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Zoey_ JD
Zoey_ JD, JustAnswer Criminal Law Mentor
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 27450
Experience:  Admitted to NYS Criminal defense bar in 1989. Extensive arraignment, hearing, trial experience.
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If a 25 male is charged with assault with a 15 y/o female in the state of Texas, w

Customer Question

If a 25 male is charged with sexual assault with a 15 y/o female in the state of Texas, what will happen after arrest. How long will he wait before seeing the judge. and what difference can a lawyer make as far as reducing the severity of his sentence. He has past misdemeanors but this would be his first felony offense.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  Zoey_ JD replied 2 years ago.
My name is ***** ***** I am an experienced criminal lawyer.
The age of consent in Texas is 17, meaning that under Texas law a minor younger than that is incapable of consenting to sex. That means consent is no defense to a rape charge, even if the minor entered into the sex willingly. Also, Texas follow the majority of states which hold that a reasonable mistake as to the age of the minor is also not a defense to a statutory rape charge.
As you can see, this is a strict liability offense, meaning there isn't much wiggle room under the law for someone to fight the charge successfully if it can be established that sex actually occurred. If the defendant is more than 3 years older than this minor and they have sex he would face Sexual Assault charges. In Texas that is a second degree felony, which carries a minimum penalty of 2 years in prison, a maximum of 20 years and lifetime registration as a sex offender.
Generally an incarcerated defendant will see the judge within 48 hours not counting weekends or holidays so that a bail determination can be made and bail set on the offense. It is possible that with a lawyer on the case and with a defendant with no previous sex offenses or felony convictions, that the lawyer may negotiate a plea offer to a lesser sex offense allowing the defendant to get probation. Even if that's not possible, however, these charges are serious and the consequences are great, so he should not even think of trying to handle this himself without counsel.
His first court date will be his arraignment. The charges will be read into the record and he'll be asked how he pleads. He must plead not guilty, as this is the only plea he can make that keeps all of his rights open and allows him to be advised by a lawyer and fight the case or negotiate a deal. If he has no lawyer nor money for a lawyer, after he pleads not guilty he can ask the court to appoint him a public defender.
Once a lawyer is on the case, the lawyer and client will confer about the defendant's options. If he wants to fight the case, the lawyer will get police reports and other forms of discovery and the case will move towards an eventual trial. If the client wants a deal, the lawyer will work on negotiating one.
I think this is what you want to know, but if I left anything out you would have liked addressed, please use the reply tab below to respond and I will add it to my answer.