arrested male in handcuffsThis is the next post in my series on the handling of second-degree felony charges in Austin and other Texas areas. My last article discussed the potential penalties for a second-degree felony. It is important to understand that these consequences include having a permanent criminal record, in addition to potential incarceration. Having such a record can lead to lifelong difficulties. Retaining an experienced attorney is an important step towards making sure your rights remain protected. In this article, I will discuss defending against charges of indecency with a child. If you or a family member are in need of assistance then contact my office to speak with a criminal defense lawyer.

The type of conduct determines whether indecency with a child is a second or third-degree felony

There are two types of conduct which can lead to charges of indecency with a child in the state of Texas. Both are found in Texas Penal Code 21.11. Under 21.11 (a)(1), an individual who engages in sexual contact with a child under the age of seventeen, or causes the child to engage in sexual contact with them, will face second-degree felony charges. Under section (a)(2) a person who exposes themselves to a child, or causes a child to expose themselves, with the intent of sexual arousal, can be charged with a third-degree felony. The law does provide exceptions for individuals who are no more than three years older than the child as long as the act was consensual and the individual is not a prior sex offender.

An individual who is charged with a second-degree felony will face a sentence of two to twenty years in prison for a first-offense. Third-degree felony charges will carry a possible sentence of two to ten years. Also, a defendant will often face additional charges in addition to the counts of indecency with a child. Suppose, for example, a person committed the act of fondling a child inside of a store or other location on private property. If it can be shown that they entered the location with the intent of fondling a child then they will also likely be charged with burglary. The number and nature of the charges which the prosecution can bring will always depend on the specific facts of the case.

There are other potential penalties which a defendant faces, in addition to those just described. First, a conviction will mean having to register as a sex-offender. This can make it highly difficult to obtain housing, employment, or to engage in any other activity which requires the passing of a background check. Also, a conviction will mean that one is permanently barred from possessing a firearm under both state and federal law. These penalties are in addition to the stigma which is attached to having been convicted of such a crime.

There are defenses which Austin residents can assert against charges of indecency with a child

If one is facing charges of indecency with a child then there are several defense issues which may arise in such cases. Such cases sometimes hinge solely on an eyewitness identification of the defendant. If, however, law enforcement used overly suggestive procedures to obtain an ID, then it may be possible to prevent the defendant from being identified in court. Other issues can involve the improper obtaining of statements by law enforcement. Also, in some instances it may be possible to defend the charges outright if law enforcement has arrested the wrong individual. Even if a complete defense is not possible, it is often possible to reach a more favorable resolution with the prosecution.

I am an Austin criminal defense lawyer whose practice is solely devoted to protecting the rights of the accused. My office believes that everyone is entitled to effective representation and I recognize the serious nature of such matters. If you or a loved one are in need of assistance then contact us today to schedule an initial consultation. I am Board Certified in Criminal Defense by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization and I have been licensed to practice law since 1995. We also serve the cities of Rollingwood, Round Rock, Elgin, Jonestown, Manor, Bee Cave, Lago Vista, Sunset Valley, Lakeway, Creedmoor, Georgetown, Cedar Park, Leander, and San Marcos, Texas.