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Sexual Assault

Texas does not have a state law dedicated to the criminal offense commonly referred to as rape. Instead, such offenses are often prosecuted as the crime of sexual assault.

Sexual assault is a felony offense in the Lone Star State, and convictions carry a variety of severe consequences. In addition to lengthy prison sentences and steep fines, alleged offenders may also be required to register as sex offenders and the having rape convictions on criminal records often creates significant hardships when people are seeking employment, housing, or professional licenses.

Lawyer for Sexual Assault Arrests in Fort Worth, TX

Do you think that you might by under investigation or were you already arrested for an alleged sexual assault in the DFW area? Whether the allegations are baseless or you are otherwise completely confident in your innocence, you should still not say anything to authorities until you have contacted Townsend, Gebhardt & Eppes, PLLC.

Andrea Townsend, Steven Gebhardt, and Brian Eppes are experienced criminal defense attorneys in Fort Worth who represent individuals charged with sex crimes in communities all over Tarrant County, Parker County, and Johnson County, including Arlington, Weatherford, Fort Worth, Cleburne, and many others. Call 817-502-3600 to take advantage of a free initial consultation that will allow our lawyers to provide a complete evaluation of your case.


Overview of Sexual Assault Crimes in Tarrant County


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Sexual Assault Charges in Texas

A person can be arrested for sexual assault under Texas Penal Code § 22.011(a)(1) if he or she intentionally or knowingly:

  • Causes the penetration of the anus or sexual organ of an alleged victim by any means, without the alleged victim's consent;
  • Causes the penetration of the mouth of an alleged victim by the sexual organ of the alleged offender, without the alleged victim's consent; or
  • Causes the sexual organ of an alleged victim, without that person’s consent, to contact or penetrate the mouth, anus, or sexual organ of another person, including the alleged offender.

Texas Penal Code § 22.011(b) establishes that a sexual assault under the aforementioned subsection is considered without the consent of the other person if:

  • The alleged offender compels the alleged victim to submit or participate by the use of physical force or violence;
  • The alleged offender compels the alleged victim to submit or participate by threatening to use force or violence against the alleged victim, and the alleged victim believes that the alleged offender has the present ability to execute the threat;
  • The alleged victim has not consented and the alleged offender knows the alleged victim is unconscious or physically unable to resist;
  • The alleged offender knows that as a result of mental disease or defect the alleged victim is at the time of the sexual assault incapable either of appraising the nature of the act or of resisting it;
  • The alleged victim has not consented and the alleged offender knows the alleged victim is unaware that the sexual assault is occurring;
  • The alleged offender has intentionally impaired the alleged victim's power to appraise or control the alleged victim's conduct by administering any substance without the alleged victim's knowledge;
  • The alleged offender compels the alleged victim to submit or participate by threatening to use force or violence against any person, and the alleged victim believes that the alleged offender has the ability to execute the threat;
  • The alleged offender is a public servant who coerces the alleged victim to submit or participate;
  • The alleged offender is a mental health services provider or a health care services provider who causes the alleged victim, who is a patient or former patient of the alleged offender, to submit or participate by exploiting the alleged victim's emotional dependency on the alleged offender;
  • The alleged offender is a clergyman who causes the alleged victim to submit or participate by exploiting the alleged victim's emotional dependency on the clergyman in the clergyman's professional character as spiritual adviser; or
  • The alleged offender is an employee of a facility where the alleged victim is a resident, unless the employee and resident are formally or informally married to each other.

An alleged offender also commits sexual assault under Texas Penal Code § 22.011(a)(2) if that person intentionally or knowingly:

  • Causes the penetration of the anus or sexual organ of a child by any means;
  • Causes the penetration of the mouth of a child by the sexual organ of the alleged offender;
  • Causes the sexual organ of a child to contact or penetrate the mouth, anus, or sexual organ of another person, including the alleged offender;
  • Causes the anus of a child to contact the mouth, anus, or sexual organ of another person, including the alleged offender;  or
  • Causes the mouth of a child to contact the anus or sexual organ of another person, including the alleged offender.

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Sexual Assault Penalties in Tarrant County

Any one of the offenses listed above is a second-degree felony. Convictions are punishable by up to 20 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000.

Sexual assault, however, can be classified as a first-degree felony if the alleged victim was a person whom the alleged offender was prohibited from marrying or purporting to marry or with whom the alleged offender was prohibited from living under the appearance of being married under the state’s bigamy law. In such cases, convictions are punishable by up to 99 years or life in prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000.

Texas Penal Code § 22.011(e) does establish the following affirmative defenses to sexual assault charges:

  • The alleged offender was the spouse of the child at the time of the offense; or
  • The alleged offender was not more than three years older than the alleged victim and at the time of the offense, was not required under to register for life as a sex offender or was not a person who had a reportable conviction or adjudication for an offense under this section, and the alleged victim was a child of 14 years of age or older and was not a person whom the alleged offender was prohibited from marrying or purporting to marry or with whom the actor was prohibited from living under the appearance of being married under the Texas bigamy statute.

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Texas Resources for Sexual Assault Offenses

Rape Crisis and Victim Services | The Women's Center of Tarrant County — Visit this section of the Women's Center of Tarrant County’s website to learn more about its Rape Crisis and Victim Services program. Find information about crisis intervention, rape exam support, and counseling services. You can also read about accompaniment for court proceedings and other criminal justice processes.

The Women’s Center of Tarrant County
1723 Hemphill St.
Fort Worth, TX 76110
(817) 927-4040

Silent Screams Inc. — Silent Screams is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization with the mission to embrace, empower, encourage and inform survivors of sexual assault. On this website, you can learn more about the organization, find sex crime information, and read survivor stories. You can also find information about sexual assault services and upcoming events.


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Townsend, Gebhardt & Eppes, PLLC | Fort Worth Sexual Assault Defense Attorney

If you were recently arrested or believe that you could be under investigation in the DFW area for an alleged sexual assault, do not make any kind of statement to authorities without legal counsel. Townsend, Gebhardt & Eppes, PLLC can investigate the allegations against you and fight to possibly get the criminal charges reduced or dismissed.

Fort Worth criminal defense lawyers Andrea Townsend, Steven Gebhardt, and Brian Eppes aggressively defend clients in Cleburne, Arlington, Weatherford, Fort Worth, and surrounding areas of Tarrant County, Parker County, and Johnson County. They can review your case and help you understand all of your legal options as soon as you call 817-502-3600 or fill out an online form to schedule a free, confidential consultation.


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