Texas Criminal Defense to Internet Child Sex Crimes
Like all states, Texas takes a stringent stance against internet sex crimes, particularly those involving children. Understanding the nuances of these laws and how to handle the legal process is vital if you find yourself charged with such a crime. This guide aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of internet sex crimes in Texas, their penalties, and potential defenses.
If you are facing internet child sex crimes charges, contact the experienced Texas criminal defense attorneys at Broden & Mickelsen, LLP for a free consultation to learn more about how we can help you.
How an Experienced Texas Criminal Defense Lawyer Can Help
Enlisting a proficient Texas criminal defense attorney, like those at Broden & Mickelsen, LLP, is paramount when facing charges of this magnitude. With over 60 years of combined legal experience and board-certified specialization in criminal law and criminal appellate law, we offer unparalleled legal services in both federal and state cases. We explore all avenues to defend your rights, including scrutinizing the evidence, questioning the prosecution’s narrative, and leveraging applicable defenses. We also provide representation at post-conviction relief proceedings, backed by a track record of successful outcomes for clients.
Explanation of the Use of Technology to Commit Internet Sex Crimes
Internet sex crimes typically involve using digital tools to exploit, solicit, or distribute explicit content featuring minors. Offenders may use various platforms, including social media, email, instant messaging, or video game chat rooms.
Texas laws are rigorous in addressing these offenses and apply equally whether the illicit activity occurs on a computer, smartphone, or any other internet-connected device.
Common Types of Internet Child Sex Crimes in Texas
Internet sex crimes take several forms, including the following:
- Child Pornography – Texas law prohibits creating, distributing, or possessing explicit material featuring minors.
- Illegal Sexting – The law also covers the transmission of sexually explicit images via text messages, especially those involving individuals under the age of 18.
- Invasive Visual Recording – It is illegal for someone to make and transmit a visual recording of someone’s intimate areas in a changing room, bathroom, or locker room without their consent with the intent to invade their privacy.
- Unlawful Electronic Transmission of Sexually Explicit Visual Material – This offense occurs when someone knowingly transmits visual material that depicts another engaging in sexual conduct or with their intimate parts exposed without their consent.
- Online Solicitation of a Minor – Engaging in sexually explicit conversations or attempting to lure a minor online for sexual purposes is a serious crime under Texas law.
These are all serious crimes that carry severe penalties. If you are facing such charges, you need the help of an experienced attorney who can fight to protect your rights and freedom.
Penalties for Internet Sex Crimes in Texas
If you face internet sex crimes charges in Texas, the penalties for sex crimes will vary according to the following factors:
- Classification – Depending on the nature and severity of the crime, internet sex offense penalties in Texas generally range from state jail felonies to first-degree felonies.
- Felony Offenses – Penalties range from 180 days to 99 years in prison and fines up to $10,000.
- Aggravating and Mitigating Factors – The court considers various factors when determining penalties, including the victim’s age, the offender’s criminal history, and the nature of the crime.
- Sex Offender Registration – Convictions often require registration as a sex offender, which can have a severe impact on your reputation and personal freedom.
Defenses to Internet Sex Crimes in Texas
The seriousness of internet sex crime charges can cause some people to despair. However, it is essential to remember that a charge does not equal a conviction. The seasoned Texas criminal defense lawyers at Broden & Mickelson, LLP have the tools and skills to fight for your rights. Possible defenses to internet sex crimes in Texas may include:
- Lack of Intent – The element of intent is central to many crimes, including internet sex crimes. If you demonstrate that you did not intend to commit the crime, this defense could significantly weaken the prosecution’s case. For example, perhaps you were misled into believing the content was legal, or there was a misunderstanding about the minor’s age.
- Computer Viruses – In the age of advanced technology, computer viruses, and malware can take control of your device without your knowledge. This defense can be compelling if your attorney can prove that a virus or malware led to the presence of illicit material on your device (perhaps by downloading, creating, or distributing such content without your awareness).
- Lack of Knowledge – If you were unaware that certain content was on your device or did not realize the content was illegal, the defense of lack of knowledge might be applicable. This defense might arise if someone else had access to your device and it can be proven that they were responsible for the illegal activity.
- Entrapment – Entrapment occurs when law enforcement induces an individual to commit a crime they would not otherwise have committed. If a law enforcement officer encouraged, pressured, or misled you into engaging in illicit activity, you may be able to use the defense of entrapment.
- False Accusations – Accusations of internet sex crimes can sometimes stem from misunderstandings, mistaken identity, or even malicious intent. Your attorney can conduct a thorough investigation to determine the source and credibility of the accusations. The court may dismiss the charges entirely if your attorney can prove that someone wrongly accused you.
- Illegal Search and Seizure – Law enforcement must follow strict guidelines during investigations, and any breach can violate your constitutional rights. For example, if officers searched your property or seized your computer without a valid warrant, or if the warrant was based on false information, any evidence obtained may be inadmissible in court.
These defenses are complex and require the legal understanding of a seasoned criminal defense attorney. The team at Broden & Mickelsen, LLP has the experience and knowledge necessary to analyze your case’s unique circumstances and determine the most effective defense strategy.