Indecent assault has just been added to the Texas Penal Code. What does this mean?
Indecent assault is a fairly new crime in Texas. Prior to September 1, 2019, this offense was known as groping, and it came with fairly relaxed penalties for those convicted. Now, the law has been changed due to Senate Bill 194, which redefines this offense as indecent assault. It also increases the penalty for those convicted, making the law much more strict.
It is imperative that anyone who has been charged understands the new law and the new sentences imposed. With such serious penalties, it is even more important that those accused speak to a Texas indecent assault attorney who can help.
What Constitutes Indecent Assault?
Under the Texas Penal Code, the new law will define four scenarios in which a person could face charges of indecent assault. These include:
Groping or touching someone else’s genital area without consent
Rubbing genitals against another person without consent
Removing, or attempting to remove, any article of clothing that covers another person’s genital or private areas
Causing another person to come into contact with the blood, saliva, urine, feces, semen, or vaginal fluid of another person, without consent
When a person takes any of these actions, he or she is at risk of being charged with indecent assault. If charges are laid, those accused face serious consequences.
Penalties for Indecent Assault
When indecent assault was known as groping, it was only considered a Class C misdemeanor. This is a minor offense and is similar to accumulating too many traffic tickets. The maximum penalty a person faces if convicted of a Class C misdemeanor is a $500 fine.
As of September 1, 2019, the penalties will change. The offense of indecent assault will be considered a Class A misdemeanor. The maximum penalty for those convicted include up to one year in jail and a maximum fine of $4000.
Additionally, the alleged victim of the crime can ask a judge to issue a protective order against the alleged perpetrator. This is a restraining order that does not allow the accused to come within a certain distance of the alleged victim. This becomes difficult when the alleged victim and the accused are in a close relationship. For example, if a wife accuses her husband of indecent assault and obtains a protective order, it can make it difficult for the husband to see his children that live in the same house as their mother.
Have You Been Charged with Indecent Assault? Call Our Texas Criminal Defense Attorneys
If you have been charged with indecent assault, there is more at stake now than ever before. At Granger and Mueller, PC, we are the Austin criminal defense attorneys who are committed to helping those accused of a crime. We will build you a solid defense and give you the best chance of retaining your freedom. Call us today at (512) 474-9999 or contact us online to schedule a meeting with one of our attorneys.