Houston Sexual Performance by a Child Defense Attorneys

Under Texas law, it is illegal to allow or encourage a child in Houston, Texas, to participate in what is known as a “sexual performance” or to engage in “sexual conduct.” A “sexual performance” is defined as any performance that includes depictions of the child’s genitals or a portion of the female breast below the top of the areola. Adults who authorize, induce, or employ a minor to undergo such a performance can face serious criminal charges.

For immediate legal assistance from a Houston sexual performance by a child defense lawyer, contact Scheiner Law Group today. We specialize in defending individuals who have been falsely accused of sex offenses in Houston, Texas.

It is important to understand that an individual can be charged with sexual performance by a child even if the minor does not participate in an actual act of sexual conduct. According to Texas Penal Code Section 43.25, a performance can be prosecuted if it simulates a sexual act or conduct. For instance, if the performance implies that the child is willing to engage in sexual activity by adopting suggestive poses, the adult involved can be charged with a crime.

Facing charges for sexual performance by a child can be a harrowing experience. The accusations alone can tarnish your reputation, disrupt your life, and instill fear about the future. If you or someone you know has been falsely accused of this crime in Houston, it is crucial to understand the laws, penalties, and potential defenses available. This article aims to provide comprehensive information to help you navigate through these challenging times and emphasize the importance of seeking skilled legal representation from a reputable sexual performance by a child attorney in Houston, Texas.

What Are The Laws Regarding Sexual Performance by a Child in Houston, Texas?

Under the current Texas law, the offense of Sexual Performance by a Child is defined in Texas Penal Code Section 43.25. This statute criminalizes acts involving the employment, authorization, or inducement of a child under 18 years to engage in sexual conduct or a sexual performance. Specifically, it states:

  • Section 43.25(b): A person commits an offense if, knowing the character and content thereof, they employ, authorize, or induce a child younger than 18 years of age to engage in sexual conduct or a sexual performance. This applies to parents, legal guardians, or custodians of a child younger than 18 if they consent to the child’s participation in a sexual performance.
  • Section 43.25(d): A person commits an offense if, knowing the character and content of the material, they produce, direct, or promote a performance that includes sexual conduct by a child younger than 18 years of age.

While this law is closely related to the offense of indecency with a child, there are significant differences. The age of consent in Texas for the sexual performance offense is 18 years old, while the age of consent for indecency with a child is 17 years old. The prohibited behavior under sexual performance requires a visual representation, such as a part in a play, movie, or any visual medium, including selfies cell phone videos, or sexual conduct.

The sexual performance by a child law extends to various individuals involved in creating such performances, including parents, directors, promoters, and producers. However, there are numerous exceptions described in the statute, highlighting the need for specialized legal knowledge when facing these charges.

If you find yourself facing these severe allegations, seeking the expertise of an experienced Houston sex crime lawyer is critical. A skilled attorney can help navigate these complex laws and mount a robust defense. Scheiner Law Group offers experienced legal representation to protect your rights and fight against these serious charges.

Contact our legal team today to learn more about your rights and the legal options you have.

Definitions of Sexual Performance By A Child and Offenses in Houston, Texas

Under Texas Penal Code Section 43.25, the legal framework surrounding sexual performance by a child includes several key definitions and offenses:

Sexual Performance: This term refers to any performance involving a child under 18 years of age that includes sexual conduct. This performance can be in any medium—live, recorded, or publicly displayed.

Sexual Conduct: Defined broadly, this includes actual or simulated acts of sexual intercourse, deviate sexual intercourse, sexual bestiality, masturbation, sadomasochistic abuse, or any lewd exhibition of the genitals or female breast.

Produce: To produce means to direct, promote, or arrange for the creation of a sexual performance involving a child.

Promote: Promotion involves distributing, disseminating, offering, displaying, or advertising material that includes a child’s sexual performance.

Deviate Sexual Intercourse: This term refers to contact between the genitals of one person and the mouth or anus of another, as well as penetration of the genitals or anus with an object.

Offenses Covered By The Statute

The statute criminalizes various actions related to the sexual exploitation of minors:

Employing or Inducing a Child: It is an offense to employ, authorize, or induce a child to participate in any sexual performance or conduct.

Consent by Parent or Guardian: Even a parent or guardian cannot legally consent to a child’s participation in a sexual performance. Doing so is considered a criminal offense.

Understanding these definitions and offenses is crucial if you are facing such charges. Consulting a sexual performance by a child attorney in Houston, Texas, is essential to navigating the complexities of these laws.

What Are The Penalties If I’m Found Guilty of Sexual Performance By a Child in Houston?

Being convicted of sexual performance by a child in Houston carries severe, life-altering penalties. According to Texas Penal Code Sections 12.32 – 12.34, the severity of the penalties depends on the specifics of the offense and the age of the child involved.

Penalties Based on Offense Severity

  • First-Degree Felony: If the child involved is under 14 years old, the offense is classified as a first-degree felony. This carries a punishment of 5 to 99 years or life in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
  • Second-Degree Felony: If the child is between 14 and 18 years old, the offense is typically a second-degree felony, resulting in 2 to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
  • Third-Degree Felony: If a person knowingly produces, directs, or promotes a performance that includes sexual conduct by a child under the age of 18, it is a third-degree felony. This can result in 2 to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000. If the child was under 14, the charge elevates to a second-degree felony.

Additional Legal Considerations

  • Simulated Conduct: Even simulated sexual conduct is considered an offense under Section 43.25. This includes acts designed to appear real and emphasizes the protection of a child’s mental and emotional well-being, not just physical safety.
  • “3g Offense” Designation: Sexual performance by a child is classified as a “3g offense” in Texas. This designation has significant implications:
  • No Probation from Judge: Offenders convicted of a 3g offense are not eligible for probation if sentenced by a judge after a trial verdict.
  • Parole Eligibility: Parole eligibility is more restrictive for 3g offenses. Offenders must serve at least half of their sentence or 30 years, whichever is less, before becoming eligible for parole. For life sentences, offenders must serve 30 years before parole eligibility.

Long-Term Consequences

In addition to prison time and fines, those convicted of sexual performance by a child may be required to register as sex offenders for life. This requirement severely impacts various aspects of life, including residency options, employment opportunities, and community standing.

Possible Defenses to Sexual Performance By a Child in Houston, Texas

Facing charges of sexual performance by a child in Houston is a grave matter that demands a robust legal defense. An experienced Houston sexual performance by a child lawyer from Scheiner Law Group can help you explore several potential defenses to fight these accusations effectively.

Spousal Relationship

One possible defense is if you were legally married to the minor at the time of the alleged offense. Texas law recognizes the legal status of marriage, even if one party is under 18. This can be a valid defense under certain circumstances, acknowledging the marital relationship as a mitigating factor.

Legitimate Purpose

Another defense is if the conduct in question was for a bona fide educational, medical, psychological, psychiatric, law enforcement, judicial, or legislative purpose. For instance, actions undertaken as part of a medically approved treatment, educational program, or legal investigation might be defensible. Demonstrating that the conduct was legitimate and not intended for sexual exploitation can significantly impact the case.

Age Proximity

If the accused is not more than two years older than the child, this age proximity can serve as a defense. This is particularly relevant in cases where both individuals are close in age and engaged in consensual activities. This defense acknowledges that minor age differences in consensual relationships should not be prosecuted as harshly.

Lack of Knowledge

A crucial defense is arguing that the defendant was unaware of the minor’s age. This defense can be potent if the minor’s appearance or presented documentation suggests they were of legal age. Demonstrating a lack of knowledge about the minor’s actual age can negate the intent required for conviction.

Lack of Intent

The prosecution must prove that the defendant knowingly and intentionally engaged in or promoted the sexual performance. If the act was inadvertent or unintentional, this lack of intent can be a strong defense. Showing that the defendant did not have the intent to exploit the minor is critical in such cases.

Coercion or Duress

In some situations, individuals may be forced into participating in these acts against their will. Demonstrating that the defendant was coerced or acting under duress can exonerate them. Evidence of threats, manipulation, or force can be vital in proving this defense.

Mistaken Identity

If the defendant was wrongfully identified, mistaken identity can be a crucial defense. Providing an alibi or presenting evidence that places the defendant elsewhere during the alleged incident can help negate the charges. This defense underscores the importance of thorough investigation and accurate identification.

False Accusations

Unfortunately, false accusations do occur. Proving that the accusations were fabricated, whether out of malice, misunderstanding, or miscommunication, is vital. This often involves scrutinizing the accuser’s credibility, motives, and inconsistencies in their statements. Demonstrating that the accusations are baseless can lead to dismissal of the charges.

How To Identify and Debunk False Accusations in Child Sex Crime Cases in Texas

Allegations surrounding child sex crimes can devastate reputations and profoundly disrupt lives. While guilt must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt, unreliable evidence—including inconsistent statements from child accusers—can lead to wrongful convictions. For those falsely accused, having a skilled Houston sexual performance by a child lawyer is crucial to challenge these accusations effectively.

Why Children Make Unreliable Statements

Children are particularly vulnerable to making false allegations and inconsistent statements due to their impressionable nature and susceptibility to suggestion. Often, pressure from adults—whether from parents, family members, or law enforcement—can significantly influence what children say.

For example, adults suspecting abuse might repeatedly question a child. A child might initially deny any inappropriate conduct but later change their story if they perceive they will be praised or rewarded for different answers. Children’s developing brains make them especially prone to suggestion, leading them to believe events occurred that did not.

The Damage Caused by False Statements

False or inconsistent statements in child sex crime cases can be incredibly damaging. For those wrongly accused, these allegations can result in severe legal consequences and lasting reputational harm. Additionally, the emotional toll on the accused and their families can be immense.

For the children involved, false accusations can be equally traumatic. The process of recounting false events can confuse and harm their mental and emotional well-being, making it difficult for them to distinguish reality from the fabricated narrative.

Common Signs of Inconsistent Statements in Child Sex Offense Cases

Identifying and challenging inconsistent statements is a critical part of defending against false accusations. A Houston sex crime lawyer with expertise in this area can recognize signs of unreliable testimony. Here are some common indicators:

  • Changing Details: When a child’s account of events changes with each telling, this inconsistency can suggest fabrication. A thorough examination of all statements made to various authorities can highlight these discrepancies.
  • Uncertainty About Time and Place: Children may not always remember where or when an alleged incident occurred. However, significant contradictions regarding these details can undermine their credibility. A skilled Houston sex crime defense attorney will scrutinize these inconsistencies closely.
  • Contradictory Evidence or Testimony: Evidence that contradicts the child’s allegations can be crucial. For instance, if medical evaluations show no signs of abuse despite claims of assault, this contradiction can be used to challenge the veracity of the statements.
  • Previous False Statements: If a child has previously given false statements to law enforcement or others, this history can be critical. Demonstrating a pattern of unreliable testimony can cast doubt on the current allegations.
  • Influence by Adults: Often, a child’s statements may be influenced by adults seeking to manipulate the narrative. This can occur in the context of custody battles or familial disputes where one party might encourage false allegations to gain an advantage.

Strategies to Debunk False Accusations

A comprehensive defense against false accusations of this serious sex crime in Houston, Texas, involves several strategies:

  • Examine Inconsistent Statements: Identifying and highlighting inconsistencies in the child’s story can be a powerful defense. Detailed cross-examination can reveal these inconsistencies.
  • Investigate the Accuser’s Background: Understanding the accuser’s history, including any previous false allegations or motives for making the current accusation, can provide context and help debunk the claims.
  • Collect Alibi Evidence: Solid alibi evidence, such as witness testimonies, video footage, or digital evidence, can decisively disprove the accuser’s claims. This evidence is critical in establishing the accused’s innocence.
  • Seek Expert Testimony: Psychological experts can testify about the possibility of false memories or suggestibility, particularly in young children. This expert testimony can help juries understand how children might come to believe false narratives.
  • Scrutinize Physical Evidence: A thorough examination of all physical evidence is essential. In some cases, the absence of physical evidence can support the claim of false accusations. For instance, if no physical signs of abuse are present despite allegations of repeated assaults, this can be a significant defense point.

Child Sexual Abuse Lawyers in Houston, Texas

At Scheiner Law Group, we are unwavering in our commitment to defending your rights and protecting you against false charges of sex crimes in Houston, Texas. Our experienced team understands the severe impact these accusations can have on your life, reputation, and future.

With our extensive knowledge of Texas law and a dedicated approach to each case, we meticulously investigate every detail to ensure a fair and just outcome. We are here to provide you with the robust defense you deserve, standing by your side every step of the way. If you or a loved one is facing such charges, trust Scheiner Law Group to fight vigorously for your rights and work tirelessly to restore your good name.

In addition to cases involving sexual performance by a child we also handle many cases having to do with sex crimes with minors in Houston, Texas, such as false pedophile charges, indecency with a child by contact, child pornography possession, child pornography promotion, online solicitation of a minor, and more.