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Aggravated Sexual Assault in Texas

Aggravated Sexual Assault is a Texas crime that requires the state’s lawyers to prove that you engaged in a Sexual Assault or Statutory Rape in addition to one of several different aggravating circumstances. Aggravated Sexual Assault is described independently from both Aggravated Assault or Sexual Assault. Although it is its own offense, it shares elements of both the Aggravated Assault offense and the Sexual Assault offense.

Have you been charged with Aggravated Sexual Assault in Texas? Call criminal defense lawyer Paul Saputo at (888) 239-9305.

Aggravated Sexual Assault cases are frequently handled by special “sex crimes” prosecutors. Law enforcement handles these cases with focus and attention, and you will likely be facing some of the very best Texas prosecuting attorneys and investigators. That is not to say you cannot win, but the importance of building the very best defense that you are able to build, even if you are completely innocent (in fact, especially if you are completely innocent!) is, extremely important.

What is the law about Aggravated Sexual Assault in Texas?

The Aggravated Sexual Assault law is complicated. It basically requires a Sexual Assault (as described in the Sexual Assault law) and at least one aggravating factor. The Sexual Assault law requires either a sexual act with a child or a non-consensual sexual act with an adult. The aggravating factors include: (1) the use of a weapon, violence or serious threat, (2) the use of a date rape drug, (3) a victim under 14 years old and (4) an elderly or disabled individual. The full text of the offense is below.

Aggravated Sexual Assault is a described in Section 22.021(a) of the Texas Penal Code as follows:

(a) A person commits an offense:

(1) if the person:

(A) intentionally or knowingly:

(i) causes the penetration of the anus or sexual organ of another person by any means, without that person’s consent;

(ii) causes the penetration of the mouth of another person by the sexual organ of the actor, without that person’s consent; or

(iii) causes the sexual organ of another person, without that person’s consent, to contact or penetrate the mouth, anus, or sexual organ of another person, including the actor; or

(B) intentionally or knowingly:

(i) causes the penetration of the anus or sexual organ of a child by any means;

(ii) causes the penetration of the mouth of a child by the sexual organ of the actor;

(iii) causes the sexual organ of a child to contact or penetrate the mouth, anus, or sexual organ of another person, including the actor;

(iv) causes the anus of a child to contact the mouth, anus, or sexual organ of another person, including the actor; or

(v) causes the mouth of a child to contact the anus or sexual organ of another person, including the actor; and

(2) if:

(A) the person:

(i) causes serious bodily injury or attempts to cause the death of the victim or another person in the course of the same criminal episode;

(ii) by acts or words places the victim in fear that any person will become the victim of an offense under Section 20A.02(a)(3), (4), (7), or (8) or that death, serious bodily injury, or kidnapping will be imminently inflicted on any person;

(iii) by acts or words occurring in the presence of the victim threatens to cause any person to become the victim of an offense under Section 20A.02(a)(3), (4), (7), or (8) or to cause the death, serious bodily injury, or kidnapping of any person;

(iv) uses or exhibits a deadly weapon in the course of the same criminal episode;

(v) acts in concert with another who engages in conduct described by Subdivision (1) directed toward the same victim and occurring during the course of the same criminal episode; or

(vi) administers or provides flunitrazepam, otherwise known as rohypnol, gamma hydroxybutyrate, or ketamine to the victim of the offense with the intent of facilitating the commission of the offense;

(B) the victim is younger than 14 years of age; or

(C) the victim is an elderly individual or a disabled individual.

What is the penalty for an Aggravated Sexual Assault conviction?

Aggravated Sexual Assault is a first degree felony in Texas.1 This is the second most serious type of crime in Texas, and it is also subject to an enhancement of the minimum prison term to 25 years if the victim is younger than 6 or, if the victim is between 6 and 13 years old, the assault also involved a subsection (a)(2)(A) circumstance (where a deadly weapon was used, serious bodily injury occurred, human trafficking was threatened and other similar conduct).2 You may also be facing a mandatory life without parole (LWOP) sentence if you have a prior conviction for a “sexually violent offense.” What does a First Degree Felony mean?

If you have been accused of Aggravated Sexual Assault, you are facing a life sentence in prison. Both your freedom and your reputation is on the line. Do not think you will be safe from arrest, prosecution and conviction just because you are innocent. It can happen to anyone. Unfortunately, since even an arrest for Aggravated Sexual Assault can have a huge negative impact on your life, even if you are never convicted. So if you have not yet been arrested, it is crucial to hire a criminal defense lawyer immediately to try to avoid an arrest if possible. Please contact us by phone at (888) 239-9305 or contact us online.

If you have already been arrested, then you need to make sure that you hire a criminal defense attorney who will conduct a thorough investigation, not be afraid to challenge the government and also have the capabilities and resources to examine and confront any forensic evidence.

Have you already been arrested for Aggravated Sexual Assault? What is the best defense to an Aggravated Sexual Assault charge?

If you have already been arrested for Aggravated Sexual Assault, your best course of action is to aggressively take action to defend yourself. This is not the type of case that anyone will take lightly, and neither should your criminal defense attorney. As part of our Sex Assault Defense, we will need to conduct our own thorough and independent investigation. We do not consider it enough to rely on the facts as the police report them. We collect evidence from such sources as witnesses, laboratories, social media and other electronic sources. No stone should be left unturned.

When the case gets to the courtroom, knowledge is power. And we strive to have more knowledge than the state’s attorneys.

What is a “child,” “disabled individual,” and “elderly individual” under the law?

Under this Texas law, “child” means a person under 17 years old.3 “Elderly individual” means a person 65 years of age or older.4 The definition of a disabled individual was updated during the 84th Legislature (H.B. 2589). For offenses alleged to have been committed after September 1, 2015, “disabled individual” means a person older than 13 years of age who by reason of age or physical or mental disease, defect, or injury is substantially unable to protect the person’s self from harm or to provide food, shelter, or medical care for the person’s self.5 For offenses alleged to have been committed prior to September 1, 2015, the old law applies, and the statute required a person to be older than 14 years old to be considered a disabled individual.

What is the law on consent in Texas?

Describing “consent,” the Aggravated Sexual Assault subsection in Section 22.021(c) cross-references the Texas Sexual Assault definitions of “without consent.” Learn more about consent in Texas law

Can I get parole for an Aggravated Sexual Assault conviction?

Under Texas Government Code §508.145(a), you are not eligible for parole if you are serving the “mandatory minimum” sentence of 25 years or more, as described in Texas Penal Code Section 22.021(f), on an Aggravated Sexual Assault conviction.

Under Texas Government Code §508.145(d)(3), you are not eligible for parole if you were sentenced to life without parole (LWOP) for Aggravated Sexual Assault pursuant to the repeat offender mandatory minimum in Section 12.42(c)(4).

You may be eligible for parole under Texas Government Code §508.145(d)(1)&((2), but there are many exceptions, so you should definitely consult an attorney for applicability specific to your case.


Legal References:

1 Texas Penal Code Section 22.021(e)

2 Texas Penal Code Section 22.021(f) –

(f) The minimum term of imprisonment for an offense under this section is increased to 25 years if:

(1) the victim of the offense is younger than six years of age at the time the offense is committed; or

(2) the victim of the offense is younger than 14 years of age at the time the offense is committed and the actor commits the offense in a manner described by Subsection (a)(2)(A).

3 Texas Penal Code Section 22.021(b)(1), cross-referencing Section 22.011(c)

4 Texas Penal Code Section 22.021(b)(2). This subsection states that “‘Elderly individual’ has the meaning assigned by Section 22.04(c).” Section 22.04(c) defines “elderly individual” in subsection (c)(2) as “a person 65 years of age or older.”

5 Texas Penal Code Section 22.021(b)(3). House Bill 2589 was made effective September 1, 2015, and changed the definition of a disabled individual to persons over 13 years old, down from 14 years old.

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