Depending on the type of acts involved, whether or not there was a victim or victims, the age of the alleged victim and the age of the perpetrator, a sex crime may be treated as a misdemeanor or a felony under Texas law. For example, indecent exposure is classified as a Class B misdemeanor while public lewdness is considered to be a Class A misdemeanor offense.
Misdemeanor charges may be enhanced if you receive multiple convictions for the same offense. For example, if you’re arrested for prostitution and you have no prior criminal record, you will likely be charged with a Class B misdemeanor. However, if you have prior convictions for prostitution, you may be charged with a Class A misdemeanor of a state jail felony for repeat offenses.
Certain types of sex crimes are automatically classified as felonies. These include:
- Child sexual abuse
- Indecency with a child
- Compelling prostitution
- Improper photography or video recording for sexual purposes
- Improper relationship between teacher and student
- Possession or distribution of child pornography
- Sexual Assault
- Aggravated sexual assault
Similar to misdemeanors, felony charges may also be enhanced depending on the type of act involved and the age of the victim. For example, exposing oneself to a child is considered a third degree felony while engaging in sexual contact with a child is classified as a second degree felony. Sexual assault is categorized as a second degree felony but in cases involving serious bodily injury to the victim, use of a deadly weapon, an elderly victim or a victim under age 14, the charge is elevated to aggravated sexual assault and becomes a first degree felony.