Texas Attorney General Challenges Court’s Overturning Sex Crime Law
Courts in Texas recently decided to strike down a law that addressed online chatting in certain situations. The law banned online chatting between adults and minors that was deemed sexually explicit. Those opposed to the law argued it was a violation of free-speech rights, and the court unanimously agreed.
The state’s attorney general is challenging this ruling, leading to a type of “legal turf war” according to a report by a local NBC affiliate. The war is occurring between the attorney general and the state’s prosecuting attorney. According to the report, the state’s prosecuting attorney argues that her office is the only one, aside from local prosecutors, with jurisdiction over the matter. As a result, she argues the attorney general has no standing to argue against the court’s ruling. The attorney general continues to push for reconsideration since he has several cases that hinge on the status of this law.
Regardless of the fate of this law, the legal discourse has brought attention to the harsh penalties that are associated with sex crime convictions.
Harsh penalties for sex crimes in Texas
The decision by the court to overturn the law led Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott to potentially drop 28 cases against men his office was perusing prosecuting. If the cases were won, these charges would come with serious penalties. In addition to the social stigma tied to a sex crime conviction, criminal penalties for crimes against juveniles can include:
- Up to 99 years or life imprisonment
- Mandatory registration as a sex offender
Those who are required to take part in the sex offender registration program provide personal information including their address and a photo to local law enforcement. The registration provides a good deal of information to the public, including the registrant’s home address, photograph, social security number and driver’s license number. Public notification is done in a variety of ways. It can be completed online through the Texas Department of Public Safety database as well as through a local website. Texas law also allows local authorities to publish information about registered sex offenders in local newspapers or to send out a mailing to each resident or business in the community that the registrant resides.
Defenses are available
Those charged with a sex crime should take the charges seriously. These penalties can cause irreparable damage to an individual’s personal and professional life. Defenses are available that can help lead to the reduction or even dismissal of charges. Contact an experienced Texas sex crimes defense attorney to discuss your case and better ensure your legal rights are protected.