Rape Pleas in Houston: What Are the Options?Published: Jan 11, 2019 in Criminal Defense, Sex Crimes
Rape charges carry very serious consequences. In addition to facing a significant jail or prison sentence, you will likely suffer permanent damage to your reputation if you are convicted. Sex offender registration may be necessary in your case, and such registration can impact your career, make it difficult to find housing, and even impact your immigration status and child custody. The potential consequences can be overwhelming. It’s important to note, however, that just because accusations have been made, or you have been charged, you will not necessarily be found guilty. There are options as to how you can plead in a rape case, and a skilled Houston rape lawyer can explain these options to you.
Don’t leave your future in the hands of the prosecution. If you’ve been charged with rape, you should reach out to The Law Offices of Ned Barnett as soon as possible. To schedule a free consultation of your case, contact us today at (713) 222-6767.
What are Your Options in a Houston Rape Case?
When you’re accused of rape in Houston, TX, you have a number of options, including:
Pleading Not Guilty
The prosecution may make it sound like the evidence against you is overwhelming and that your conviction is the end of your case. That’s why it is critical to remember that you are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. This means that when you face criminal charges, the prosecution has the burden of proving that you actually committed the offense beyond a reasonable doubt. As a result, you have the right to plead not guilty to any criminal charges, including accusations of rape. You have a right to face your accusers, hear the evidence against you, and offer a defense.
When you plead not guilty, you are essentially requesting that your case gets set for trial. This gives you time to review the evidence, weigh your options, and, most importantly, consult with a Houston rape lawyer. You can then decide whether you should proceed with the trial or seek a plea agreement.
Entering a Guilty Plea
You can also plead guilty to charges of rape. However, you need to understand that once you plead guilty, your case is over. The plea will be entered, and you will be convicted. The conviction will be reflected on your record, and you will have to register as a sex offender. In addition to the public stigma, you will also be facing jail time and fines.
No Contest or Nolo Contendere
You may have recently read about Baylor fraternity president who was allowed to enter a plea of no contest to rape charges earlier this year. As a result of this plea, he avoided jail time and did not need to register as a sex offender.
Under Texas law, criminal defendants have the right to enter a plea of no contest. Pleading no contest (otherwise referred to as “nolo contendere”) means that you are not admitting guilt, but you are not offering a defense. A plea of no contest has the same legal effect as a guilty plea, but gives you some flexibility in working out your sentencing and other consequences.
Plea Bargains/ Plea Agreements
As you prepare for trial, the prosecution may approach you with a possible plea bargain. Such a deal allows the prosecution to obtain a conviction without going to trial, but gives you the option to negotiate more favorable terms. In a rape case, a plea bargain might include the following:
- Pleading guilty or no contest to lesser charges
- Reducing or avoiding jail time and fines.
- Avoiding sex offender registration
Plea bargains typically offer some benefit to both the prosecution and the defendant, but are often skewed in favor of the prosecution. If you have been offered a plea deal, you should discuss it with your attorney and give it very careful consideration to ensure that you are getting the best possible deal.
Contact a Houston Rape Lawyer for Help Today
Facing accusations of rape can have devastating effects on every aspect of your life. To avoid these long-lasting penalties, it’s important that you reach out to a skilled criminal defense lawyer for help. Attorney Ned Barnett has been defending people accused of rape in the Houston area for over 30 years, and he is prepared to fight for a fair outcome in your case. For a free, initial evaluation of your case, contact The Law Offices of Ned Barnett at (713) 222-6767.