Sometimes referred to as “fondling,” indecency with a child by contact is a serious charge with far-reaching consequences. Not only are you facing stiff penalties if found guilty, you’ll also deal with the stigma that comes with the accusation alone.
If you’re being accused of this crime, you need skilled and experienced attorneys who know how to handle your case in a serious, but sensitive, manner. The Law Office of Paul Schiffer has decades of experience defending people in your situation and can help you make your way through this difficult time. Our talented team will work day and night to try to reach a favorable outcome that will restore your good reputation and maintain your freedom.
In Texas, indecency with a child comprises two different offenses. One is indecency with a child by exposure and the other is indecency with a child by contact. This discussion deals with indecency with a child by contact.
Section 21.11 of the Texas Penal Code defines indecency with a child by contact as sexual contact with a child under the age of 17, with the contact being made for the purpose of arousing sexual desire or for sexual gratification. This can include touching the child’s genitals, anus, or breasts and also includes the adult touching the child in any way with the adult’s genitals, anus, or breasts. All of this can occur through clothing or without clothing. In short, a crime is committed when an adult engages in sexual contact with a child under the age of 17 or forces the child into sexual contact.
Indecency with a child by contact is a second-degree felony in Texas. This is a serious offense that carries strict penalties. If you’re found guilty of this crime, you face up to 20 years in prison and fines of up to $10,000.
There are factors that can mitigate or increase the punishment. A judge may look at whether this is your first offense, if the crime is considered violent in nature, or if you’re considered to be a public danger. Your sentence can be decreased or increased based on these, and other, mitigating or aggravating factors.
If you are charged, or threatened to be charged, with indecency with a child by contact, you need a dedicated defense team on your side as soon as you’re accused of this offense.
If you are found guilty, the court or the jury will decide the punishment it sees fit for the crime you have been convicted of. But your trouble doesn’t end there. A guilty verdict can affect your life in ways other than your loss of freedom and the imposition of a fine.
For example, employers tend to not hire people with a criminal record, especially a record that includes a crime against a child. There are also certain industries or sectors that are prohibited from hiring convicted felons. Similarly, gaining admission to college or any secondary school can be difficult, as schools can choose to turn you away if you have a criminal history. If you are admitted, you might find it difficult to get financial aid or other assistance.
In Texas, you can also lose custody of your children by being found guilty of indecency with a child by contact. Similarly, you will be unable to adopt or foster a child. Working with children or volunteering around children will also be prohibited if you’re found guilty of a crime against a child.
If you’re an immigrant in the US, any criminal conviction—especially a serious one like this—can put your immigration status in jeopardy. If you’re in the process of getting your citizenship or a green card, you’re at risk of having these legal necessities denied.
Other possible ramifications are:
If you’re convicted of indecency with a child by contact, you will be required to register as a sex offender for life. This lifetime registration will negatively impact your life. The stigma that accompanies being a registered sex offender can alienate you from mainstream society, since most people tend to be unforgiving toward registered sex offenders. It will also restrict where you can live and work once you are out of prison.