Most people understand that intentionally causing physical harm or serious injury to another person is a criminal offense. But what about some actions that may be less clear-cut? For instance, groping someone without their consent or trying to expose them in some way may result in criminal charges under Texas law. While your intentions may not have been malicious, touching another person without their consent in order to satisfy a sexual desire could lead to indecent assault charges. Here’s what you need to know if you’ve been charged with indecent assault in the Pearland or Houston area.
How Texas Defines Indecent Assault
Title 5, Section 22.012 of the Texas Penal Code reads as follows: “A person commits an offense if, without the other person’s consent and with the intent to arouse or gratify the sexual desire of any person, the person: (1) touches the anus, breast, or any part of the genitals of another person; (2) touches another person with the anus, breast, or any part of the genitals of any person; (3) exposes or attempt to expose another person’s genitals, pubic area, anus, buttocks, or female areola.” A person could also be charged with indecent assault if they forced another person to encounter blood, saliva, urine, or other bodily secretions.
Criminal Penalties for Indecent Assault
Before September 2019, acts classified as indecent assault were charged as class C misdemeanors. This meant that, if convicted, a person would typically face a $500 fine. However, Texas lawmakers amended the statute to classify indecent assault as a class A misdemeanor. Now, those convicted of indecent assault may face up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $4,000. In many cases, someone charged with indecent assault also faces other charges, such as indecent exposure or public lewdness. It’s possible to face prosecution for indecent assault, the other charge, or both.
Contact a Trusted Pearland Criminal Defense Lawyer Immediately
Indecent assault, like other crimes of a sexual nature, can be tough to navigate. As you face an uncertain future, you may also face embarrassment, strained relationships with family or friends, and damage to your reputation. As soon as you can, call an experienced criminal defense attorney who can assess your situation and ensure that your rights are upheld. You don’t have to go through this challenging time by yourself—your attorney will remain at your side to address your questions and concerns at every phase of the criminal justice process.
For trusted and reliable criminal defense services in the Pearland area, call the Law Offices of Keith G. Allen, PLLC today at (832) 230-0075 to schedule a free consultation.