Texas is known for its tough stance regarding sex crimes. Unlike in other states a person accused of a sex crime such as sexual assault or criminal solicitation of a minor in Texas often is highly likely to face several years in prison as well as long term registration as a sexual offender. Penalties of sex crimes are usually severe and consequences often cause irreparable damage to the offender”s reputation.
Sexual crimes in the Texas Penal Code include:
a) Sexual assault. In Texas this refers to any sex crime that is committed to an individual who is considered a minor (under 17 years) as well as sex crimes committed against an adult without their consent. Sexual assault includes crimes such as rape and statutory rape.
b) Aggravated sexual assault. This category refers to a more serious crime than sexual assault; aggravated sexual assault usually involves minors under the age of 14.
c) Indecency with a child. Charges under this category are quite severe especially when they involve victims under the age of 17.Indecency with a child is divided into two specific crimes: Indecency with a child by exposure which is exposing without touching and indecency with a child by contact which involves touching. Both charges apply as long as a child younger than 17 years is involved and they include same or opposite sex. Both of these charges are felonies; however indecency with a child by contact is often regarded as more serious. In Texas touching under the clothes or over the clothes is irrelevant.
d) Child pornography. Child pornography charges often result in federal criminal trial although they may also result in state charges. Charges under this category include: Display, sale or distribution of harmful material to minor; Improper photography or visual recording and Sexual performance by a child.
In Texas sex offenders do not just simply serve their time, pay their debt to the society and move on with life like nothing happened. If you are convicted of a serious sex crime your name has to appear in the sex offender registration list together with your address and photo for the rest of your life. This means that you will face restrictions where you live and work .It may also mean that you can be held beyond the end of your sentence in civil commitment in certain circumstances. Sex offender registration requirements depend on the crime and can range from 10 years to life.
Convicts who are accused of sex offenses involving children are often perceived as a threat to society. This stigma follows them throughout their lives and often results in loss of reputation and friendships. At the same time sex offenders also face other consequences that apply to convicts of other crimes in Texas. These sanctions affect: The right to vote; Serving on a jury and Holding public office.
Sex offenders on parole are not allowed to be within 500 feet of any place where children are known to congregate; this is commonly referred to as a Child Safety Zone. Sex crime convicts who are placed on probation may be ordered by a judge to keep away from children.