The crime of indecency with a child is an incredibly challenging offense to be accused of because it is not only a sex crime but the alleged victim is a child. For many people, simply being suspected of this crime can have a profound impact on many relationships with friends, family members, and co-workers.
Indecency with a child is a felony offense in Texas, although the specific grade of the crime will depend on the nature of the alleged activity. In any case, a conviction carries the possibility of a lengthy prison sentence and enormous fines.
Attorneys for Indecency with a Child Defense in Houston, TX
Do you think that you might be under investigation or were you already arrested for indecency with a child in Southeast Texas? You should avoid speaking to police officers until you are able to contact The Gonzalez Law Group, PLLC.
Our Houston criminal defense lawyers aggressively defend clients accused of sex crimes in the greater Harris County area including Pearland, Baytown, Seabrook, La Porte, Pasadena, Galena Park, Friendswood and many others. Call (832) 530-4070 today to have our attorneys review your case and help you understand all of your legal options during a free initial consultation.
Overview of Indecency with a Child in Harris County
- Indecency with a Child by Contact Penalties in Texas
- Indecency with a Child by Exposure Penalties in Texas
- Indecency with a Child Defenses in Texas
- Indecency with a Child Resources in Harris County
Indecency with a Child by Contact Penalties in Texas
In Texas, a person commits indecency with a child if, with a child younger than 17 years of age, whether the child is of the same or opposite sex and regardless of whether the person knows the age of the child at the time of the offense, he or she engages in sexual contact with the child or causes the child to engage in sexual contact. Texas Penal Code § 21.11(c) defines the sexual contact as the following acts if committed with the intent to arouse or gratify the sexual desire of any person:
- any touching by a person, including touching through clothing, of the anus, breast, or any part of the genitals of a child; or
- any touching of any part of the body of a child, including touching through clothing, with the anus, breast, or any part of the genitals of a person.
Indecency with a child by contact is a second-degree felony. A conviction is punishable by up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
Indecency with a Child by Exposure Penalties in Texas
Texas Penal Code § 21.11(a)(2) establishes that a person commits indecency with a child if, with a child younger than 17 years of age, whether the child is of the same or opposite sex and regardless of whether the person knows the age of the child at the time of the offense, he or she with intent to arouse or gratify the sexual desire of any person:
- exposes his or her anus or any part of his or her genitals, knowing the child is present; or
- causes the child to expose the child’s anus or any part of the child’s genitals.
Indecency with a child by exposure is a third-degree felony. A conviction is punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
Indecency with a Child Defenses in Texas
Multiple affirmative defenses are available against indecency with a child charges. It is an affirmative defense to prosecution for indecency with a child that the alleged offender:
- was not more than three years older than the alleged victim and of the opposite sex;
- did not use duress, force, or a threat against the alleged victim at the time of the offense; and
- at the time of the alleged offense, was not required under Chapter 62 of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure to register for life as a sex offender or was not a person who under Chapter 62 had a reportable conviction or adjudication for indecency with a child.
Additionally, Texas Penal Code § 21.11(b-1) states that it is also an affirmative defense that the alleged offender was the spouse of the child at the time of the alleged offense.
Indecency with a Child Resources in Harris County
Texas Youth Hotline | Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) — The Texas Youth Hotline provides prevention services to youths, parents, siblings, and other family members who are in need of a caring voice and sympathetic ear. The telephone hotline has been in operation since 1973, but text and chat services were added in 2014. You can also find answers to frequently asked questions on this website.
Bonilla v. State, 452 S.W.3d 811 (Tex. Crim. App. 2014) — Ronald Antonio Bonilla was found guilty on four counts of indecency with a child in 2009. Two counts related to acts that occurred in 2002 and two counts related to acts that occurred in 1995, but the Texas Legislature amended Texas Penal Code § 3.03(b) in 1997 to grant trial courts the discretion to stack sentences pertaining to convictions for indecency with a child. The trial judge had ordered that the first two counts run concurrent with one another and the other two counts also run concurrent with one another, but the sentences for counts relating to 1995 would both run consecutively to the sentences for counts relating to 2002. Bonilla appealed, arguing that the 1995 counts should not be “stackable” since they predated the Legislature amending the Penal Code, but the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals affirmed that the Court of Appeals decision that the trial judge did not err in stacking sentences because there was “some evidence” that the offenses occurred after September 1, 1997.
Indecency with a Child Defense Lawyers in Houston, TX
If you were arrested for indecency with a child in Harris County, it is in your best interest to quickly retain legal counsel. The Gonzalez Law Group, PLLC represents individuals throughout Harris County, Friendswood, Pearland, Seabrook, League City, Deer Park, Pasadena, La Porte, Galena Park, Baytown and many others.
Our criminal defense attorneys in Houston can fight to possibly get your criminal charges reduced or dismissed. You can have our lawyers provide an honest and thorough evaluation of your case as soon as you call (832) 530-4070 or complete an online contact form to take advantage of a free, confidential consultation.