Sex Crimes Laws in Texas

In a story that made national news, a New Hampshire prep school student has been convicted of sexual assault of a minor and sentenced to one year in jail. The student, now 20, faces what many consider a far more harsh penalty for having nonconsensual sex with an underage girl: he must register as a sex offender for the rest of his life.

In Texas, sex crimes are quite serious, and some can carry sentences of up to life in prison. At the very least, those convicted of a Texas sex crime will be required to register as a sex offender for a period of time — sometimes their entire lives, as was the case for the New Hampshire student.

Sex crimes in Texas and potential penalties for a conviction include:

Sexual Assault — a second-degree felony that carries a potential prison sentence of two to 20 years.

Aggravated Sexual Assault — a more serious offense than sexual assault that usually involves violence, a child, a minor, the use of a weapon, or threat of death. This offense is a first degree felony and carries a potential sentence of 5-99 years in prison.

Child Molestation/Indecency with a Child — there are several different acts that may be considered child molestation or indecency with a child, and the circumstances of the case will dictate the charge. Generally, child molestation cases are felonies and sentences can go up to 20 years.

Child Pornography — generally a third-degree felony in Texas with a potential prison sentence of two to 10 years, a $10,000 fine, or both. However, if more than six identical images of a child are in the possession of a defendant, the charge could be increased to a second-degree felony for intent to promote child pornography.

Prostitution — a state felony that typically carries a sentence of up to two years in a state jail facility.

Sexting — there are several different offenses that qualify as sexting offenses in Texas, and the most serious are those that involve texting images of a child or a minor, which could be charged as child pornography.

The Cogdell Law Firm is a boutique law firm focusing on large, complex business and criminal financial-related litigation, including white collar criminal defense, securities fraud, health care fraud investigation, criminal appeals and state criminal defense. When results matter most, contact Dan Cogdell at (713) 426-2244 or