Dallas Child Molestation Lawyer
Charges involving the molestation of a child are exceedingly serious, and you will need to do everything that you possibly can to protect yourself now that legal action has been taken against you. With so much at stake for you right now, you should retain legal counsel as early on in the process as you are able. Once you have legal counsel, your attorney will be able to act as your representative throughout the legal process.
If you have been accused of assault or molestation, the Law Offices of Mark T. Lassiter can help you. Managing partner, Mark T. Lassiter has built a reputation as a fierce defender of those who are accused of crimes in Dallas, and he and his team are prepared to help you fight the charges you face. A former prosecutor for the Dallas County District Attorney’s office, Mark Lassiter has insider knowledge on how the prosecution will try to build their case against you. He has the knowledge, experience, and skills to fight on your behalf to get the charges against you reduced or dropped completely. Don’t trust your case to an inexperienced or apathetic lawyer who doesn’t know how to beat the prosecution at their own game like we do.
If you are facing a charge like molestation or assault, you may notice that everyone seems to automatically believe you are guilty. We don’t. We are here to stand by your side during this difficult time and will do everything in our power to get you out of this situation you are facing. We have a great track record of proving our clients innocent to the jury, to the court, and to society.
At the Law Offices of Mark T. Lassiter, our Dallas child molestation defense attorneys understand exactly what will be at stake for you throughout each and every step of the coming battle; we may be able to defend your rights and develop a legal strategy that that is intended to protect your future from the consequences of a conviction.
Do I Need An Attorney?
There is no doubt that a molestation charge is a serious accusation, and a conviction can cause irreparable harm to your future. You may also be worried how this charge could affect your job or how others treat you, even if there is not a conviction. These are legitimate and reasonable questions. Yet, ‘the court of public opinion’ is not so reasonable – or forgiving. After receiving a criminal molestation charge, it is critical that you contact an experienced criminal defense attorney to help you.
The Texas legal system can be intimidating, and you may be subjected to numerous penalties and charges that may be impossible to defend on your own. You are not alone, and the team at Law Offices of Mark T. Lassiter are ready to stand up for you. Don’t wait any longer to start mounting a strong defense against these charges. Contact Law Offices of Mark T. Lassiter at (214) 845-7007 today.
Why Choose Law Offices of Mark T. Lassiter?
If you are facing a serious criminal charge like molestation, do you want to leave your case in the hands of just anyone? Probably not. You cannot afford to take a chance with the charges you are facing. An inexperienced lawyer may not know how to properly handle your case, and may be bullied by the prosecution into accepting a deal that will not be the best for you. If you do want to put your case in the hands of capable criminal defense attorneys that know how to protect your future, then the Law Offices of Mark T. Lassiter can provide the dedication and experience that is required to effectively resolve your case. We are, hands down, the most aggressive criminal defense attorneys that you will find in the Dallas area.
Mark T. Lassiter, J.D. is a tough criminal defense attorney, and he knows what it takes to win a trial. He has the skill and tenacity to fight for the results that you need. A former Dallas county prosecutor, Mr. Lassiter takes each case very seriously and doesn’t back down in the face of adversity. He was elected as a Texas Super Lawyer and is recognized as one of the top 100 Trial Lawyers in the U.S. The Dallas criminal legal team is fully qualified to handle even the toughest of cases.
If you decide that you don’t need any legal representation, or you choose another attorney that is not fully committed to your case, you may be choosing to accept a conviction. If this happens, it can bring extreme legal consequences, and those convicted also will be required to have their names listed in a national sex offender registry. If you are listed in that registry, this type of punishment can affect job prospects, personal relationships, and even where a person can live for years to come. At the Law Offices of Mark T. Lassiter, we know the stress that anyone in Dallas who is facing a sex crime charge is going through. However, with the help of our thorough and knowledgeable legal team, you may be able to have your charges reduced or even dismissed altogether and avoid other potential negative life-altering consequences. Do not hesitate to contact us at (214) 845-7007 for a confidential consultation.
Cases We Handle
In the United States, the ‘age of consent’ is the minimum age at which an individual is considered legally old enough to consent to participation in sexual activity. Individuals aged 16 or younger in Texas are not legally able to consent to sexual activity. Molestation in Texas is sexual involvement with a child or young adult under 17 years of age, and it includes child sexual assault, rape/aggravated sexual assault, and statutory rape. Below are the specific molestation charges and the associated Texas Penal Codes:
- Child Sexual Assault: In Texas, any individual who has been arrested for sexual assault against a child will typically face one of two charges: Texas Penal Code 21.02 (2012) or Texas Penal Code 21.11 (2012). The first one, Texas Penal Code 21.02 (2012) is the charge of “continuous sexual abuse of young child or children” and applies to individuals over the age of 17 who have been convicted of more than one instance of sexual abuse against a child or children under the age of 14. The continuous sexual abuse of a young child or children is a 1st degree felony and carries a potential penalty of 5 to 99 years in prison if convicted. The second one, Texas Penal Code 21.11 (2012), is the more common charge issued in instances of child sexual assault and is referred to as “indecency with a child”. In this case, individuals could face charges if they engaged in sexual contact with a child under the age of 17 or forced someone under the age of 17 to engage in sexual contact. Indecency with a child can be charged as a 2nd or 3rd degree felony, both of which carry a minimum prison sentence of two years.
- Rape and Aggravated Sexual Assault: Additionally, a charge of ‘rape/aggravated sexual assault’ can apply when sex crimes occur that involve children younger than 14 years of age, and this includes the use of drugs to remove a victim’s ability to consent to sexual activity. The aggravated sexual assault charge is a 1st degree felony in Texas and is punishable by 5 to 99 years in prison and as much as $10,000 in fines.
- Statutory Rape: In Texas, statutory rape is the charge issued against individuals that are accused or engaging in sexual activity with an individual under the age of 17, if that individual is more than three years older than the minor in question. This type of rape is considered a 1st degree felony if the minor is under the age of 14, and a 2nd degree felony if the minor is under the age of 17. The 1st degree felony charge carries a potential prison sentence of 5 to 99 years, while the 2nd degree felony charge can result in 2 to 20 years in prison.
At the Law Offices of Mark T. Lassiter, our aggressive Dallas firm is prepared to defend you against a criminal molestation charge or any other type of charge, and we have the resources and the knowledge of Texas law to be able to strongly defend you.
Consequences of a Child Molestation Conviction
Under almost every set of circumstances, these charges are felonies that will carry the potential to affect just about every aspect of both your personal and professional lives. Bearing that in mind, you need legal representation capable of defending you from the following consequences that may be possible with a conviction in Dallas:
- Mandatory minimum prison sentence
- Lifetime registration as a sex offender
- Significant court-ordered fines
Though charges of molestation of a child are serious, you need to remember that you will still have the opportunity to work with a Dallas attorney as you fight to protect yourself and your future.
Child Molestation in Texas
The Texas Penal Code 21.02 (2012) or Texas Penal Code 21.11 (2012) both apply to child molestation.
Section 21.02. is named as ‘Continuous Sexual Abuse of Young Child or Children’. According to this penal code, a person commits an offense if “1) during the period that is 30 or more days in duration, the person commits two or more acts of sexual abuse, regardless of whether the acts of sexual abuse are committed against one or more victims; and 2) at the time of the commission of each of the acts of sexual abuse, the actor is 17 years or age or older and the victim is a child younger than 14 years of age.” (see complete penal code section being sent)
Section 21.11 is named ‘Indecency With a Child’. According to this penal code, a person commits an offense if, “with a child younger than 17 years of age, whether the child is of the same or opposite sex, the person: 1) engages in sexual contact with the child or causes the child to engage in sexual contact; or 2) with intent to arouse or gratify the sexual desire of any person.” (see complete penal code section being sent)
“An offense under this section is a felony of the second degree, except that an offense under this section is a felony of the first degree if the victim was a person whom the actor was prohibited from marrying or purporting to marry or with whom the actor was prohibited from living under the appearance of being married under Section 25.01.”
Frequently Asked Questions
If you have charged with sexual molestation, you need criminal defense attorney who will handle your case and answer the questions you have about the process and what may happen to you. Our Dallas legal team at Law Offices of Mark T. Lassiter has compiled a list of some of the questions that you may have regarding your criminal charges., along with their answers. If you would like to discuss these or other questions, please contact us at (214) 845-7007, and our knowledgeable legal team will be able to assist you.
Are police officers under any obligation to inform me as to why I am being arrested?
Police officers are under no obligation to inform you of the reason that you are being placed under arrest. Typically, police officers are more than likely to give you some general idea as to why you are being taken into custody. However, it is required by law that you be brought before a judge, who will then inform you of the charges being pursued against you within 72 hours of your arrest. Under no circumstances should you agree to be questioned without the presence of your attorney, especially if the charges have not yet been clearly expressed to you. It is advisable to exercise your right to remain silent.
If the course of the general criminal process, what should I expect?
Before you can be formally indicted, there needs to be a police investigation that you may or may not be aware of. Once authorities feel that they have sufficient cause to do so, they will arrest you and interrogate you. It is highly advisable that you only speak to law enforcement in the presence of your lawyer – at any stage of your criminal proceedings. During a pretrial hearing, you will likely be offered a plea bargain, provided the charges are not dropped. Should you and your lawyer choose to pursue a trial, a decision about your conviction will be made by either the jury or the judge. Once a decision has been reached, punishment will then be determined for individuals convicted of their alleged crime.
If I am arrested, what are my rights?
Once you have been arrested by law enforcement, your rights are clearly outlined in the Miranda Rights. You have the right to remain silent, a right that you should probably exercise until you have proper legal representation. While police may ask you questions following your arrest, you are under no legal obligation to answer the questions, with or without an attorney. If you cannot afford your own private criminal defense attorney, you will be appointed a criminal defense lawyer by the court. Only after you have secured legal representation, public or private, should you begin answering any questions that you are asked by law enforcement.
Consult with a Child Molestation Attorney in Dallas
If you have been accused of committing molestation against a child, you should speak with a Dallas molestation lawyer at the Law Offices of Mark T. Lassiter about what actions you will need to take to defend your rights and protect your future throughout the coming legal process. To speak with a Dallas defense attorney about the particulars of the charges that have been brought against you, please call our Dallas offices at (214) 845-7007 today.