Indecent liberties with a child is a serious offense in Texas. It can result in a record that can follow you for the rest of your life. Avoid being charged with and found guilty of this crime by knowing how it is defined under Texas state law and the penalties that come if you are convicted.
What Does “Indecent Liberties with a Child” Mean in Texas?
Texas state law defines indecent liberties with a child as engaging in sexual contact with a child who is 17 years of age or younger or causing the child to engage in sexual contact. It is classified as a sex crime in Texas that can be prosecuted as a misdemeanor or second or third-degree felony.
Sexual contact with a minor in Texas is likewise defined as the touching of the anus, breast, or any part of the genitals for the purpose of arousing or sexually gratifying oneself or another person. It can be sufficiently proven under the state’s laws with the uncorroborated testimony or outcry of the victim. The state of Texas itself has no burden to produce any corroborating or physical evidence of the crime.
It can also be prosecuted even if the victim recants his or her statement. The fact finder, such as law enforcement, an attorney, or judge, can determine whether or not to believe the statement before it was recanted.
The recanting of the victim’s testimony does not destroy its value or validity. The court still has the legal obligation of:
- Weighing the available evidence
- Evaluating the credibility of witnesses
- Determining whether or not to believe the initial outcry or statement
Based on the findings of the court, the crime can still be prosecuted to the fullest extent under Texas state law.
What Is the Punishment for Indecent Liberties?
The punishment for this crime can vary according to how it is prosecuted. If you are convicted of a misdemeanor charge of indecent liberties with a child, you can face up to 180 days in jail or a fine of up to $2000.
In some cases, you can face both a financial penalty and jail time for your misdemeanor conviction. You also could be sentenced to probation after you serve your jail sentence or pay your fine.
If you are convicted of a second- or third-degree felony of indecent liberties with a child in Texas, you could be sentenced up to 10 years in jail and a fine of up to $10,000. Also, you may be required to register as a sex offender in the state.
Hire a Lawyer
If you are charged with indecent liberties with a child in Texas, you should hire an attorney who is experienced in defending clients against sex crime accusations. While this charge is serious, it is not entirely hopeless to defend yourself against if you have the right lawyer representing you.
Your attorney may be able to devise one or more different arguments for why the charges against you should be lowered or dropped. He or she might be able to prove that the accusation against you is baseless.
Some of the defenses that your lawyer could use include:
- Absence of intent
These defenses can persuade the judge or jury to either reduce the charges against you or throw them out entirely.
Indecent liberties with a child is a serious offense that can lead to long-term consequences in Texas. You have options for fighting this charge against you. You may be able to prove your innocence and escape the harshest penalties for the crime by hiring a skilled sex crimes lawyer to defend you.
Brett A. Podolsky is a Criminal Legal Specialist certified by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. He is the former Assistant Criminal District Attorney for the State of Texas. As a criminal defense attorney in Houston, Texas, Mr. Podolsky dedicates his entire practice to litigation. He accepts a wide variety of cases, including drug charges, federal crimes, white-collar crimes, and sex crimes.