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Indecency with a Child Prosecutions in Collin County and Dallas-Ft. Worth

Indecency with a child accusations are vigorously investigated and prosecuted in McKinney, Plano, Dallas, Allen, Denton, Frisco, Sherman, Ft. Worth, and Rockwall. This blog post will provide an overview of indecency with a child charges and how they are investigated and prosecuted in Collin County and neighboring counties.

Texas Penal Code Section 21.11 describes the offense of indecency with a child. Indecency with a child can be committed in one of two ways.

The first way indecency with a child can be committed is defined in Texas Penal Code Section 21.11(a)(1). This section of the law applies to indecency with a child by contact.

Indecency with a child by contact occurs when a person engages in sexual contact with a child or causes the child to engage in sexual contact. A child is defined as a person younger than 17 years of age.

What is sexual contact? Texas Penal Code Section 21.11(c) defines sexual contact as follows: "if committed with the intent to arouse or gratify the sexual desire of any person:

  • (1) any touching by a person, including touching through clothing, of the anus, breast, or any part of the genitals of a child; or
  • (2) any touching of any part of the body of a child, including touching through clothing, with the anus, breast, or any part of the genitals of a person."

The defense of indecency with a child by contact charges often focuses on whether the act was done "with the intent to arouse or gratify the sexual desire." Whether that occurred or not often hinges on circumstantial evidence, such as: where and when did the alleged acts occur, who was present, what was going on at the time, what clothes were people wearing, what was said, etc.

It also important to note that the offense of indecency with a child by contact can also be committed by touching through clothing, that is, it isn't necessary that skin to skin contact occurred. But when such a charge is made, the defense often focuses on whether the touching (assuming it did in fact occur) was done to "arouse or gratify" sexual desire.

Indecency with a child by contact is a second degree felony. Second degree felonies are punishable by not less than 2 years and not more than 20 years in prison, and a fine of up to $10,000.

If convicted by a jury of indecency with a child by contact, can the accused get probation? That depends. If the child was younger than 14 years old at the time of the offense, then the accused cannot get probation. See TX Code of Criminal Procedure Art. 42.12, Section 4(d). If the child was 14 years old or older at the time of the offense, then the jury can recommend probation. If the jury "recommends" probation, the court must grant probation.

Is deferred adjudication possible for indecency with a child by contact? That depends.

If the accused pleads guilty and asks the court determine punishment, then the court could grant deferred adjudication for indecency with a child by contact so long as the accused doesn't have a prior sex offense. Whether or not deferred adjudication for a sexual offense is worthwhile is discussed in another of my blog posts.

  • 2. The second way that indecency with a child can be committed is defined in Texas Penal Code Section 21.11(a)(2), which applies to indecency with a child by exposure. Indecency with a child by exposure occurs when the actor:
  • (2) with intent to arouse or gratify the sexual desire of any person:
  • (A) exposes the person's anus or any part of the person's genitals, knowing the child is present; or
  • (B) causes the child to expose the child's anus or any part of the child's genitals.

Indecency with a child by exposure is a third degree felony. See Texas Penal Code Section 21.11(c)(d). A third degree felony is punishable by not less than 2 years and not more than 10 years in prison, and a fine of up to $10,000.

If convicted by a jury, can the accused get probation? That depends. If the child was younger than 14 years old at the time of the offense, then the jury cannot give probation. See TX Code of Criminal Procedure Art. 42.12, Section 4(d). If the child was 14 years old or older at the time of the offense, then the jury can recommend probation. If the jury "recommends" probation, the court must grant probation.

Is deferred adjudication possible for indecency with a child by exposure? That depends.

If the accused pleads guilty and asks the court determine punishment, then the court could grant deferred adjudication for indecency with a child by exposure so long as the accused doesn't have a prior sex offense.

The law does provide defenses to the charges of indecency with a child by contact and by exposure. Specifically, Texas Penal Code Section 21.11(b) provides:

  • (b) It is an affirmative defense to prosecution under this section that the actor:
  • (1) was not more than three years older than the victim and of the opposite sex;
  • (2) did not use duress, force, or a threat against the victim at the time of the offense; and
  • (3) at the time of the offense was not required to register as a sex offender.

Facing a charge of indecency with a child by contact or exposure in the McKinney, Plano, Dallas, Allen, Denton, Frisco, Sherman, Ft. Worth, and Rockwall area is a terrible ordeal. To make it through the process you must rely upon an experienced criminal defense attorney. Contact criminal defense lawyer Keith Gore for an aggressive, individualized, and comprehensive defense of these child sex crimes.

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