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Texas Sex Crimes Defense Lawyer

By July 8, 2024Blog11 min read

Sex crime charges under Texas law are notoriously complex, carrying severe and life-changing consequences for the accused. From lengthy prison sentences to mandatory registration as a sex offender and significant social stigma, a sex crime conviction affects personal relationships, employment opportunities, and overall quality of life. A wide range of offenses fall under the umbrella of sex crimes in Texas, and today’s post details each, followed by more critical information about Texas sex crime laws and the defense process.

What is Considered a Sex Crime in Texas

Texas sex crimes can range from a misdemeanor to a felony; however, none are free from the accompanying stigma a conviction can carry. Therefore, it’s essential to understand what kinds of acts and behaviors are considered illegal (22.011 Texas Penal Code). For example, is having sex in public a crime in Texas? Or how about indecent exposure – where does that fall?

No matter the charges, facing sex crime accusations is grave, especially when considering the life-impacting consequences. Therefore, understanding the landscape of sex crimes Texas, including when to contact an experienced Texas sex crimes attorney, can be critical.

Types of Sex Crimes in Texas

Sex crime laws in Texas encompass a wide range of offenses. Following is a list of the primary types, including more information about each offense.

Sexual Assault

Texas sex crime laws view a sexual assault offense as any non-consensual sexual contact, including rape. Sexual assault of an adult is a second-degree felony, punishable by 2-20 years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines.

Aggravated Sexual Assault

This sex crime Texas offense involves sexual assault with aggravating factors (i.e., using a weapon) that cause severe bodily injury or targeting particularly vulnerable individuals such as children or the elderly. This crime is a first-degree felony, punishable by five years to life in prison and a $10,00 fine.

Indecency with a Child

Indecency with a child involves sexual contact or exposure with a child 16 years or younger, whether or not the age of the child is known by the accused. Per Texas sex crime laws, if there was only exposure (no contact), this crime is a third-degree felony, punishable by 2-10 years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines. However, if sexual contact occurred, then the charges escalate to a second-degree felony, punishable by between 2-20 years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine.

Prostitution and Solicitation

These Texas sex crimes include offering or agreeing to engage in sexual conduct for a fee, as well as soliciting or enticing others to engage in prostitution. The degree of the crime for these acts varies based on the circumstances and the individuals involved; however, a conviction can result in fines, probation, or imprisonment.

Possession or Distribution of Child Pornography

Child pornography crimes include possessing, promoting, or distributing material depicting minors (16 yrs. and under) engaged in sexual conduct. These acts are considered felonies under sex crime laws in Texas. Depending on the circumstances involved, individuals convicted of child pornography offenses face jail time, hefty fines, and life-altering registration as a sex offender.

Online Solicitation of a Minor

This Texas sex crime involves using the internet (i.e., emails, texts, or internet chats) to solicit meeting a minor (or a person believed to be a minor) for sexual conduct, and it is a punishable offense whether or not a meeting ever occurred. Online solicitation of a minor is a third-degree felony if the minor is between 14-16 and a second-degree felony if the targeted child is under 14. However, there is a defendable “Romeo and Juliet” clause if the accused is no more than three years older than the minor and the solicitation was consensual.

Improper Relationship Between Educator and Student

Improper educator and student relationships apply to adults working in a primary or secondary school setting, including teachers, coaches, police officers, administrative staff, and custodians, who have sex or sexual contact with a person enrolled at that school. Texas sex crime laws deem this crime a second-degree felony offense, even if the acts were consensual and the student involved is 18 or older.

Public Lewdness

Texas sex crime laws define public lewdness as having sex or sexual contact with another in a public place or “if not in a public place, the person is reckless about whether another is present who will be offended or alarmed.” A public place can include a car in a parking lot, an alley behind a building, or even a home or hotel room. Basically, if the police believe the individual involved in the act demonstrated recklessness about being seen by others, a public lewdness charge can apply. Public lewdness is a class A misdemeanor punishable by up to 1 year in jail and a $4,000 fine.

Indecent Exposure

Indecent exposure sex crime charges under Texas law include exposing one’s genitals with the intent to arouse or gratify sexual desire while being reckless about whether another person is present and will be offended or alarmed by the act. This class B misdemeanor is punishable by up to 180 days in prison and $2,000 in fines.


Voyeurism sex crimes in Texas involve observing someone without their consent for sexual gratification. Punishment for voyeurism depends on the circumstances and any prior offenses, ranging from a Class C misdemeanor for first offenses, a Class B misdemeanor for 2nd or 3rd offenses, or a state jail felony if the individual observed is a minor under 14.

Sex Crime Penalties in Texas

As demonstrated by the various punishments previously detailed, sex crimes in Texas can result in charges ranging from misdemeanors to felonies, punishable by jail time and heavy fines. Factors such as the age of the victim, the use of force, and the presence of aggravating circumstances contribute to the seriousness of Texas sex crimes. However, incarceration and fines are not the only consequences of sex crime convictions.

Sex Offender Treatment

Court-ordered sex offender treatments are a common consequence for those convicted under Texas sex crime laws. These programs offer treatment designed to address the underlying issues contributing to such criminal behavior, seeking to mitigate re-offense and enhance public safety. Court-ordered sex treatment programs commonly accompany sex crime convictions, including sex treatment services within the prison system.

Sex Offender Registration

Every state, including Texas, has a sex offender registry list and public notification program designed to track individuals convicted of sex crimes. Under sex crime laws in Texas, convicted sex offenders must register with local law enforcement agencies, providing personal information such as their name, address, employment, and details of their crime. Failure to register or provide updates as needed can result in additional criminal charges and penalties, including imprisonment.

Registered sex offenders often face various restrictions, such as limitations on where they can live, work, and travel. Authorities may also prohibit registrants from contacting certain individuals or entering specific locations like schools and parks. In most jurisdictions, registry database details are available to the public, often resulting in social stigma for registered offenders.

Why Do I Need a Texas Sex Crimes Defense Lawyer?

Sex crime allegations can have damaging consequences, including legal repercussions, reputational damage, social stigma, and harm to personal relationships. Overall, enduring a state of Texas sex crimes sentencing can be life-altering and devastating. However, it’s a long path from being arrested to getting convicted, and an experienced sex crime attorney Texas can help. Given the complexities of the legal system, having a determined Texas sex crimes defense lawyer who understands its intricacies is the first step to making the law work in your favor.

Our Texas Sex Crime Lawyers Fight for Your Rights and Reputation

When faced with a sex crime charge, it’s critical to have an experienced and unbiased criminal defense attorney who can represent you in criminal court. At the GHC Law Firm, we believe in the process of the law, and – more importantly – we know this process inside and out. Texas sex crimes laws may be complicated, but our attorneys understand every aspect, including how law enforcement approaches sex crime investigations. This wisdom, experience, knowledge, and complete dedication are the tools we use to build aggressive sex crimes defenses, doggedly fighting for our clients’ reputations and futures.

Common Sex Crimes Defense Strategies

When crafting a sex crime defense in Texas, having an aggressive and thorough criminal defense attorney help navigate the process is critical to achieving justice. Following are the three most common defenses used to fight sex crime charges under Texas law.


A sex crime attorney in Texas can use innocence as a defense strategy, especially if there is insufficient evidence linking the defendant to the crime. For example, this is an arguable defense if the accused has an alibi, placing them elsewhere when law enforcement alleges the defendant committed the crime. A plea of innocence can also apply if a Texas sex crime lawyer can argue mistaken identity – especially if the prosecution lacks clear evidence linking the defendant to the crime.


Another common sex crimes defense is consent. Sexual assault involves coercion or lack of consent. Therefore, if a Texas sex crimes defense lawyer can demonstrate beyond a reasonable doubt that both parties willingly participated in the sexual act, consent is a solid defense strategy.

Insanity/Mental Incapacity

A plea of insanity or mental incapacity is another defense strategy a sex crimes lawyer Texas can use in court. In these cases, the defendant must be able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that a mental incapacity prevented them from comprehending the nature of their actions.

GHC Law Firm - Texas Sex Crimes Lawyers

Sex crime penalties in Texas may be grave and life-altering, but don’t let the fear of accusations prevent you from seeking help and justice. When facing these accusations, it’s critical to seek help from a reputable sex crimes attorney Texas, like those at the GHC Law Firm in Austin. Our highly experienced criminal defense attorneys thoroughly understand Texas sex crime laws, providing the legal expertise and aggressive negotiation tactics necessary to secure the best possible outcome. If you or a loved one are facing Texas sex crimes allegations, make GHC Law your first call – we’ll fight for the justice you deserve.

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FAQ: Sex Crimes in Texas

What are the rules for sex offenders in Texas?

Texas sex crime laws provide various rules and restrictions for offenders, including sex crime database registration/community notification, residency/employment/travel requirements (including applicable regulations), internet restrictions/monitoring, and parole and probation requirements (i.e., monitoring, check-ins, and treatment).

Is Texas harsh on sex offenders?

Yes, Texas sex crime penalties for offenders are severe, including imprisonment, hefty fines, and a criminal record. There are also less tangible social stigmas attached to sex offenders that can make community reintegration extremely difficult.

How long do sex offenders go to jail in Texas?

The length of time a Texas sex offender may spend in jail varies widely, spanning 180 days to life. The incarceration period depends on the specific offense, the severity of the crime, and whether the offender has any prior convictions.

What is the statute of limitations for sex crimes in Texas?

Although there are general rules for some common sex crimes in Texas, statutes of limitations can be complex and subject to exceptions or changes based on legal or legislative developments. Therefore, it’s critical for those facing or considering the implications of these statutes to consult with a Texas sex crime lawyer for current, accurate information.

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