Rosenthal Kalabus & Therrian

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Collin County Sexual Assault Lawyer

In Texas, sexual assault is considered a serious felony offense. Not only do law enforcement and prosecutors vigorously investigate and prosecute instances of sexual assault, but the law in Texas imposes significant penalties for a conviction for sexual assault. A conviction for sexual assault can mean that you will face steep fines; you will also likely face considerable time in prison, potentially for the rest of your life depending on the length of your sentence. Even if you serve your sentence and are released from jail, you will continue to face serious consequences from your conviction, including the requirement to register as a sex offender along with any other restrictions imposed by the court, such as restrictions on internet usage or contact with specific individuals or classes of individuals. A conviction for sexual assault also carries a stigma that will severely curtail your employment, education, housing, and financial opportunities for years to come.

If you or a loved one have been charged with sexual assault in Collin County, it is essential that you begin working with an experienced and results-focused sexual assault criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Contact the dedicated and knowledgeable Collin County sexual assault defense attorneys at Rosenthal Kalabus & Therrian today to schedule a free consultation with our legal team to discuss your rights and options when facing sexual assault charges, and to learn more about how our firm can help you prepare an effective defense against your charges. Contact us at (972) 369-0577 or reach out to us online.

Do I Need a Sexual Assault Defense Attorney?

If you have been charged with sexual assault, it is imperative that you seek the assistance of a sexual assault criminal defense attorney. District attorney’s offices vigorously prosecute charges of sexual assault. Having a knowledgeable attorney on your side may be the key to securing a dismissal or acquittal of your charges or another favorable outcome in your case.

A sexual assault defense attorney can thoroughly investigate the facts and circumstances of your case. Some charges of sexual assault turn out to be cases of mistaken identity or fabrications. Other cases of sexual assault vigorously contest whether consent was provided and maintained throughout the sexual encounter. A sexual assault defense attorney will review the evidence in your case, such as DNA evidence, other forensic evidence, and witness statements to identify the holes in the prosecution’s case and develop the most effective and persuasive defense strategy for you.

In some cases, the evidence against you may be overwhelming. If you choose, a sexual assault defense attorney can negotiate with the prosecution to try to obtain a favorable plea agreement for you, one that hopefully minimizes or eliminates your sentencing exposure and the collateral consequences of a conviction by having your plead guilty to a lesser offense.

If you chose to go to trial, a sexual assault defense attorney would vigorously advocate on your behalf to try and obtain an acquittal on your charges. But if you are ultimately convicted, a sexual assault defense attorney can still persuasive advocate for you, identifying mitigating factors in your case that warrant less than the maximum possible sentence in your case.

Why Choose Rosenthal Kalabus & Therrian to Handle My Case?

When you are charged with sexual assault in Collin County, you have many criminal defense law firms to choose from. How do you know which firm will give you the best chance at a positive outcome in your case? The criminal defense law firm of Rosenthal Kalabus & Therrian has cultivated a reputation for success in defending clients across Collin County by providing each client with the resources and experienced representation that their cases deserve.

Rosenthal Kalabus & Therrian is the largest criminal defense law firm in Collin County. That means we can dedicate multiple attorneys to your case who will collaborate to explore every angle to develop the best and most persuasive defense strategy for you. We understand that every piece of evidence is essential, and our detailed approach means that we will find any flaws in the prosecution’s case against you.

In addition to being the largest law firm in the county, Rosenthal Kalabus & Therrian is also the only criminal defense law firm in Collin County with two Criminal Law Board Certified partners. Board certification in Texas, granted to only one percent of attorneys in the state, means that a lawyer has demonstrated that he or she has substantial, relevant competence and experience in his or her particular field of law.

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How Does Texas Law Define Sexual Assault?

The law in Texas usually distinguishes between a lawful sex act and a sexual assault by the presence of consent. If at least one of the parties in a sexual encounter does not or cannot give consent, the act becomes a sexual assault. At Rosenthal Kalabus & Therrian, we represent clients across Collin County who have been accused of sexual assault under various kinds of scenarios, including:

  • Sexual contact with an elderly or disabled individual incapable of providing consent
  • Sexual contact with a minor under the age of 17 (individuals who are within three years of age of each other are immune from prosecution for sexual assault under the “Romeo and Juliet” defense)
  • Sexual contact with an individual who affirmatively declines to give consent (including physically forcing oneself on a victim or manipulating an individual into providing “consent”)
  • Sexual contact with an individual who is intoxicated or under the influence of drugs to the extent that he or she is incapable of giving consent

It is important to remember that sexual assault occurs whenever a participant in a sex act does not provide consent. A person participating in a sexual encounter can withdraw their consent at any time during the encounter, even if they affirmatively consented at the beginning. Consent can never be assumed between parties based on their relationship status – a person can be a sexual assault victim even if he or she is married to the offender.

Steps to Take After a Sexual Assault Arrest

Being arrested for sexual assault can be a frightening experience. You may feel embarrassed about being arrested at all and not understand the reason. You may believe that the sexual act was consensual and not have any knowledge that a crime occurred, or you may not even remember it occurring as it happened months or years prior.

Regardless, here are some steps you can take to keep from incriminating yourself and protect your rights during a sexual assault arrest:

  1. Keep cool. You can’t argue or explain your way out of an arrest for sexual assault. The very fact that you’re being arrested means that enough evidence has been presented against you to issue a warrant, so take a deep breath, stay calm, and remember that you’ll have your day in court to defend yourself.
  2. Don’t resist, and don’t argue. Listen to the officers arresting you and obey their commands. They are just doing their job. They have no personal interest in you or the charges against you, so let them do what they’re here to do and follow instructions.
  3. Don’t speak. Once you’ve been notified that you’re under arrest, stop speaking. Don’t answer any questions, don’t offer any explanation, don’t try to deny the charges or speak to the arresting officers in any way until you’ve spoken to an attorney. You have a right to remain silent and not take any action that produces evidence against you.
  4. Request an attorney. The only thing you should tell the arresting officers is that you wish to speak to an attorney. You have the right to legal counsel before you answer any questions about the charges against you.
  5. Decline any searches or tests. You have the right to refuse any illegal searches or tests unless ordered by a court. Law enforcement officers may try to convince you that a DNA test will clear up your charges immediately, but that is not always the case, and it’s not in your best interests to provide any information or evidence without an attorney present.
  6. Remember or record the arrest. If possible, get your arrest on video. You have a First Amendment right to record the police exercising their duties in public regardless of whether you’re being arrested or not, and this information can be invaluable for your defense as you may be able to prove your rights were violated, or evidence was collected illegally. If you’re not able to record it, remember as many details as you can and write everything down as soon as possible.
  7. Prepare for court. After your arrest, you’ll be given information pertaining to your initial hearing or arraignment, as well as other details regarding where you’ll need to be and when. Keep track of this information and make whatever plans you must to be in court at the appointed time. Show up when you’re supposed to. If you don’t, it will only make things harder for you.
  8. Don’t try to contact the victim. You may be tempted to try and contact the victim of the alleged assault to ask for an explanation or vent your anger. This can only hurt your case. Contacting them may be construed as trying to intimidate the victim, and prosecutors will sometimes use this tactic to extract a confession or an apology on a recorded call. Do not attempt to contact the victim or their friends and family.
  9. Stay off social media. Anything you say or write can be used against you in court, so don’t post on social media about the arrest or alleged assault.
  10.  Keep it confidential. You and your attorney share attorney-client privilege, and that keeps any conversations between you protected by law. This protection doesn’t extend much further. Conversations with your spouse are protected under most circumstances, but any conversations with friends or family are not, and they can be called to testify against you in court.
  11.  Follow your lawyer’s advice. Your attorney is your advocate, and we are there to help. We will review the circumstances and charges and give you the best legal counsel we can, but sometimes that advice will not be what you want to hear. If the evidence against you is solid and irrefutable, sometimes the best course of action is to plead guilty and try to get a plea deal from a prosecutor even though you’re confident that a crime hasn’t been committed. Trust that we know what we’re doing and will present the most favorable options to you, even if they aren’t the ones you like.

It’s also important to note that sexual assault cases can be contentious. You won’t have been arrested for criminal sexual assault unless considerable evidence against you has already been obtained and a warrant issued. Law enforcement will do everything in their power to extract a confession or admission of guilt from you, and that includes lying to you. They are not required to tell the truth during an interrogation. They may try to convince you that the evidence against you is overwhelming and that confessing to the crime is the best option. Stay calm and silent, let your attorney do the talking, and don’t incriminate yourself any further.

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Possible Defenses for a Sexual Assault Arrest

There are many possible defenses to a sexual assault charge in Texas, such as:

  1. Innocence. This is the most basic defense and can usually be supported by an airtight alibi. If your defense attorney can prove you were elsewhere at the time of the assault, you can’t have committed the crime.
  2. Mistaken identity. In many sexual assault cases, the victim may have been unconscious or unable to positively identify you as the perpetrator. If your defense attorney can show that no one witnessed the assault, that other people were present, and that the alleged victim is unreliable as a witness, that may be a successful defense.
  3. False accusation. If your defense attorney can prove that the alleged assault victim has a personal vendetta against you and that their testimony is unreliable, you may be able to argue that the charges against you are simply false.
  4. Consensual. The lynchpin of sexual assault laws in Texas is consent. If you can somehow prove the sexual act was consensual, the prosecution has no standing for the charges against you.
  5. Insanity. This is a rarely used tactic in sexual assault defense. If you can argue that the crime was committed but your mental state at the time of the assault was not stable, you may be able to reduce the usual penalties for assault.

Frequently Asked Questions about Sexual Assault Defense

If I am convicted of sexual assault, what kind of penalties will I face?

Under Texas criminal law, sexual assault is considered a second-degree felony. A person who is convicted of sexual assault faces the potential of a prison sentence between two and 20 years and/or a fine of up to $10,000. If the victim is someone who was prohibited by law from marrying or living under the appearance of being married to the offender (i.e., a minor, or a close relation), sexual assault is classified as a first-degree felony, for which a convicted offender can face up to 99 years in prison. Aggravated sexual assault, which is any sexual assault involving drugging, the use or threat of a weapon or bodily harm, a victim under the age of 14, or the involvement of multiple offenders, is also classified as a first-degree felony.

In addition to potential prison time and fines, a person convicted of sexual assault also faces the prospect of registering as a sex offender once they are released from prison.

What if I was under the impression that the sexual encounter was consensual?

Remember that the law divides a lawful sex act from sexual assault by the presence of consent. Even if you were under the impression that a sexual encounter was consensual, a complainant might allege that they withdrew their consent during the encounter, or that they were physically or emotionally forced, intimidated, or manipulated into consenting to the contact. In those circumstances, the prosecution will argue that there was no valid consent to the encounter. However, you will still be entitled to submit and present evidence in support of your contention that the underlying sexual encounter was consensual.

 

What happens if the complaining witness no longer wishes to prosecute or cooperate with the district attorney’s office?

If a complaining witness no longer wishes to prosecute or participate in the prosecution of sexual assault charges, they may choose to file an affidavit of non-prosecution with the district attorney’s office to let the prosecution know they affirmatively no longer wish to support the prosecution. However, the decision to withdraw charges remains with the district attorney’s office, so a complaining witness’s filing of an affidavit of non-prosecution does not automatically dismiss your charges. The prosecutor may decide that he or she has sufficient evidence, even without the complaining witness’s testimony, to convict you of sexual assault.

The Collin County Criminal Defense Attorneys of Rosenthal Kalabus & Therrian Will Fight for You

If you or a loved one have been charged with sexual assault in Collin County, you must act quickly to preserve your rights and your freedom. Sexual assault is a serious criminal charge and is vigorously prosecuted by district attorneys. If you are convicted of sexual assault, you face the potential of stiff fines, decades in prison, and collateral consequences of a conviction including sex offender registration requirements that can limit your employment, educational, and housing opportunities. If you’ve been charged with sexual assault in Collin County, contact the experienced sexual assault criminal defense attorneys of Rosenthal Kalabus & Therrian today to discuss your rights and options and to learn more about how our firm will help you to fight against your charges.