Fort Worth Sex Crimes Defense Lawyer
Let a Former FBI Agent and Law Enforcement Officer Defend Your Case
Sex crimes are one of the toughest categories of criminal charges to handle. The consequences of a sex conviction can also follow you for life, such as required sex offender registration, which can severely impact your ability to apply for jobs and housing. The Shipley Law Firm, PLLC understands how important your freedom is, and Mr. Shipley will do his best to craft a compelling defense for you. As a former law enforcement officer and FBI agent with over 20 years of criminal justice experience, Mr. Shipley brings a unique background in investigation that can prove highly advantageous to your defense, especially as he can anticipate what evidence the prosecution might try to bring against you.
Schedule a free consultation with The Shipley Law Firm, PLLC to get started on your defense. Representing all of Tarrant County.
Common Sex Crimes
Sex crimes include a range of offenses. Common examples of sex crimes in Texas are:
- Sexual assault
- Possession of child pornography
- Indecency with a child
- Public lewdness
- Sex trafficking
Sex crimes are charged as misdemeanors or felonies, depending on the severity of the offense. Sex crimes involving children are typically charged as felonies. Additionally, most sex offenses are punishable by a period of required sex offender registration, as well as jail time and fines.
Sexual Assault Offenses
Sexual assault is one of the most common sex offenses defendants are charged with. Sexual assault, or rape, occurs when someone commits prohibited sexual conduct without the other person’s consent while:
- intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly causing bodily injury to the other person, including their own spouse;
- intentionally or knowingly threatening the other person with imminent bodily injury, including their own spouse; or
- intentionally or knowingly causing physical contact with the other person when they know or should reasonably believe that they will regard the contact as offensive or provocative.
The act is considered to have been without consent if physical violence was threatened or used to get the other person to submit to the defendant's actions. There is also a lack of consent if the alleged victim is physically unable to resist or understand the nature of the act being performed. Consent is also lacking in any situation where the defendant is in a place of power or charged with the care of the other person, such as if the defendant is a healthcare services provider, clergyman, public servant, or an employee of a facility where the alleged victim lives.
Sexual assault becomes aggravated sexual assault if any of the following occur:
- the defendant has caused serious bodily injury or attempted to cause the death of the other person;
- the defendant placed the other person in fear of death, serious bodily injury, or kidnapping;
- the defendant used or displayed a deadly weapon during the crime;
- the defendant acted with another individual in committing the crime;
- the defendant used a "date rape drug" with the intent of making the offense easier to commit;
- the alleged victim is younger than 14 years old;
- the alleged victim is an elderly or disabled individual.
Sexual assault is typically charged as a second-degree felony punishable by 2-20 years in state prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000.
Aggravated sexual assault is a first-degree felony punishable by 5-99 years in state prison and up to $10,000 in fines, with a possible mandatory minimum of 25 years in prison if aggravating factors are present (e.g., the offense involved a deadly weapon, the alleged victim was younger than 6 years old, etc.).
Sex Offender Registration
In addition to jail time and fines, individuals convicted of certain sex offenses will also have to register on a public sex offender registry for a period of time determined by their offense. Offenders will be classified into 3 different risk levels for the purposes of sex offender registration:
- Low risk offenders (Level 1) – unlikely to commit a sexual crime
- Moderate risk offenders (Level 2) – may continue to commit sex crimes
- High risk offenders (Level 3) – pose a threat to commit another sexual offense
Individuals will either have to register for life or for 10 years. Charges that do not involve sexual contact, such as solicitation of a minor online or indecent exposure (first offense), warrant a 10-year registration. Other offenses like sexual assault, human or child trafficking, and possession of child pornography require lifetime registration. Failure to register is a felony ranging from the state jail felony level to the second-degree felony level.
Sex offender registration can follow you for life. The registry is public, which means you could face serious hurdles in obtaining employment or an apartment lease due to the stigma of your past. If you have been accused of a sex crime, it is imperative to work with an experienced defense lawyer immediately. Let Mr. Shipley take a closer look at your situation and help you strategize a formidable defense that will protect your rights and your future.
Contact The Shipley Law Firm, PLLC or call (817) 783-4899 for a free consultation to get started. An attorney will return your call within 24 hours.