Sexual assault is any nonconsensual sexual contact or touching done by violence, force, or threat of force. In many states, sexual penetration is not required for a person to be charged with sexual assault. Instead, a charge of sexual battery requires penetration between the defendant and the victim. But a sexual assault charge may result from any type of sexual penetration. 

How is Sexual Assault Defined in Texas?

In Texas, an individual commits sexual assault when they knowingly, intentionally, and without consent: 

  • Penetrated the sexual organs or anus of another person by any means;
  • Penetrated the mouth of another person; or
  • Caused the other person’s sexual organs to come in contact with the defendant’s mouth, anus, or sexual organs.

What Does “Without the Consent of the Other Person” Mean in a Sexual Assault Charge?

The term “without the consent of the other person” means: 

  • The defendant forced the other person to participate or submit to the assault due to threat of force or violence.
  • The other person couldn’t consent because they were unconscious or unable to physically resist
  • The defendant coerces the person to participate in the act
  • The defendant was a mental health provider or health care services provider who exploited their position with a current or former patient, in order to have them participate or submit to the act
  • The defendant was a clergyman who used their position to influence the other person to participate or submit to the act 

What is the Punishment for Sexual Assault in Texas?

Sexual assault is a second degree felony in Texas. A person convicted may receive a sentence ranging from 2 to 20 years in prison and/or pay a fine of up to $10,000. 

Sexual assault can be charged as a first degree felony if the victim was someone the defendant attempted to or had committed bigamy. A first degree felony charge of sexual assault is punishable by 5 years to life in prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000. 

Do I Need a Lawyer to Help with My Criminal Charge?

Yes. Contact a Texas criminal lawyer about your sexual assault charge immediately. A lawyer will help you determine the best possible defense.