Understanding Consent and Sexual Assault Crimes in Texas
In 2017, the #MeToo movement exploded on social media, encouraging those who have experienced sexual assault to share their stories. In the years since, the #MeToo movement has sparked a wave of change in many states as to how they define, charge and prosecute sexual assault offenses. In many cases, consent has been a hotly debated issue in sexual assault cases. Most states -- Texas included -- have various laws and stipulations pertaining to what consent means, who can give it, and whether or not it is a defense against sexual assault charges.
What is Consent in Texas?
According to Texas law, sexual assault occurs when a person intentionally and/or knowingly performs a sex act or causes another person to perform a sex act on a person who does not give their consent. Because consent is such a crucial part of sexual assault cases, it is important to understand what consent means. Texas law states that consent is not given if:
The perpetrator makes the victim submit to sex acts through the use of or threat of use of force, coercion, or physical violence
The victim has not given consent and the perpetrator knows that the victim is unable to resist or is unconscious
The perpetrator knows that the victim’s mental disease or defect causes them not to be able to understand the nature of the act or put up resistance
The perpetrator knows that the victim has not consented and is unaware of the act happening
The perpetrator has given a mind-altering substance to the victim, rendering them incapable of understanding the act happening
The perpetrator is a public servant who coerces the victim into submitting to sex acts
The perpetrator is a mental health or health care provider who exploits the victim’s emotional attachment to the perpetrator
The perpetrator is a clergyman or other church official who exploits the emotional dependency that the victim has to the perpetrator’s role as a spiritual adviser
The victim is a resident in a facility by which the perpetrator is employed, unless the two are married
The perpetrator is a healthcare provider administering assistive reproduction services and uses reproductive material from a donor that they know the victim has not consented to
When is Consent Unable to Be Given?
In some circumstances, legal consent is not able to be given by certain people, regardless of whether they give verbal consent. One of the obvious examples are children. In Texas, a child is considered to be any person who is under the age of 17. This means that anyone under the age of 17 cannot legally consent to sex acts, unless they were at least 14 years old and the perpetrator was not more than three years older than the child. For example, a 15-year-old is able to give consent to anyone who is between 14- and 18-years-old.
Our San Antonio, TX Sexual Assault Defense Attorney is Here to Help
Being accused of committing a sex crime can be devastating for many people. Not only do you face social ramifications, you could also be facing serious felony charges in some situations. If you have been charged with any type of sex crime, you should speak with a Texas sexual assault defense lawyer as soon as possible. At the Law Offices of Sam H. Lock, we can answer any questions you may have about sexual assault charges and help you form a strong defense strategy. To schedule a free consultation, call our office today at 1-888-SAM-LOCK.