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Few types of criminal allegations have a more immediate impact on a defendant’s life and more serious criminal consequences than rape or sexual assault. A single conviction for this type of offense could leave you facing years of imprisonment, thousands of dollars in fines, the permanent loss of certain civil rights, and mandatory registration as a sex offender, even when you have no prior criminal record.

You have the right to retain a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney and proactively fight back against a sexual assault accusation. Making effective use of that right, however, may be difficult without help from a Fort Worth sexual assault lawyer with experience handling this high-stakes and sensitive charge effectively.

Understanding Sexual Assault as a Criminal Offense

When you engage in any form of sexual contact or intercourse with a person who does not consent to that interaction, you may be charged with and convicted of sexual assault under Texas Penal Code § 22.011. This statute lists fourteen distinct ways in which someone may not consent to sexual conduct, but in general, someone must be at least 17 years old and verbally agree to sexual conduct without any threat of force to be considered “consenting.”

Most of the time, sexual assault is treated as a second-degree felony in Texas. Someone convicted of this offense could face between two and 20 years of imprisonment and a $10,000 maximum fine. Sexual assault committed under aggravating conditions may be prosecuted as a more serious first-degree felony under TX Pen. Code § 22.021, as a Fort Worth sexual assault attorney can explain in more detail during a private consultation.

Contesting Sexual Assault Allegations

Sexual assault cases often revolve around both scientific and testimonial evidence. What a person says and does immediately after an allegation is made can have a very significant impact on how their criminal case concludes. A single poorly phrased statement or answer to a leading question may be devastating to their defense strategy.

When someone is accused of sexual assault, they should avoid speaking with the person who made the accusation, talking to law enforcement alone, or saying or writing anything publicly about their case without first consulting an attorney. A sexual assault defense lawyer in Fort Worth could show an accused person how to act in ways that serve their best interests and improve their chances of securing a favorable case result with a minimal impact on their life.

Discuss Legal Options with a Fort Worth Sexual Assault Attorney

There is no single right way to handle sexual assault allegations, but there are a lot of wrong ways to handle them. One of the biggest mistakes you can make when facing this accusation is to depend on an overworked public defender to effectively enforce your rights or handle your case in and out of court by yourself.

Help is available from a knowledgeable Fort Worth sexual assault lawyer who will work diligently to protect your best interests from the beginning to the end of your legal proceedings. Call today to learn more.