimony
With the help of an experienced attorney at your side, you can present a strong defense that will ensure your constitutional rights are protected. You do not have to face these charges alone.
Consult an Experienced Odessa Indecency with a Child Lawyer
If you or someone you care about want is charged with a charge of indecency with a child in Odessa, TX or the surrounding areas, you need a knowledgeable, experienced attorney to fight for your constitutional rights.
You have the right to fight back against these charges. The Law Office of E. Jason Leach, PLLC is ready to help you defend your case. To set up a free consultation, contact the Law Office of E. Jason Leach today at (432) 552-7000.