Sexual Assault Defense in Collin County TX

How to Find Sexual Assault Defense in Collin County, TX

When accused of a sexual offense, the first thing you need to do is find an attorney. However, finding the right professional for sexual assault defense in Collin County TX may be challenging since you do not know where to begin. In most cases, it is prudent to seek advice from close friends or family members. These people are able to provide some recommendations or help you seek out the most suitable attorney for your case.

Online directories that give contacts to local law firms can be a good place to look for qualified attorneys. Some directories usually give detailed profiles of the various professionals in the region. These directories allow you to make a shortlist of people you feel can provide good representation. Contacting a local bar association is another way to find sexual assault defense in Collin County TX. Such associations often have highly skilled members who can offer their services at a rate you will find reasonable.

Picking the right attorney

Once you have a list of candidates to choose from, make contact and arrange for a meeting. During the meeting, observe whether the attorney is confident or not. It is also advisable that you select someone that has a proven track record in successfully handling similar cases. The professional you choose should be fluent in communication as this will ensure you do not run into any misunderstandings throughout the duration of your case.

Do not pick the first candidate you interview because there may be others who are more suitable for your particular case. At least talk to three professionals before making up your mind. During the interviews, discuss issues such as payment structure and how long the case may last. Go for an attorney that does not seem swamped with work at that time because this will ensure that he or she spends enough time working on your case.

Sex Assault Defense Lawyer DFW TX

Qualities of A Good Sex Assault Defense Lawyer in Texas

When facing a sex assault case, it is important for you to have one of the best defense teams. This means you must be careful when selecting the attorney to represent you in the case. Having some knowledge on the qualities of a good lawyer is key to choosing the most suitable sex assault defense lawyer DFW TX. A good lawyer must have analytical skills. This means he or she can quickly grasp a large volume of information and make sense of it. The individual should be able to spring into action a few moments after receiving information from a client.

Creativity is another quality that characterizes a good lawyer. The professional is able to respond to matters that arise during the case without having to do serious research. This is quite helpful because in certain cases, issues that were not thought of in the past may spring up. Having good research skills is an added advantage to any defense attorney. These skills help the professional look at relevant information that can help build a strong defense. Research is also likely to bring up the truth regarding a matter and this can help the lawyer prove his or her client’s innocence.

Another quality of a good lawyer is the ability to speak publicly. This is important because some cases may have to be discussed in front of a large number of people. A lawyer who is not confident and eloquent may not be able to adequately represent the client in such situations. Interpersonal skills help lawyers build helpful relationships. This allows the professional to seek help from various quarters within a short notice. Choosing a sex assault defense lawyer DFW TX is a wise move because this company often employs professionals who excel in their practice and have the qualities mentioned above.

‘Rape Culture’ Article in US News & World Report

Sex Crimes - 9069522

 

 

If you haven’t read Caroline Kitchen’s article about the rape culture that isn’t, you should.  In an effort to protect our college students and military service women from rape, we have lowered the standards used to prosecute, punish and penalize young men who are often falsely accused.    Should a young man be removed from school, denied Due Process or court marshaled in a military tribunal on evidence less than Beyond a Reasonable Doubt?   Shouldn’t the standards used to  protect each of us from criminal prosecution be the same as those which can be used to remove us from organizations or institution to which we otherwise belong?

This “preponderance of the evidence” standard is being used to demoralize and crucify our young men without a day in court, without the burden of proof necessary for a conviction.  We are accepting accusations as facts, as gospel.

If you haven’t read this article and you have a son, you need to educate yourself and beware.

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Sexting, Teens and What You Need to Know

1. What is sexting?

Teen SextingThe Act of sending naked or otherwise provocative photos to another via text or
electronic message, including computer images, web camera shots and photos sent by
digital camera. Teens use this mode of communication as a way to flirt with each other.

2. Are there legal ramifications?

Yes, including promotion or possession of child pornography. Forwarding a naked
picture of an individual who is under the age of 18 can quality as possessing or
trafficking child pornography. These charges, often felonies, can lead to criminal
prosecution, confiscation of all electronic equipment, felony convictions and hefty prison
sentences. In addition, possession or distribution of child pornography leads to a life
long duty to register as a sex offender.

3. Can a teen be arrested for this act?

Yes. One third of teens surveyed by the University of Texas Medical Branch in
Galveston said they sent or received provocative photos of another teen. More
disturbing most who were polled stated that they were aware that there were serious
consequences to this conduct but did so anyway.
A similar survey conducted by the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned
Pregnancy revealed that 1 in 5 teenagers have admitted to sexting despite harsh
punishment hanging over their heads.
“Studies show that teenage students are increasingly creating, sending and receiving
explicit pictures of themselves on their mobile devices,” said Texas Attorney General
Gregg Abbott.
75% of teenagers own cell phones and one-third send over 3,000 text messages a
month. Texas School Safety Center.

4. How serious is this crime?

In the past, sending or promoting the material would be a felony. However,
understanding the nature of teen behavior and the increasing culture of social media, in
2011 Texas signed into law Senate Bill 407 which prohibits minors from “intentionally
promoting or possessing text messages that contain explicit images of those 18 and
younger,” but punishes offenders with misdemeanor, rather than felony, charges.
Before this law was enacted there was a case in which an 8th grader was jailed after an
accusation of sending suggestive photos on his phone.

5. With the enactment of the new law, is it still illegal to sext?

Yes, this conduct still results in criminal charges. In order to insure the minor (and the
parent) understand the seriousness of the charge, he or she is still required to appear in
court and attend court mandated educational courses on the lifelong consequences of
sexting. The offender’s parents are also required to make a court appearance and
attend the required educational program about the harmful consequences of sexting.
(Texas Education Code, Section 37.218).

6. Can the charges be more serious even if the offender is a teen?

Yes, additional charges may be increased if the offender is found to have used the
explicit images to “harass, annoy, alarm, abuse, torment, embarrass or offend another.”
So if the offender simply possesses an explicit picture of another teen, he or she will
face a misdemeanor (Class C charge for first time violators under the age of 18) with
counseling and classes. However, if the teen forwards that image to embarrass or
harass the person in the photo (or another), the prosecutor may bring more serious
charges, including felony prosecution.
In addition, teens who are accused of a 2nd or 3rd “case” are going to face much more
serious consequences, including felony charges. These types of cyber crimes are very
serious and require an experienced attorney.

7. Are there any legal defenses to these charges?

Yes, if the couple is within 2 years of each other in age and in a romantic relationship,
the Romeo-and-Juliet affirmative defense may protect the individual charged with the
violation. Exemptions can also apply if the message was not “solicited” (requested or
sought) and when received was promptly deleted.

8. Can my teens record be erased or expunged after a sexting accusation?

If your child is acquitted or granted deferred disposition on a Class C Charge, he or she
may be eligible to have the offense erased after he/she reaches the age of 18. If more
serious charges are filed and result in a conviction, the case will remain on his/her
record for life.
The new law contains a provision that allows the teens to apply to the court to have the
sexting offense expunged from their records.

9. What if an adult is accused of dirty talk with a teenager?

The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals struck down the portion of a Texas statute
prohibiting “communicating in a sexually explicit manner” with a minor with the intent to
arouse noting the law was unconstitutional on its face. Ex Parte John Christopher Lo,
No. PD-1560-12 (Oct. 20, 2013).
Statutes regarding “on-line solicitation,” statutes that cover actual invitations to have
sexual contact in person are still regarded as constitutional in Texas and most other
jurisdictions.
What was found to be unconstitutional about Section 33.021(b) of the Texas Penal
Code was that portion of the law which covered:
“Communicating online in a sexually explicit manner with a minor if the person
communicating has the intent to arouse and gratify anyone’s sexual desire.”
“Sexually explicit” is defined as “communication, language or material that relates to or
describes sexual conduct.”
As other separate statutes dealt with obscene communications, communications
harmful to minors and child pornography, the only material that was prohibited in the
now defunct provision was protected speech. Because the statute covered content that
was not necessarily obscene, it could have included “titillating talk,” and other innocuous
content such as “50 Shades of Grey,” Janet Jackson’s wardrobe malfunctions and
Miley Cyrus ‘twerking.’
This ruling permits sexualized communications between and adult and minor that are
not obscene or solicitative, even if there is some intent to arouse on the part of the
adult-sender. The transmission, while possibly harmful, cannot stand up to First
Amendment scrutiny.

10. What is the exact language of the law?

Tex. Penal Code Sec. 43.261. Electronic
Transmission of Certain Visual Material Depicting
Minor.
(a) In this section:
(1) “Dating relationship” has the meaning assigned by Section 71.0021, Family
Code.
(2) “Minor” means a person younger than 18 years of age.
(3) “Produce” with respect to visual material includes any conduct that
directly contributes to the creation or manufacture of the material.
(4) “Promote” has the meaning assigned by Section 43.25.
(5) “Sexual conduct” has the meaning assigned by Section 43.25.
(6) “Visual material” has the meaning assigned by Section 43.26.
(b) A person who is a minor commits an offense if the person intentionally or
knowingly:
(1) by electronic means promotes to another minor visual material depicting a
minor, including the actor, engaging in sexual conduct, if the actor produced the
visual material or knows that another minor produced the visual material; or
(2) possesses in an electronic format visual material depicting another minor
engaging in sexual conduct, if the actor produced the visual material or knows
that another minor produced the visual material.
(c) An offense under Subsection (b)(1) is a Class C misdemeanor, except that the
offense is:
(1) a Class B misdemeanor if it is shown on the trial of the offense that the
actor:
(A) promoted the visual material with intent to harass, annoy, alarm,
abuse, torment, embarrass, or offend another; or
(B) except as provided by Subdivision (2)(A), has previously been convicted
one time of any offense under this section; or
(2) a Class A misdemeanor if it is shown on the trial of the offense that the
actor has previously been:
(A) convicted one or more times of an offense punishable under
Subdivision (1)(A); or
(B) convicted two or more times of any offense under this section.
(d) An offense under Subsection (b)(2) is a Class C misdemeanor, except that the
offense is:
(1) a Class B misdemeanor if it is shown on the trial of the offense that the
actor has previously been convicted one time of any offense under this section;
or
(2)AAa Class A misdemeanor if it is shown on the trial of the offense that the
actor has previously been convicted two or more times of any offense under this
section.
(e) It is an affirmative defense to prosecution under this section that the visual
material:
(1) depicted only the actor or another minor:
(A) who is not more than two years older or younger than the actor and
with whom the actor had a dating relationship at the time of the offense; or

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Regret vs Lack of Consent: Rape Laws in Texas

rape

More and more cases of “next day regret” are becoming rape charges in Texas. Young people meet, drink to excess, engage in intercourse and go their separate ways. The next morning the young woman may regret her decision or not have the emotional capacity to understand or rationalize her conduct.

REGREAT IS NOT RAPE.

The questions that the DA and detectives should be asking are:
1. What did the woman say to the man?
2. Did the woman give any verbal or non-verbal sign that she did not want to engage in sexual acts?
3. How much had each person been drinking?
4. Was the drinking voluntary?
5. Was one person giving the other alcohol or drugs in order to lessen their inhibitions?

If the answers to these questions do not indicate that the female did not want to have sex and communicated that to the man, it is not a rape. But you still may be charged.

What happens when nice co-ed calls a rape crisis center crying the next day b/c she can’t remember what happened? Who will be blamed?

Know you rights! Don’t talk to anyone except your attorney. And protect yourself against these types of situations by always having witnesses.

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Sexting and Your Child

What is sexting?

img2

Sexting is the act of sending sexually explicit messages, photographs, or videos primarily between mobile phones (Wikipedia) — Texas law also includes any “electronic means,” which includes computers and other digital devices. The term was first popularized in early 21st century, and combines the words “sex” with “texting.”

Examples of Sexting

You are at a party with a group of friends. They think it would liven up the party to take pictures of each other, without clothes and send them to each other.

During exam week you are too busy to see your boyfriend/girlfriend in person, yet you want them to know that you are thinking of them. You decide to email them several photos you took of yourself with your clothes off.

After you break up with them, your ex-boyfriend/girlfriend forwards a photo you without clothes on—a photo you faxed them, back when you were still dating— to a close friend of theirs who has promised not to share it with anyone else.
Since Texas Senate Bill 407 passed in 2011, the legal consequences regarding sexting have been expanded; therefore, it is important for everyone – especially minors – to become aware of the penalties that can come from being convicted or adjudicated of sexting.

Module Objectives

  • Recognize the difference between “possession” and “promotion” of electronic material
  • Identify at least two possible legal consequences for sexting
  • Recognize the difference in the conditions for Class A, B, and C misdemeanors for sexting
  • Recognize the difference between Class A, B, and C misdemeanor penalties
  • Recognize the conditions and penalties for the felony offenses of  possession or promotion of child pornography
  • Recognize the difference between being charged for sexting as a child or as a minor who is not a child
  • Recognize the conditions of juvenile probation

Module Topics

This module will review the following topics:

  • What is Texas Senate Bill 407?
  • What is the difference between “promotion” and “possession”?
  • What are the misdemeanor conditions and penalties for sexting?
  • What are the felony conditions and penalties for sexting?
  • What is the educational program for sexting prevention?
  • What is the difference between being charged for sexting as a child or a minor?

What is Texas Senate Bill 407?

Before Texas Senate Bill 407 (SB 407) was passed, minors who engaged in sexting could only be charged with promotion or possession of child pornography, which, if convicted, carries a felony offense and lifelong registry as a sex offender for up to 10 years after supervision expires– both extremely serious penalties. SB 407 Texas Penal Code Section 43.261 now provides courts less extreme charges and penalties that still discourage the practice of sexting without the life-altering consequences of a possible felony conviction and sex offender status.

In general, you are illegally engaging in sexting if you – knowingly or on purpose – send, show or keep a picture or video of a minor – including yourself – engaging in “sexual conduct”.

What is the difference between “promotion” and “possession” of electronic material?

Technically, the law uses the terms “promotion” and “possession” when referring to sending and keeping illegal “visual material”. While “possession” simply means keeping a picture or video, the term “promotion”, according to the law, also means manufacture, sell, give, lend, transmit, publish, distribute, present, or exhibit.

  • Possession: having actual care, custody, control or management of material that depicts another minor engaging in sexual conduct that has not been destroyed in a reasonable amount of time
  • Promotion: to procure, manufacture, issue, sell, give, provide, lend, mail, deliver, to transfer, transmit, publish, distribute, circulate, disseminate, present, exhibit, or advertise, or agree to do any of the above, sexually-explicit or sexually- suggestive images or video via mobile device or computer

What are the misdemeanor conditions and penalties for sexting?

img1

Class C misdemeanor: A fine of up to $500.00.

You can be charged with a Class C Misdemeanor for sexting promotion or possession if it is a first-time offense, and you are a minor who is not a child

Class B misdemeanor: A fine up to $2,000.00, 180 days in jail, or both.

You can be charged with a Class B Misdemeanor for sexting if you are a minor and you:

  • Promoted visual material with intent to harass, annoy, alarm, abuse, torment, embarrass, or offend someone
  • Have previously been convicted for sexting

Class A misdemeanor: A fine up to $4,000.00, one year in jail, or both.

You can be charged with a Class A Misdemeanor for sexting if you are a minor and you:

  • Have previously been convicted one or more times of promoting the visual material with intent to harass, annoy, alarm, abuse, torment, embarrass, or offend someone
  • Have previously been convicted for general sexting promotion or possession two or more times

What are the felony conditions and penalties for for promotion or possession of child pornography?

Third degree felony: A fine not to exceed $10,000.00 and at least two years in prison, but no more than 10 years

You can be charged with a third degree felony for possession of child pornography if you are at least 18 years old.

Second degree felony: A fine not to exceed $10,000 and at least 2 years in prison, but no more than 20 years.
You can be charged with a second degree felony for promotion of child pornography as either a minor or as an adult.
Consider this: It’s completely possible that as an 18 year old high school senior, you may be charged and convicted of possession and/or promotion of child pornography if the person you’re dating is under 18 years old and sends you such images and you have them on your phone or computer. The offense of possession is complete upon receipt of the images; promotion involves showing or sending them on to other people and is a second degree felony.

What is the Sexting Prevention Education Program?

In place of, or in addition to a fine or jail time, a minor may be required by a judge or probation department to take and pass an educational program regarding sexting. This program, created by the Texas School Safety Center, is not only specifically named as one that courts can require, but Texas law also requires that all school districts make information about this program available every year to both parents and students in a grade level that the district considers appropriate.

What is the difference between being charged for sexting as a child or as a minor who is not a child?

If you are under the age of 18 and are charged with a Class A, B, or C misdemeanor, the consequences can range from probation to fines and/or prison time. Juvenile probation and adult probation both give you the opportunity to reflect and learn from your mistakes, but should you fail to uphold your assigned responsibilities as detailed in your terms of probation, your sanctions can become more severe. So, if a child in Texas is charged with sexting, s/he will be dealt with in juvenile court. If the charge of sexting is found to be true, the child may be found to have engaged in Conduct Indicating a Need for Supervision (CINS), and be subject to the appropriate progressive sanction for the level of the offense.

1. At Sanction Level I, a juvenile court or probation department may:

  • Require counseling for the child regarding the child’s conduct
  • Inform the child of the progressive sanctions that may beimposed on the child if the child continues to engage in delinquent conduct or conduct indicating a need forsupervision
  • Inform the child’s parents or guardians of their responsibility to impose reasonable restrictions on the child to prevent the
    conduct from recurring
  • Provide information or other assistance to the child or the child’s parents or guardians in securing needed social services
  • Require the child or the child’s parents or guardians to participate in Early Youth Intervention Services, if available to the child or the child’s parents or guardians
  • Refer the child to a community-based citizen intervention program approved by the juvenile court
  • Release the child to the child’s parents or guardians
  • Require the child to attend and successfully complete a sexting prevention educational program, or another equivalent educational program.

2. In addition to the Sanction Level I conditions, a juvenile court or probation department may:

  • Place a child on prosecution for not less than three months or more than six months
  • Require the child to make restitution to the victim of the child’s conduct or to perform community service
  • Require the child’s parents or guardians to identify restrictions the parents or guardians will impose on the child’s activities and requirements they will set for the child’s behavior
  • Require the attendance and successful completion of a sexting prevention educational program

If a 17 year old minor in Texas is charged with sexting, the case will likely be handled by a justice, municipal, or county court. If found guilty, it is possible for a 17 year old minor to receive probation as part of deferred adjudication.
Should a child or minor successfully fulfill his/her terms of probation, it is possible to apply for the conviction to be removed from his/her record. Therefore, the justice system – especially for juveniles – gives people the opportunity to make up and learn from their mistakes, start over with a clean slate, and participate as safe and responsible citizens.

Juveniles and Sexting: Reduced Punishment

Most parents seem to think it they have raised a “good kid” who does well in school that child is insulated from criminal prosecution. BEWARE! The new “sexting law” affects any teenager who sends an explicit photo on line on through their cell phone. Fortunately children who 2 years ago would have faced felony charges, prison time and mandatory registration as a sex offender, now could be punished under much more lenient charges. But you must know your rights.

Texas Governor Rick Perry signed a legislative bill which became law on September 1, 2011 decreasing the penalty for teenagers, who are caught ‘sexting’ with each other, to a misdemeanor. Prior to the passage of the new sexting laws, juveniles caught sexting could face felony charges and wind up as a registered sex offender. Under the new law, a sexting offense is a Class C misdemeanor for first-time violators less than 18 years old. Judges are now authorized to sentence minors convicted of sexting – and one of the minor’s parents – to participate in an education program about sexting’s long-term harmful consequences. The new law also allows teens to apply to the court to have the sexting offense expunged from their records. What exactly is sexting? Sexting is the act of sending sexually explicit messages and/or photographs, usually via cell phones or computers.

One in five teens have admitted to sexting, according to a survey conducted by the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy. A greater number said they had received sexually explicit photos of other teens, which were meant to be private, highlighting the risk of sexting. Most teens intend for the message and/or photo they send to be private. However, when message and/or photo goes viral – it cannot be retracted.

“Studies show that teenage students are increasingly creating, sending and receiving explicit pictures of themselves on their mobile telephones,” Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott said. “This practice is not just harmful to the young Texans who appear in compromising photographs – it poses significant legal risks. Thanks to Sen. Kirk Watson’s legislation, Texas has a commonsense law that holds wrongdoers accountable – but does not impose life-altering consequences on young offenders.”

Offenders could face arrest, jail time of up to one year, fines up to $4,000.00, court costs, attorneys fees, community service up to 200 hours, mandatory attendance at a sexting educational program, confiscation of cell phone or other electronic device by law enforcement, and a criminal record – not to mention the public humiliation from all of the above.

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