Is there any other crime other than indecency with a child, either by exposure or by contact, that produces such immediate public anger? When we ask potential jurors if they believe children never lie about these types of allegations, we’re not surprised when most of them answer that children never make these accusations up. Overcoming the biases and prejudices people have toward these accusations is extremely challenging. Getting a fair trial, despite the presumption of innocence, has been a battle every time we have tried one of these cases.
Under the Texas Penal Code, a person commits the offense of indecency with a child if the person engages in sexual contact (any touching of the anus, breasts, or genitals, with intent to gratify or arouse one’s sexual desire) with a child younger than 17 years of age or, with the intent to arouse or gratify the sexual desire of any person, exposes the person’s anus or any part of the person’s genitals, knowing the child is present or causes the child to expose the child’s anus or any part of the child’s genitals.
It is an affirmative defense to both indecency with a child either by exposure or contact that the conduct was consensual, no more than three years in age separated the two people, and that they are of the opposite sex, and that the accused did not use duress or force.
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. More commonly known as “fondling,” this means touching the child’s genitals, anus, or breasts, or 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.
Texas law, and in some cases Federal law, requires those convicted of indecency with a child to register as a sex offender. This applies not only to those convicted, but also to those who are placed into deferred adjudication.
The severity of your charges will impact the term that you are required to register. In Texas, a conviction of indecency with a child by exposure may cause a person with no criminal history being required to register for 10 years after his sentence has been completed. However, a person who is convicted of indecency with a child by contact, even with no prior criminal history, will likely be required to register for life.
Once convicted, you will be required to register as a sex offender, no matter which state in the United States you live in. All states have penalties for failing to register a sex offender, and this can be a separate charge on your record if you are convicted of that. Registering as sex offender for indecency with a child can have a significant impact on your wellbeing and your life. A wide range of employment will be unavailable to you, the areas in which you live may be restricted, and the social impact can be considerable.
There is no going back once the conviction is recorded. As such, it is absolutely critical that you speak with a criminal defense lawyer at the earliest point in the process that is possible. You have the right to a competent defense, and you should seek it out the first chance you get.
With over 45 years of combined defense experience, as well as experience working in both state and federal prosecutors offices’, both prosecuting and defending indecency with a child by either exposure or contact, our attorneys have found that investigation and intensive preparation are the keys to a successful resolution.
Jurors want to know what the child’s reason to lie would be. Is there a nasty divorce? Are there child custody issues? Is there anger, defiance, vindictiveness? Has the child’s memory been tampered with by suggestion or false memory? The prosecution only hears one side when they decide to file charges. But, there are two sides to a story and it is with the help of an experienced, aggressive, and dedicated sex crimes defense attorney that the actual truth can be proven. This, many times, has resulted in Grand Juries not indicting, dismissals, reduction of charges, or acquittals by trial juries.
Indecency with a child by contact is a second-degree (2nd) felony with a range of 2 to 20 years in a Texas prison, and indecency with a child by exposure is a third degree (3rd) felony with a range of 2 to 10 years, both in addition to fines.
A person convicted or placed on probation for indecency by contact has the additional burden of having to register for life as a sex offender. A person convicted or placed on probation for indecency by exposure has a duty to register as a sex offender for a maximum of 10 years in Texas.
You should never fight such a serious charge as indecency with a child alone. If you or someone you love is being accused of this crime, call our firm immediately. Our sex crimes team has over 45 years of combined defense experience, and has successfully defended indecency with a child cases before. We know what it takes to protect your rights.
It is also important that you have a defense attorney who will treat you with respect despite the charges against you. At the Schiffer Law Firm, you will be welcomed openly and treated with dignity from the moment you contact us. We know that these are difficult times, and we will handle your case sensitively to make sure that you get through the process with the best possible result. Don’t wait any longer. The sooner you get in touch with us, the sooner we can begin to build your defense.
That’s a great question, but you won’t find the answer here. While there is nothing inherently secret about a great defense, some attorneys are simply better prepared, more creative, and more experienced than others. It’s that combination that makes our sex crimes defense team so successful in defending these cases. A professional sports team, or an army preparing for battle, doesn’t disclose its strategy to the opposition. It is only through a confidential, in-person, meeting with our attorneys, where your information is protected by the attorney-client privilege and away from any prying wire taps or snooping law enforcement investigators, that we will discuss potential strategies that are tailored specifically for you.
Call today to set up a confidential in-office or virtual meeting.
The first thing you need to do is accept the situation. You have been charged with a crime, and yes, this is really happening. Having worked with thousands of clients throughout our attorneys’ careers, we understand thoroughly the storm of emotions that you may be feeling right now. Accepting the situation you are in will allow you to make rational decisions moving forward.
Now that you’ve accepted the reality of your situation, it is imperative that you maintain a clear head and stay in control of your emotions. In far too many situations, we see clients betrayed by their emotions which negatively impacts their own defense. Panic, anxiety, and second-guessing everything is the soil where bad legal strategy and decision making grows.
If you find yourself stressing about your situation, do what you can to calm yourself down. If you find that you need to talk with someone, please call us. We’ll discuss what’s going on and help you get a clear picture of your situation.