Defining Aggravating Sexual Assault in TexasPublished: Jan 20, 2020 in Sex Crimes
Many states use similar terms to describe sex offenses. However, the definitions for these terms can vary wildly.
Sexual assault in Texas is not the same conduct as sexual assault in Illinois or Maryland. If someone has accused you or a loved one of sexual assault or aggravated sexual assault in Texas, you need to know how these offenses are defined and what a prosecutor must prove to secure a conviction.
Talk with Houston sex crimes attorney Ned Barnett about how Texas defines aggravated sexual assault. Call The Law Offices of Ned Barnett at (713) 222-6767 for help today. We offer free and confidential consultations.
The Basis of Aggravated Sexual Assault
Under Texas Statute Section 22.011(a), you can be charged with sexual assault if you knowingly and intentionally:
- Cause the penetration of another person’s sex organ or anus, by any means, without that person’s consent;
- Cause the penetration of another person’s mouth by your sex organ without that person’s consent; or
- Cause another person’s sex organ to contact or penetrate the mouth, anus, or sexual organ of another individual, including your own, without that person’s consent.
You also can be charged with sexual assault of a child if you, regardless of whether you knew the child’s age at the time of the assault, intentionally or knowingly caused a child to participate in any sexual activity. Consent is not an element of child sexual assault.
Sexual Assault : Aggravating Factors
Texas Statute Section 22.02 defines aggravated sexual assault, which is a more severe occurrence of sexual assault.
You can be charged with aggravated sexual assault if you commit an act defined in Sec. 22.011, and you:
- Cause someone serious bodily injury; or
- Use or exhibit a deadly weapon during the commission of the sexual assault.
The Elements of Aggravated Sexual Assault
If you are charged with or accused of aggravated sexual assault, talk with an experienced Houston sexual assault lawyer right away. One or more of your defenses may be based on showing the court that the prosecutor cannot establish each element of the offense.
The prosecutor must prove several elements to establish sexual assault beyond a reasonable doubt.
The prosecutor must prove:
- Your actions were knowing and intentional.
- You caused sexual contact with or penetration of another person by any means and however slight.
- You did not have the other person’s consent to act as you did.
The prosecutor must also establish an aggravating factor: serious bodily injury or a deadly weapon.
Serious bodily injury means the harm you caused created a substantial risk of death or that caused death, serious permanent disfigurement, or prolonged loss or impairment of the function of any body part or organ.
A deadly weapon means any firearm; any item designed, made, or adapted to inflict death or serious bodily injury; or any item that can cause death or serious bodily injury in the manner its use or intended use.
While certain knives and other objects are deadly by design, many items can also be deadly by the manner of their use, like a baseball bat, belt buckle, board, bottle, fire, hammer, vehicles, ropes, scissors, screwdrivers, and straight razors.
Consent is Often Contested in Sexual Assault Cases
When you are facing charges for aggravated sexual assault, whether you had consent can be a contentious issue. Texas law prescribes various ways in which you might act without consent.
Under Section 22.011(b), you act without consent if:
- You compel the victim to submit or participate by using physical force, violence, or coercion;
- You compel the victim to submit or participate by threatening the use of force or violence against them or threaten to cause them harm, and the victim believes you can execute that threat;
- The victim has not consented, and you know they are unconscious or physically unable to resist;
- You know that as a result of a mental disease or defect, the victim is incapable of appraising the nature of the act or resisting it;
- The victim has not consented, and you know they are unaware the sexual assault is occurring;
- You intentionally impair the victim’s power to appraise or control their conduct by administering any substance without their knowledge;
- You compel the victim to submit or participate by threatening to use force or violence against any person, and the victim believes you can execute the threat;
- You are a public servant who coerces the victim to submit or participate;
- You are a mental health or health care service provider, and the victim is a current or former patient of yours, and you cause the victim to submit by exploiting their emotional dependency on you;
- You are a clergyman who causes the victim to submit or participate by exploiting their emotional dependency on you as a spiritual adviser;
- You are an employee of a facility where the victim resides; or
- You are a health care service provider who, while performing an assisted reproduction procedure on the victim, uses human reproductive material from any donor while knowing the victim has not expressly consented to the use of material from that donor.
Attorney Barnett Can Defend Against Texas Aggravated Sexual Assault
If you or a relative have been charged with aggravated sexual assault, contact The Law Offices of Ned Barnett right away. By working with an experienced and successful defense attorney Ned Barnett, you have someone who can fight for you, attack the elements of the offense, and raise doubt of your guilt during a trial.
Attorney Ned Barnett has decades of experiencing defending people against wrongful accusations of sexual assault. Contact us today at (713) 222-6767 or online to request a free and confidential consultation.