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Dallas child abuse defense attorney

For many parents, the way they raise their children is substantially different than the way that they were raised. Parents may assume that leaving their children in the car while they are shopping or otherwise engaged is not unsafe simply because they remember waiting in the car alone when they were a child. However, states are increasingly enacting legislation designed to prevent parents from leaving children unsupervised in vehicles. In 2019, 52 children passed away after being left in hot cars. In order to prevent these tragic deaths, Texas has made it illegal to leave children alone in vehicles under certain circumstances.

Leaving a Child in a Car May Be Considered a Criminal Offense

Texas is known for its extremely hot summers. Hot and humid weather makes the risk of a child developing heatstroke or dying in a hot car especially high. Many parents who leave their children in the car only intend to be gone for a few minutes, however, it only takes 10 minutes for an average car to heat up by 19 degrees. The Texas Department of State Health Services urges parents to teach children not to play inside of cars and to never leave a young child in a car unsupervised. 

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Tarrant County child abuse defense attorney

The way that parents raise their children is evolving with each new generation. One issue that has become especially controversial in recent years is corporal punishment or using physical force such as spanking as a form of discipline. Whatever your personal opinions are regarding corporal punishment, it is important to understand how Texas law differentiates between punishment and abuse. Individuals who physically punish children in a way that crosses the line into abuse can face criminal charges for domestic assault, injury to a child, and other crimes against children.   

Definition of Family Violence According to the Texas Family Code

Texas law defines “family violence” as actions that are intended to result in bodily injury, physical harm, or assault. Abuse is defined in the Texas Family Code as:

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Dallas sex crimes defense attorney

School personnel often spend large amounts of time with students, and they may form special connections with certain individuals. However, teachers, coaches, guidance counselors, and other school staff have a legal responsibility to maintain proper boundaries with students. When a teacher-student relationship involves sexual contact, this constitutes a criminal offense in Texas. Although they are against the law, romantic or sexual student-teacher relationships do exist in Texas and throughout the United States. If you or someone you know has been accused of sexual contact with a student, it is crucial to consult a criminal defense attorney to obtain the legal guidance you need.

Texas Law Regarding Teacher-Student Relationships

According to the Texas Penal Code, it is illegal for any primary school or secondary school educator to engage in sexual activity with a student. This includes teachers as well as substitute teachers, teachers’ aides, librarians, principals, administrative staff, counselors, and other employees of public or private schools. It is important to note that although the age of consent is 17 in Texas, it is still unlawful for an educator to have sexual contact with a student who is older than 17. In addition, online solicitation of a student by an educator is classified as an unlawful student-teacher relationship.

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Fort Worth child abuse and neglect defense attorney

Many parents who are contacted by the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) are shocked when they realize that they are being investigated for potential child abuse or neglect. While many child protective investigations are the result of justified concerns regarding children’s safety, some investigations are the result of a misunderstanding or misinterpretation. If you are currently facing accusations of child neglect, child abuse, or domestic violence, it is possible that you will be investigated by the DFPS. Therefore, it is important to understand how Texas law handles these types of accusations of crimes against children

Allegations of Child Abuse or Neglect

According to Texas law, anyone who reasonably believes that a child has been neglected or abused must report the possible mistreatment to law enforcement or the DFPS. The DFPS is required by law to investigate these reports and make a determination about the validity of the accusations.

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Plano, Texas criminal defense attorney online solicitation of a minor

When it comes to criminal offenses, few are judged as harshly as crimes against children. Being accused of a crime against a child–especially a sex crime against a child–can have life-altering consequences. Many crimes against children do not require the alleged offender to actually make physical contact with the child. Depending on what was said, a conversation alone may be enough to bring about criminal charges. Communicating online with a person under age 17 about sexual conduct can lead to felony charges for online solicitation of a minor and potentially years behind bars. If you or someone you know has been charged with online solicitation of a minor, speak with a skilled criminal defense lawyer right away to learn about your defense options.

Defining Online Solicitation of a Child

According to the Texas Penal Code, an adult commits solicitation of a child if he or she intentionally uses email, text messaging, or any other electronic device or service to do either of the following:

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Dallas prostitution defense attorney

Exchanging money or property for sexual contact is against the law in the majority of the United States, including Texas. Being charged with a prostitution-related crime can result in serious criminal consequences as well as devastating damage to the accused person’s career and reputation. This is especially true if the alleged crime involved a person younger than 18 years old. Read on to learn about prostitution-related crimes in Texas and what you should do if you or your loved one has been accused of this serious criminal offense.

Prostitution According to Texas Law

According to the Texas Penal Code, a person can be charged with prostitution if he or she:

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Dallas sex crimes defense attorney

Crimes against children, such as possession of child pornography, sexual assault of a childinjury to a child, solicitation of a minor, and child trafficking, are some of the most harshly punished criminal offenses in Texas and across the country. Although many criminal charges involving alleged child-related crimes do not result in convictions, some people assume that just because a person was charged, he or she actually committed the offense. However, it is essential that individuals charged with crimes against children remember that they have the same rights as any other criminal defendant. In many cases, understanding and implementing these rights can make the difference between a conviction and an acquittal.

You Have the Right to Remain Silent 

Most people have probably heard the phrase “you have the right to remain silent” numerous times, but many do not understand the true significance of this right. The Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution gives citizens the right to avoid “self-incrimination.” The term self-incrimination refers to a person being forced to testify against himself or herself. This means that you have the right to decline police questioning and remain silent until you have a chance to speak to a lawyer. Law enforcement personnel are specially trained in tactics that provoke criminal defendants to talk without their lawyers present. Police may even imply that only a guilty person would refuse to answer questions. Do not give in to these strategies. Calmly state that you are invoking your right to remain silent and will do so until you speak to a lawyer.

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Fort Worth child pornography defense attorney

There is no doubt about the tremendous influence smartphones have on our everyday lives. The use of text messaging has especially skyrocketed in recent decades. Research shows that over 15 million texts are sent every minute, and this number is expected to continue to increase. The use of text messages to send sexually explicit photographs and messages has been nicknamed “sexting.” Although it may seem harmless, sexting can sometimes lead to child pornography charges and other criminal charges. If you have been accused of creating, distributing, or possessing child pornography, speak to a Texas criminal defense attorney right away so you can start building a solid defense strategy.

Sexually Explicit Photos Between Minors May Be Illegal in Some Situations

Although many parents may not realize it, teenagers commonly send nude photographs of themselves to their peers. They may assume that these images do not constitute child pornography because the images are not being sent to an adult. However, under Texas law, it is illegal for anyone, including minors, to transmit any images or videos depicting a minor engaged in sexual conduct. In some cases, sexting between minors can be considered a class A misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of up to $4,000 and up to one year in jail. The law does provide defenses for those who receive unsolicited photos and for minors who are in a dating relationship, who are within two years of age of each other, and who share the images privately.

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Fort Worth sex crimes attorney

Although any type of criminal charge is a grave matter, being charged with a crime against a child can be especially devastating. Many people are quick to assume that just because a person has been charged with a child-related crime, he or she must be guilty of the offense. This is especially true of sex crimes against children. It is important to understand how Texas law defines indecency with a child when considering how to build a strong defense against these serious allegations. 

Texas Law Regarding Indecency With a Child

There are two reasons a person may be charged with indecency with a child in Texas. The first is if they are accused of engaging in non-penetrative sexual contact with someone under 17 years of age. A person may be convicted of indecency with a child if it can be proved beyond a reasonable doubt that they touched the genitals, breast, or anus of the child, either above or under the child’s clothing, and this contact was intended to arouse or gratify their sexual desires. It is also against the law for a person to touch a child with their own genitals, breast, or anus.

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Tarrant County child abuse defense attorney

The terms “domestic violence” and “abuse” are used so often, it can be hard to know exactly what they mean. For example, is spanking your child after he or she misbehaves considered child abuse? What about forcefully grabbing your child’s arm when he or she is about to run into a busy street? Can non-physical actions like shouting at a child result in domestic violence charges? Being convicted of a crime against a child can result in life-changing consequences. You may lose the right to spend time with your child or may only get to see him or her under close supervision. You may even face years in prison. If you or a loved one has been accused of child abuse, child sexual abuse, injury to a child, domestic violence, or a similar crime, speak to a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible so you can start building a strong defense against these charges.

Definition of “Abuse” Under Texas Law

According to the Texas Family Code, abuse of a child includes:

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Forth Worth crimes against children attorney

Criminal consequences for crimes against children in Texas can be life-changing. If you are convicted of child pornography, sexual assault of a child, kidnapping and abduction, or a similar offense, you could face years behind bars and a lifetime of stigma. You may also be required to register as a sex offender and appear on the public sex offender registry. Even false allegations of any criminal act can dramatically damage your reputation. If you have been accused of a crime against a child, there are several steps that you should immediately take in order to give you the best possible chances of avoiding a conviction.

Do Not Say Anything to Police Until Your Lawyer Is Present

You have probably heard the phrase, “You have the right to remain silent” in the past, but you may be unsure as to what this actually means. In the United States, anyone who has been placed under arrest has the right to remain silent and not respond to police questioning. Never allow police to interrogate you without your lawyer present. An experienced criminal defense attorney will ensure that your rights are not violated and that you do not inadvertently say something that could incriminate you.

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Dallas sexual assault defense attorney statutory rape

The age of consent is 17 in Texas. This means that, according to Texas law, individuals under 17 years of age are incapable of consenting to sex or sexual contact with an adult. The crime commonly referred to as “statutory rape” falls under the law prohibiting the sexual assault of a child in Texas. If you have been accused of sexual assault against someone under age 17, you could face serious, life-altering criminal consequences. It is essential to consult with a criminal defense attorney experienced in handling cases involving crimes against children as soon as possible.

What if the Sex Was “Consensual?”

Most people know that forcing someone to have sex against his or her will is wrong both ethically and legally. However, you may not realize that you can be charged with sexual assault against a child even if you did not force the alleged victim to participate in the sexual act. Because the age of consent is 17 in Texas, it is against the law for an adult to have sex with someone aged 16 years or younger, even if the underaged person did not object to the sexual activity. This is true even if the defendant did not know that the alleged victim was under age 17.

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Fort Worth child pornography defense attorney

While all criminal charges have the potential to be life-changing, being accused of a crime against a child can be especially disastrous. If you have been charged with an offense related to child pornography in Texas, you should not take these charges lightly. If convicted, you could face incarceration, substantial fines, plus a lifetime of stigma. A qualified criminal defense lawyer with experience fighting child pornography charges can help you understand your legal options if you have been accused of possessing, creating, or distributing child pornography.

Possession of Child Pornography 

Title 9 of the Texas Penal Code addresses crimes related to child pornography. In Texas, it is against the law to produce, distribute, or possess media depicting a person under age 18 engaging in sexual conduct. This can include still photographs, videos, and other materials. Sexual conduct is defined in the law as actual or simulated intercourse, masturbation, deviate sexual intercourse, sexual bestiality, lewd exhibition of the genitals, anus, or female breast, and sadomasochistic abuse. If you are convicted of viewing or possessing child pornography, you face a third-degree felony punishable by 2 to 10 years of incarceration and a fine up to $10,000. If you have previously been convicted of possessing child pornography, the offense is a second-degree felony punishable by up to 20 years in prison. A third or subsequent child pornography conviction carries penalties including up to 99 years of imprisonment.

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Dallas kidnapping and abduction defense attorney

Being charged with a criminal offense related to kidnapping, child abducting, unlawful restraint, or smuggling of persons should never be taken lightly. The criminal penalties for these crimes vary depending on the circumstances, but some can result in a lifetime of incarceration. False allegations about holding a child against his or her will can stem from a malicious ex-spouse or other individual, or they may simply be the result of a misunderstanding. If you have been falsely accused of kidnapping or abduction, you need to speak with a criminal defense attorney immediately to learn how best to defend against these serious accusations.

Texas Laws Regarding Kidnapping and Aggravated Kidnapping

Texas statutes state that an individual commits the crime of kidnapping if he or she knowingly abducts another individual. “Abduct” is defined as restraining another person with the intent to prevent his or her freedom by either holding him or her somewhere that he or she cannot be found or through the threat or use of deadly force.

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Tarrant County child endangerment defense attorney

When it comes to children, the terms “neglect” and “abandonment” are often used together; however, these are two separate legal issues. Child neglect is a term used in the Texas Family Code to describe a situation in which a child is left unattended in an unsafe environment. Abandoning a child is defined in Texas Penal Code as not providing “reasonable and necessary care for the child” and leaving the child in a situation that most reasonable adults would not allow. If you have been charged with child abandonment in Texas, the penalties can be severe. Speaking with a criminal defense attorney experienced in handling crimes against children can help clear your name and avoid a criminal record.

Being Accused of Child Neglect

According to Texas law, parents are responsible for providing children with necessities like food, clothing, shelter, medical care, and appropriate supervision. The Texas Family Code identifies several acts that are considered neglect. These include but are not limited to:

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Fort Worth solicitation of a child defense attorney

The Internet has revolutionized the way that we communicate with each other. However, there are several ways that online discussions or digital communication can be a criminal offense. An individual can be charged with online solicitation of a minor if he or she uses the Internet to send sexually explicit messages or media to a child under 17 years old or to a person who the actor believes to be under 17 years old. A conviction for online solicitation has the potential to impact the rest of your life. If you or someone you know has been charged with solicitation of a child or any crime against children, you need to speak with a criminal defense attorney right away.

What Constitutes Solicitation of a Child in Texas?

According to the Texas Penal Code, a person over the age of 17 commits online solicitation of a child if he or she communicates with a child under 17 years old via email, the Internet, or text messages with the intention of committing one of the following crimes: trafficking of persons, indecency with a child, continuous sexual abuse of a child, sexual assault, prohibited sexual conduct, compelling prostitution, aggravated promotion of prostitution, possession or promotion of child pornography, or sexual performance by a child. An adult can also be charged with online solicitation of a child if he or she uses email, text messages, or a commercial service to intentionally solicit a minor to meet another individual, including himself or herself, for the purposes of sexual contact.

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Tarrant County child trafficking defense attorney

Human trafficking is the term used to describe the process through which individuals are transported for the purposes of forced labor and other exploitation. Children are often the victims of trafficking in Texas and throughout the United States. Nearly a quarter of the approximately 300,000 American children forced into sex trafficking every year live in Texas. Children involved in child trafficking may be tricked or forced into working in sweatshops, restaurants, brothels, escort operations, or worse. In some cases, children are forced into acting as child soldiers or domestic servants in other countries. Texas law carries stiff penalties for all human trafficking activities, but there are especially harsh criminal consequences for child trafficking. If you are charged with child trafficking in Texas, you could face years or even life in prison.

Defining Child Trafficking According to Texas Law

Texas statutes state that an individual commits trafficking of persons if he or she knowingly:

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Collin County crimes against children defense attorney

There is a significant amount of controversy surrounding corporal punishment in the United States. Some parents feel that spanking their children is an effective form of discipline, while others avoid any form of physical punishment. Data shows that the percentage of parents using corporal punishment is slowly declining. According to a study published in the Journal of Child and Family Studies, approximately 37 percent of children under 18 were spanked by a parent or guardian in 2014. It is important for any parent choosing to employ corporal punishment to understand when spanking or other physical punishments may break the law and be considered crimes against children.

Understanding Texas Law Regarding Bodily Injury to a Child

It can be hard to know exactly when the physical punishment of a child crosses the line into abuse. According to Texas law, hitting a child could constitute “assault bodily injury family violence” or “injury to a child” depending on the circumstances. The Texas Penal Code states that an individual commits injury to a child if he or she intentionally or recklessly causes bodily or mental injury to a child under 15 years of age. Assault with a bodily injury of a family member occurs when a person knowingly, intentionally, or recklessly causes pain, injury, illness, or impairment to a family member. Striking a child does fit these definitions; however, it is very unlikely that a parent or guardian would be convicted of these crimes for spanking alone.

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Dallas child exploitation defense attorney

Texas law prohibits certain activities from being committed against people who do not have the capacity to protect themselves or adequately look out for their own best interests. These individuals can include the elderly, disabled, and those under a certain age. The crime “Exploitation of Child, Elderly Individual, or Disabled Individual” is a serious offense under Texas law. If you are convicted of child exploitation, you may face years of incarceration and have your personal and professional reputation destroyed. It is crucial for anyone facing criminal charges related to child exploitation to speak with a criminal defense attorney experienced in defending against these types of serious allegations.

Defining Exploitation With Regard to Texas Law

Section 32 of the Texas Penal Code describes Exploitation of Child, Elderly Individual, or Disabled Individual and the criminal penalties associated with a conviction. An individual commits this crime if he or she knowingly or recklessly causes the exploitation of a disabled person, elderly individual, or child under age 14. Exploitation can include any activity which involves the improper or illegal use of a child, elderly person, or disabled person for personal or financial gain. Child exploitation can include coercing a child into sexual activities, forcing them to perform cheap labor, involving a child in drug running or sex trafficking, and more.  

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Plano injury to a child defense attorney

Crimes against children involve more negative stigma than perhaps any other criminal offense. If a person is convicted of a crime related to child abuse or sexual contact with a child, he or she could face years or even decades of personal and criminal consequences. The criminal offense “Injury to a Child” includes a wide range of actions against children or other vulnerable individuals. Section 22.04 of the Texas Penal Code describes the crime of Injury to a Child. If you are convicted of violating this statute, you could face heavy fines, years of incarceration, and significant damage to your reputation.

Understanding Texas Law Regarding Injury to a Child, Elderly Individual, or Disabled Individual

Texas law includes many different offenses under the umbrella of “Injury to a Child, Elderly Individual, or Disabled Individual.” You can be convicted of this offense if you knowingly, intentionally, recklessly, or by omission cause injury to a child, disabled person, or elderly person. “Injury” can include bodily injury as well as mental injury, deficiency, or impairment. You can also be charged with this crime if you owe a duty of care to the person in question, and your failure to act causes him or her to suffer an injury.

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