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Texas Sex Crimes Law

Below is a complete list of all sex crimes that a person can be charged with in the state court in Texas. It includes what the prosecution must prove (the elements of the crimes) to obtain a conviction for each charge. These are found in the Texas Penal Code.

Texas Sex Crimes

§15.031 – Criminal Solicitation of a Minor (Under 17)
§20.04 – Aggravated Kidnapping
§21.01 – Definitions
§21.06 – Homosexual Conduct*
§21.07 – Public Lewdness
§21.08 – Indecent Exposure
§21.11 – Indecency With a Child (Under 17 years of age)
§21.12 – Improper Relationship Between Educator and Student
§21.15 – Improper Photography or Visual Recording
§21.011 – Sexual Assault
§22.021 – Aggravated Sexual Assault
§25.02 – Prohibited Sexual Conduct
§43.02 – Prostitution
§43.03 – Promotion of Prostitution
§43.04 – Aggravated Promotion of Prostitution
§43.05 – Compelling Prostitution
§43.21 – Definitions
§43.22 – Obscene Display or Distribution
§43.23 – Obscenity
§43.24 – Sale, Distribution, or Display of Harmful Material to Minor (Under 18)
§43.25 – Sexual Performance by a Child
§43.251 – Employment Harmful to Children
§43.26 – Possession or Promotion of Child Pornography
Corresponding Punishments

§15.031 – Criminal Solicitation of a Minor (Under 17)
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A person commits an offense if, with intent that of the following offenses be committed, the person attempts to induce a minor to engage in specific conduct that, under circumstances as the actor believes them to be, would either:
1. Constitute an offense under one of the following sections, OR
2. Make the minor a party to the commission of the offense under one of these sections:
a. §21.11 (Indecency with a Child),
b. §22.011 (Sexual Assault),
c. §22.021 (Aggravated Sexual Assault), or
d. §43.25 (Sexual Performance by Child)

A person cannot be convicted under this section on the uncorroborated testimony of the minor allegedly solicited unless solicitation is made under circumstances strongly corroborative of both the solicitation itself and the actor’s intent that the minor act on the solicitation.

It is no defense to prosecution under this section that:
1. The minor solicited is not criminally responsible for offense solicited,
2. The minor solicited has been acquitted or been convicted for a different offense, or is immune from prosecution,
3. The actor belongs to class of persons legally incapable of committing the offense in an individual capacity,
4. The offense solicited was actually committed.

An offense under this section is one category of punishment lower than the solicited offense.

§20.04 – Aggravated Kidnapping
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A person commits an offense if he intentionally or knowingly abducts another person with the intent to violate or abuse him sexually. This is a first-degree felony unless the defense shows by a preponderance of the evidence that he voluntarily released victim in a safe place, in which case this is a second degree felony.
First-degree felony: No more than 99 years or less than 5 years
Second-degree felony: No more than 20 years or less than 2 years

§21.01 – Definitions
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Sexual contact always includes intent to arouse or gratify the sexual desire of any person.

§21.06 – Homosexual Conduct*
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A person commits the offense if he engages in deviate sexual intercourse with another individual of the same sex. This is a Class C misdemeanor.
Class C misdemeanor: Fine up to $500

* Declared unconstitutional by United States Supreme Court in Lawrence v. Texas

§21.07 – Public Lewdness
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A person commits an offense if he:
1. Knowingly engages in one of the following acts in a public place, OR
2. Engages in one of the following acts while reckless as to whether another is present who will be offended or alarmed:
a. Act of sexual intercourse,
b. Act of deviate sexual intercourse,
c. Act of sexual contact, OR
d. Act of sexual contact with a bird or animal.

This is a Class A misdemeanor.
Class A misdemeanor: Fine up to $4,000 OR up to 1 year in jail OR both.

§21.08 – Indecent Exposure
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A person commits an offense if he:
1. Exposes himself with intent to arouse or gratify the sexual desire of any person, AND
2. Is reckless as to whether another is present who will be offended or alarmed.

This is a Class B misdemeanor.

Class B misdemeanor: Fine up to $2,000 OR up to 180 days in jail OR both.

§21.11 – Indecency With a Child (Under 17 years of age)
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A person commits an offense if, with a child not his spouse, he:
1. Engages in sexual contact with the child, OR
2. Causes the child to engage in sexual contact, OR
3. Exposes himself to the child with intent to arouse or gratify any person, OR
4. Causes the child to expose with intent to arouse or gratify any person.

It is an affirmative defense to prosecution that the actor:
1. Is not more than three years older than the victim, AND
2. Is of the opposite sex, AND
3. Did not use force, threat of force, or duress against victim, AND
4. Was not required to register for life as a sex offender.

Offenses 1 and 2 are second-degree felonies; offenses 3 and 4 are third-degree felonies.
Third-degree felony: No more than 10 years or less than 2 years

§21.12 – Improper Relationship Between Educator and Student
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An employee of a primary or secondary school commits an offense if he engages in sexual contact, sexual intercourse, or deviate sexual intercourse with a person enrolled at the school where the employee works who is not the employee=s spouse.

This is a felony of the second degree.
Second-degree felony: No more than 20 years or less than 2 years

If the conduct giving rise to a violation of this section would also be a violation of any other section, the actor may be prosecuted under either or both sections.

§21.15 – Improper Photography or Visual Recording
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A person commits an offense if the person either:
1. Photographs or by other means visually records another
a. Without the other person=s consent, AND
b. With intent to arouse to gratify the sexual desire of any person
OR 2. Knowing the character and content of the photograph or recording, promotes the photograph or recording.

This is a state jail felony.
State jail felony: No more than 2 years or less than 180 days in state jail

If the conduct giving rise to a violation of this section would also be a violation of any other section, the actor may be prosecuted under either section.

§21.011 – Sexual Assault
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A person commits an offense if he:
1. Intentionally or knowingly
a. Causes the penetration of another person by any means without that person=s consent, OR
b. Penetrates the mouth of another person without consent, OR
c. Engages in sexual contact with another person without that person=s consent, OR
2. Intentionally or knowingly:
a. Causes the penetration of a child by any means, OR
b. Penetrates the mouth of a child, OR
c. Causes a child to penetrate another party including the actor, OR
d. Causes a child to engage in sexual contact with another person, including the actor.

A sexual assault under Offense 1 is without consent if any of the following are true:
1. The actor compels victim to submit or participate through use of force.
2. The actor compels victim to submit or participate by threatening force against victim AND victim believes the actor has the ability to execute the threat.
3. Victim has not consented and actor knows victim is unconscious or physically unable to resist.
4. Actor knows that because of mental disease or defect at time of assault, victim is incapable of appraising nature of act or of resisting.
5. Victim has not consented and actor knows that victim is unaware that assault is occurring.
6. Actor has intentionally impaired victim=s ability to appraise or control conduct by administering any substance without victim=s knowledge.
7. Actor compels victim to submit or participate by threatening force against any person and victim believes actor has ability to execute the threat.
8. Actor is public servant who coerces victim to submit or participate.
9. Actor is mental health or health care provider who causes victim, who is current or former patient of actor, to submit by exploiting victim=s emotional dependency on actor.
10. Actor is clergyman who causes the victim to submit by exploiting victim=s emotional dependency on clergyman in professional character as spiritual adviser.
11. Actor is employee of facility (e.g. home for elderly or mentally disabled) where victim is a resident unless employee and resident are married.

It is a defense to prosecution under Offense 2 that the conduct consisted of medical care for the child and did not include sexual contact between child and the actor or a third party.

It is an affirmative defense to Offense 2 that the actor:
1. Was not more than three years older than victim at time of offense, AND
2. Was not required to register as a sex offender, AND
3. Victim was at least 14 years of age.

This is a felony of the second degree.
Second-degree felony: No more than 20 years or less than 2 years

§22.021 – Aggravated Sexual Assault
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A person commits an offense if a person commits sexual assault and either:
1. Causes serious bodily injury or attempts to cause death of victim or another person during same criminal episode, OR
2. By acts or words places victim in hear that death, serious bodily injury, or kidnapping will be imminently inflicted on any person, OR
3. By acts or words in presence of victim threatens to cause death, serious bodily injury or kidnapping of any person, OR
4. Uses or exhibits a deadly weapon in course of same criminal episode, OR
5. Administers rohypnol, GHB, or ketamine to victim with intent to facilitate the offense, OR
6. Victim is under 14 years of age, OR
7. Victim is elderly or disabled individual.

This is a felony of the first degree.
First-degree felony: No more than 99 years or less than 5 years

§25.02 – Prohibited Sexual Conduct
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An individual commits an offense he knowingly engages in sexual intercourse or deviate sexual intercourse with:
1. His ancestor or descendant by blood or adoption, OR
2. Stepchild or stepparent, while marriage creating that relationship exists, OR
3. Parent’s brother or sister by whole or half blood, OR
4. Brother or sister by blood or adoption, OR
5. Children of brother or sister by blood or adoption.

This is a felony of the third degree.
Third-degree felony: No more than 10 years or less than 2 years

§43.02 – Prostitution
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A person commits an offense if he knowingly either:
1. Offers to engage or engages in sexual conduct for a fee, OR
2. Solicits another in a public place to engage in sexual conduct for a fee.

The offense is established regardless of whether the actor is to pay or receive the fee.

If the actor has not previously been convicted under this section, this is a Class B misdemeanor. If the actor has previously been convicted once or twice under this section, this is a Class A misdemeanor. If the actor has previously been convicted three or more times under this section, this is a state jail felony.
Class B misdemeanor: Fine up to $2,000 OR up to 180 days in jail OR both.
Class A misdemeanor: Fine up to $4,000 OR up to 1 year in jail OR both.
State jail felony: No more than 2 years or less than 180 days in state jail

§43.03 – Promotion of Prostitution
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A person commits an offense if, acting other than prostitute receiving payment for personally rendered services, he or she knowingly:
1. Receives money or other property pursuant to agreement to participate in proceeds of prostitution, OR
2. Solicits another to engage in sexual conduct with another person for a fee.

This is a Class A misdemeanor.
Class A misdemeanor: Fine up to $4,000 OR up to 1 year in jail OR both.

§43.04 – Aggravated Promotion of Prostitution
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A person commits an offense if he knowingly owns, invests in, or manages a prostitution enterprise that uses two or more prostitutes.

This offense is a felony of the third degree.
Third-degree felony: No more than 10 years or less than 2 years

§43.05 – Compelling Prostitution
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A person commits an offense if he knowingly:
1. Causes another by force, threat, or fraud to commit prostitution, OR
2. Causes a child under 17 years old by any means to commit prostitution.

This offense is a felony of the second degree.
Second-degree felony: No more than 20 years or less than 2 years

§43.21 – Definitions
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“Obscene” means material or a performance that:
1. The average person, applying contemporary community standards, would find that taken as a whole appeals to the prurient interest in sex, AND
2. Describes or depicts:
a. Sexual contact or sexual intercourse, OR

b. Lewd exhibition of the genitals, OR
c. A device designed and marketed for the stimulation of the genitals (obscene device), AND
3. Taken as a whole, lacks serious literary, artistic, political, and scientific value.

“Promote” means to manufacture, issue, sell, provide, distribute, or offer or agree to do the same.

“Wholesale promote” means to promote or agree to do the same for the purposes of resale.

§43.22 – Obscene Display or Distribution
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A person commits an offense if he:
1. Intentionally or knowingly displays or distributes obscene material, AND
2. Is reckless about whether a person is present who will be offended or alarmed.

This offense is a Class C misdemeanor.
Class C misdemeanor: Fine up to $500

§43.23 – Obscenity
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a. A person commits an offense if, knowing its content and character, he:
1. Wholesale promotes any obscene material or device, OR
2. Possesses with intent to wholesale promote any obscene material or device.

Except as provided by Subsection (h), an offense under Subsection (a) is a state jail felony.
State jail felony: No more than 2 years or less than 180 days in state jail

c. A person commits an offense if, knowing its content and character, he:
1. Promotes any obscene material or device, OR
2. Possesses with intent to promote any obscene material or device, OR
3. Produces, directs, or participates in an obscene performance.

Except as provided by Subsection (h), an offense under Subsection (c) is a Class A misdemeanor.
Class A misdemeanor: Fine up to $4,000 OR up to 1 year in jail OR both.

A person who promotes or wholesale promotes obscene material or possesses obscene material with intent to promote or wholesale promote in the course of his business is presumed to have knowledge of the material=s content and character.

A person who possesses six or more obscene devices or identical or obscene articles is presumed to possess them with intent to promote.

It is an affirmative defense to prosecution that the person who possesses or promotes obscene material or devices does so for a bona fide medical, psychiatric, judicial, legislative, or law enforcement purpose.

Subsection (h) B The actor is subject to increased punishment under Subsections (a) and (c) if the obscene material depicts acts engaged in by:
1. A child younger than 18 at the time the image of the child was made, OR
2. An image that to a reasonable person would be virtually indistinguishable from the image of a child younger than 18 years old, OR
3. An image created or modified to be the image of an identifiable* child.

*An identifiable child means an actual person, recognizable by the person=s face, likeness or other distinguishing characteristic, either:
1. Younger than 18 years at the time the depiction was created or modified, OR
2. Whose image as a person younger than 18 was used in creating the image.

Under Subsection (h), a violation of Subsection (a) becomes a felony of the third degree and a violation of Subsection (c) becomes a state jail felony.
Third-degree felony: No more than 10 years or less than 2 years
State jail felony: No more than 2 years or less than 180 days in state jail

§43.24 – Sale, Distribution, or Display of Harmful Material to Minor (Under 18)
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“Harmful material” means material whose dominant theme, taken as a whole:
1. Appeals to the prurient interest of a minor in sex or nudity, AND
2. Is patently offensive to prevailing standards in the adult community as to what is appropriate for minors, AND
3. Is utterly without redeeming social value for minors.

A person commits an offense if, knowing that the material is harmful, the actor:
1. Sells or distributes material to a person the actor knows to be a minor, OR
2. Displays harmful material and is reckless as to whether a minor is present who will be offended or alarmed, OR
3. Hires or employs a minor to assist or accomplish acts in Subsections 1 or 2.

It is a defense to prosecution under this section that either:
1. The sale was by a person having scientific, educational, governmental, or other similar justification, OR
2. The sale was to a minor accompanied by a consenting parent or guardian.

An offense under Subsection 1 or 2 is a Class A misdemeanor; an offense under Subsection 3 is a third degree felony.
Class A misdemeanor: Fine up to $4,000 OR up to 1 year in jail OR both.
Third-degree felony: No more than 10 years or less than 2 years

§43.25 – Sexual Performance by a Child
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For the purposes of this section, a sexual performance is any performance that includes sexual conduct by a child under 18.

A performance is a play, video, motion picture, or any other visual representation for an audience of one or more persons.

b. A person commits an offense if, knowing the character and content of the performance, he employs, authorizes, or induces a child under 18 to engage in a sexual performance. A parent or guardian of a child under 18 commits an offense if he consents to the participation by the child in a sexual performance.

An offense under Subsection (b) is a felony of the second degree.
Second-degree felony: No more than 20 years or less than 2 years

d. A person commits an offense if, knowing the character and content of the material, he produces, directs, or promotes a sexual performance by a child under 18.

An offense under Subsection (d) is a felony of the third degree.
Third-degree felony: No more than 10 years or less than 2 years

It is an affirmative defense to prosecution under this section that:
1. The defendant was the child’s spouse at the time of the offense, OR
2. The conduct was for a bona fide educational, medical, psychological, judicial, law enforcement, or legislative purpose, OR
3. The defendant is not more than two years older than the child.

§43.251 – Employment Harmful to Children
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A person commits an offense if the person employs or induces a child under 18 to work:
1. In a sexually oriented commercial activity, OR
2. In any place of business permitting, requesting, or requiring child to work nude or topless.

This offense is a Class A misdemeanor.
Class A misdemeanor: Fine up to $4,000 OR up to 1 year in jail OR both.

§43.26 – Possession or Promotion of Child Pornography
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a. A person commits an offense if he knowingly or intentionally:
1. Possesses visual material depicting a child under 18 at the time the image was made engaging in sexual conduct, AND
2. Knows that the material depicts a child under 18 engaging in sexual conduct

It is an affirmative defense to prosecution under this section that:
1. The defendant was the child’s spouse at the time of the offense, OR
2. The conduct was for a bona fide educational, medical, psychological, judicial, law enforcement, or legislative purpose, OR
3. The defendant is not more than two years older than the child.

An offense under Subsection (a) is a felony of the third degree.
Third-degree felony: No more than 10 years or less than 2 years

e. A person commits an offense if he knowingly or intentionally:
1. Promotes material described in Subsection (a), OR
2. Possesses material described in Subsection (a) with intent to promote.

A person who possesses six or more identical visual depictions of a child as described by Subsection (a) is presumed to possess the material with intent to promote.

An offense under Subsection (e) is a felony of the second degree.
Second-degree felony: No more than 20 years or less than 2 years

Corresponding Punishments
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Class C misdemeanor: Fine up to $500
Class B misdemeanor: Fine up to $2,000 OR up to 180 days in jail OR both.
Class A misdemeanor: Fine up to $4,000 OR up to 1 year in jail OR both.

State jail felony: No more than 2 years or less than 180 days in state jail
Third-degree felony: No more than 10 years or less than 2 years in institutional division
Second-degree felony: No more than 20 years or less than 2 years in institutional division
First-degree felony: No more than 99 years or less than 5 years in institutional division

For every felony, defendant may also be fined up to $10,000

For a free initial consultation with a Houston sex crime defense attorney, call the Law Office of David A. Breston at 888-220-4040 or contact us online.