Indecent assault is a new crime in Texas, but it is also a very serious one.
As of September 1, 2019, indecent assault is going to be included in the Texas Penal Code. This changes the old law from a Class C misdemeanor to a Class A misdemeanor, meaning it is a much more serious crime with much harsher penalties. If you have been charged with the crime of indecent assault, it is important you speak to an Austin criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. An attorney will give you the best chance of a positive outcome.
Indecent Assault in Texas Defined
The crime of indecent assault will be listed in Section 22.012 of the Texas Penal Code. Under SB 194, this offense occurs any time an individual commits certain offenses without another person’s consent, and with the intention of sexually arousing that person. The offenses outlined within the law include:
Touching the anus, breast, or any other genital area of another person,
Touching another person with an anus, breast, or any other genital area,
Exposing, or attempting to expose, another person’s pubic area, buttocks, female areola, or any other part of a person’s genitals,
Causing another person to touch blood or semen with the intent of sexually arousing that person
It is important that everyone in Texas understands how the new law defines the offense. Even joking around with someone may result in an indecent assault charge, which now comes with harsh penalties.
Penalties for Indecent Assault in Texas
Under the old law, which was considered groping, those accused faced Class C misdemeanor charges. This came with a penalty of $500. Now, indecent assault is considered a Class A misdemeanor. Under this classification, those convicted may face up to a year in jail and a maximum fine of $4,000.
Like any crime, those convicted will also have a permanent criminal record. That carries many consequences. Employers often conduct background checks and will not hire those with a criminal record. Landlords and academic institutions also perform background checks and may also keep those convicted from certain opportunities.
Defenses to Indecent Assault in Texas
While facing indecent assault charges seems hopeless, it is not. There are several defenses available. One of the most common of these is that the alleged victim consented to the touching. Under the law, a person only commits the offense of indecent assault if he or she does not have permission to touch another person.
When a person does not have the capacity to understand that he or she committed a crime, this can also provide a defense. Sometimes, law enforcement and the prosecution simply get it wrong. They identify and charge the wrong person, which can also form the basis of a defense strategy for those accused.
Have You Been Charged? Call Our Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers
The new indecent assault law in Texas brings even stricter penalties for those convicted. If you have been charged, you need the help of our Austin criminal defense lawyers at Granger and Mueller, PC. We will ensure your rights are upheld, refute the arguments of the defense, and create a solid defense to give you the best chance of a successful outcome. Call us today at (512) 474-9999 or contact us online to schedule a meeting with one of our attorneys.