When you face a serious criminal charge, you need a defense attorney with a seriously strong track record of winning cases.
In the American criminal justice system, a person should be presumed innocent until they are proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Unfortunately, in the case of a sex crime, a simple unfounded allegation can destroy personal relationships and permanently ruin a person’s career. If you are facing such a charge, you may feel as though everyone — including the police, the prosecutor, the judge, your neighbors, coworkers, even your own friends and family — considers you guilty before you’ve had the chance to defend yourself.
What’s more, in the event of a sex crime conviction, you will be subject to potentially long prison sentences. After being released, as a convicted sex offender you’ll have to be registered wherever you live and suffer a lifetime of restricted freedom and ridicule. As a registered sex offender, it’s almost impossible to obtain gainful employment or locate a place to live.
But this doesn’t have to be your future. There’s still hope — if you take action immediately to defend your rights and freedom by talking to a knowledgeable and experienced criminal defense attorney. When it comes to a sex crime charge, you must take such an allegation very seriously — no matter how false or untrue it may be.
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State of Texas v. JB
Harris County Court – Jury Trial
State of Texas v. JP
Harris County Court
State of Texas v. MS
Prostitution & Unlawful Carrying of a Weapon
Harris County Court – Jury Trial
(on both charges)
What is a Sex Crime?
Sex crimes are very serious criminal offenses that involve using force or threats to cause a person to engage in a sexual act that they don’t want. Some sex crimes are state offenses, while others are prosecuted by the federal government. Crossing a state line during the commission of a crime increases the odds that the federal prosecution will be handling the case. The federal sentencing guidelines are typically much stricter than state punishments.
Registering as a Sex Offender
Federal law requires individuals who are convicted of non-consensual sex crimes to register with their local police on a sex registry. This database records the address of the sex offender, as well as the person’s work address or school address. The public may have access to this information when buying a house or accepting a job offer. Sex offenders must usually keep this information current for at least 15 years after they are released from prison. A person may receive an additional 10 years in prison if they fail to register or keep their information current.
Sex Crimes and Minors
Some sex crimes may involve minors, such as indecency with a child or online solicitation of a minor. A person can be charged with a sex crime even if no direct sexual contact with another person, such as possession of child pornography. “Sexting” is a newer type of sex crime that usually pertains to minors. A minor child may send a sexual photograph of themselves (or “selfie”) to another person via cell phone. If a person is caught with a picture of this nature, they may be prosecuted under a child pornography law.
Element of Force
Some sex crimes require the use of force or the threat of force. However, not all sex crimes require force or coercion as a necessary element of the crime. Statutory rape cases don’t require the government to show that force was involved because the victim didn’t have the legal ability to consent. The same rule applies with victims that have certain disabilities.
Penalties for Sex Crimes in Texas
The punishment a person can expect to receive after being convicted of a sex crime can vary widely. Some sex crimes are considered misdemeanors and carry lighter sentences. Other sex crimes are felonies that result in years of imprisonment. Convicted individuals may also be required to pay large fines. Certain federal statutes make a judge impose a mandatory minimum sentence that they are required to follow in nearly every case of that nature.
Different Levels of Criminal Sexual Conduct
Texas categorizes crimes into different levels. These varying levels help determine the severity of the punishment that judges and juries can give a person who is convicted.
Sex crime felonies are classified by “degrees”:
- 1st degree felony. A first degree felony in Texas is punishable by 5-99 years in a state prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000. Examples include aggravated sexual assault and human trafficking of minors under the age of 14.
- 2nd degree felony. A second degree felony is punishable by 2-20 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000. Examples include improper student/teacher relationship, online solicitation of a minor, indecent contact and sexual assault.
- 3rd degree felony. A third degree felony is punishable by 2-10 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000. Examples include indecent exposure and stalking.
- State jail felony felony. State jail felonies are the least severe and are punishable by 180 days to 2 years in state jail and/or a fine of up to $10,000. An example is improper recording.
Sex crime misdemeanors are classified by “classes”:
- Class A misdemeanor. A class A misdemeanor is punishable by up to 1 year in county jail, a fine of up to $4,000, and up to 2 years of community supervision. Examples include obscenity and public lewdness.
- Class B misdemeanor. A class B misdemeanor is punishable by up to 180 days in county jail, a fine of up to $2,000, and up to 2 years of community supervision. Examples include prostitution and indescent exposure.
- Class C misdemeanor. A class C misdemeanor is punishable by a fine of up to $500. No jail time or community supervision is required. Examples include disorderly conduct and public intoxication.
What Type of Sex Crime Have You Been Charged With?
If you or a loved one have been arrested for or accused of a sex crime in Houston, then you deserve a competent and aggressive defense attorney who will be dedicated to protecting your rights and reputation. Contact The Law Office of Matthew D. Sharp to protect your good name if you’ve been charged with any sex crime, including the following:
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Hire the Best Sex Crime Lawyer in Houston, TX
Any person who has been accused of committing a sex crime needs the representation of a skilled defense attorney. It’s that simple. In Houston and throughout the state of Texas, sex offenders are treated harshly and often with little mercy. Even individuals who are criminally charged with a sex offense for the first time may face extensive fines, media scrutiny and jail time.
With over 12 years of experience in the legal field, sex crime defense attorney Matthew D. Sharp knows this fact better than anyone. That’s why he has dedicated his entire career and practice to criminal law. In addition to volunteering his legal skills to the local community in Houston, Mr. Sharp is a member of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Texas, the Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association, and the Harris County Criminal Lawyers Association.
Mr. Sharp and his expert legal team have the knowledge and fortitude to defend your rights and your freedom — even if your family, friends, and colleagues turn their backs on you. Our Harris County defense attorneys have an extensive understanding of sex crime investigations. We are well versed in the best possible defenses for sex crimes and will not rest until your case is successfully litigated or tried in court.
In the event that your case does make it to trial, the prosecution has the burden of proving your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, which is a very high standard of proof. Our attorneys have extensive experience at successfully creating doubt against unfair presumptions of guilt.