Is Groping Illegal in Texas?Published: Dec 05, 2020 in Criminal Defense, Sex Crimes, Sex Crimes Involving Children
Being accused of touching someone inappropriately is always serious. In the past, groping was only punishable with a small fine, but in 2019 Texas raised the severity of groping, defining it as “indecent sexual assault,” and making it a class A misdemeanor.
Don’t take an allegation that you groped someone lightly or try to handle things on your own. You could face a year in jail and a $4,000 fine.
When Groping is Illegal
A person commits indecent sexual assault or groping if, without consent and with the intent to arouse or gratify sexual desire a person touches the anus, breast, or the genitals of another.
Other Charges Related to Groping
There are also a number of criminal offenses in Texas related to groping, including:
Section 22.01 of the Texas Penal Code makes it illegal to “intentionally or knowingly cause physical contact with another when the person knows or should reasonably believe that the other will regard the contact as offensive or provocative.”
A class C misdemeanor is the lowest misdemeanor you can face. It is punishable by a fine of up to $500 and no jail time. This was how groping was previously charged, and only escalated if the victim was elderly or disabled. However, the new law makes groping a class A misdemeanor.
Under Section 21.07 of the Texas Penal Code, you can also be charged with a class A misdemeanor if it is believed that you made sexual contact with another person in a public place, or if you were careless about whether another person is present for a sex act.
Texas Penal Code Section 21.11 makes it a second-degree felony to engage in any sexual contact with a child under 17. This section of the code expressly criminalizes the following acts:
- Touching a minor’s anus, breast, or any part of their genitals through their clothing
- Touching a child with your anus, breast, or genitals
If found guilty, you face up to 20 years in prison, and fines reaching $10,000.
Charged with Groping? Contact a Houston Sex Crimes Attorney
Any charges related to groping someone in Houston need to be handled the right way. Even if you avoid jail, you could still be required to register as a sex offender or placed on probation for years.
At the earliest opportunity, contact a criminal defense lawyer. You should not wait or assume doing so makes you look guilty. When facing sexual assault charges for groping, you need objective legal advice as soon as possible. A lawyer can explain the situation, ensure you are treated fairly, and is the best option to avoid formal charges.
Attorney Ned Barnett has been representing people charged with crimes in the Houston area for decades. He uses his experience and knowledge of the law to give his clients personalized, legal representation while fighting for the best possible outcome, like a reduction or complete dismissal.