When Houston Teens are Charged with Sex CrimesPublished: Apr 16, 2019 in Criminal Defense, Sex Crimes
Everyone knows that teenagers don’t always understand the consequences of their actions. The need to no longer be treated as a child, the desire for attention, the pull of strong emotions that overcome self-control, and the constant pressure of their peers can push teens and young adults to make irresponsible decisions. Unfortunately, these stupid things often end up being illegal. For example, what may seem like a harmless prank may actually be prosecuted as a teen sex crime.
Although Texas has a separate criminal justice system for juveniles, there is no guarantee that a teenager will not be prosecuted as an adult, especially if the case involves serious misconduct. Additionally, the age of criminal responsibility is 17 in Texas, meaning that the courts treat your child as an adult one year before they reach adulthood. For these reasons, a teenager’s criminal charges must be treated seriously with the help of an experienced Houston sexual assault lawyer.
Teens Can Face Felony Charges for Alleged Sex Crimes
A recent case that occurred in Licking, Texas shows what happens when a prank goes bad. A 17-year-old male revealed and touched the private parts of a sleeping friend. To top it off, he decided to film the whole thing. The video was shared to a small group of friends on Snapchat, but later the video was shared throughout their high school. Not only did this make the crime more serious, but it provided the authorities with undeniable evidence against him. When they confronted him, he admitted to the police that he did it because he “thought it was funny.”
What started off as a cruel prank will now end in court. Since he is 17 years old, the suspect will be tried as an adult, facing felony harassment misdemeanor sexual misconduct. If convicted, he faces time in prison, and large fines. The prospects for his defense are not good, considering that he readily confessed to the crime, and that there is widespread video evidence of the offense. His defense team will likely ask for leniency due to their client’s lack of maturity.
Assuming he gets off with a light sentence, the suspect will still have to contend with the devastating collateral consequences of being a convicted sex offender. At a time when most of his peers will be filling out applications for college or a career, he will instead be filling out his sex offender registration information at the local law enforcement office. His photo, name, a description of his offenses, address, place of work, vehicle registration, and email address will all be accessible to the public. His reputation will be ruined before he even gets a chance to prove his character as an individual.
A Houston Sex Crimes Lawyer Can Help
Don’t assume that teenagers get treated lightly by the criminal justice system. If you or a loved one is facing teen sex crime charges, you need to act fast and hire aggressive legal representation to avoid the harsh consequences of a conviction. It’s especially important that you do not speak with the police. As in the case described above, the suspect severely hampered his defense team’s options by talking with the authorities and admitting to the crime. To learn more about defending against a Texas sex offense charge, call The Law Offices of Ned Barnett today at (713) 222-6767, or reach out online to schedule a free and confidential evaluation of your case.