Texas Penal Code 22.012 – Indecent Assault
WHAT IS INDECENT ASSAULT IN TEXAS?
The Texas law against indecent assault prohibits inappropriately touching another’s intimate areas, attempting to expose another’s intimate areas, or contacting another with a person’s bodily fluids, with the “intent to arouse or gratify the sexual desire of any person.”
WHAT IS THE INDECENT ASSAULT LAW IN TEXAS?
Tex. Penal Code § 22.012. INDECENT ASSAULT.
(a) A person commits an offense if, without the other person’s consent and with the intent to arouse or gratify the sexual desire of any person, the person:
(1) touches the anus, breast, or any part of the genitals of another person;
(2) touches another person with the anus, breast, or any part of the genitals of any person;
(3) exposes or attempts to expose another person’s genitals, pubic area, anus, buttocks, or female areola; or
(4) causes another person to contact the blood, seminal fluid, vaginal fluid, saliva, urine, or feces of any person.
(b) An offense under this section is a Class A misdemeanor.
(c) If conduct that constitutes an offense under this section also constitutes an offense under another law, the actor may be prosecuted under this section, the other law, or both.
WHAT IS THE PENALTY CLASS FOR INDECENT ASSAULT IN TEXAS?
Indecent assault is a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in county jail.
WHAT IS THE PUNISHMENT RANGE FOR INDECENT ASSAULT IN TEXAS?
The punishment range for a Class A misdemeanor indecent assault is a maximum fine of $4,000, and up to one year in jail.
WHAT ARE THE PENALTIES FOR INDECENT ASSAULT IN TEXAS?
A person charged with indecent assault may be eligible for probation after a conviction, or deferred adjudication without a conviction, for a period not to exceed two years.
WHAT ARE THE DEFENSES TO INDECENT ASSAULT IN TEXAS?
The statute does not authorize specific defenses to indecent assault. A person accused thereof may assert any defense in an attempt to negate at least one of the elements the State must prove at trial. For example, the accused may assert he or she lacked the intent to arouse or gratify the sexual desire of any person.
- What is the intent to arouse or gratify the sexual desire of any person?To convict a person of indecent assault in Texas, the State must show the accused contacted the victim with the “intent to arouse or gratify the sexual desire of any person,” including himself. This may be proved by evidence of the accused’s behavior, and the surrounding circumstances.
In Gatlin v. State, for example, the defendant was convicted of indecent exposure. He sat down next to a woman at a bus station, mumbled something, then went to the restroom. When he came out, he was touching his genitals in a circular motion. He then called out to the victim, and when she turned to look at him, he had his penis exposed, and was “making it go up and down.” The appellate court found the evidence sufficient to show he exposed himself with the intent to arouse or gratify his own sexual desire, or that of any other person.
WHAT IS THE STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS FOR INDECENT ASSAULT IN TEXAS?
The limitation period for indecent assault, a Class A misdemeanor, is two years.
INDECENT ASSAULT IN TEXAS
The Texas Legislature created the law prohibiting indecent assault in 2019. Previously, offensive contact was only punishable as a Class C misdemeanor assault. Now, groping or attempting to grope another is a Class A misdemeanor in Texas.
TEXAS INDECENT ASSAULT COURT CASES
The case law regarding indecent assault in Texas illustrates the statute’s application.
- In Pineda v. State, the defendant committed indecent assault while on deferred adjudication for indecency with a child, which was subsequently revoked. At his adjudication hearing, the victim testified the defendant hired him to do yard work. The defendant hugged him and kissed his cheek, then patted his buttocks. He then grabbed the victim’s genitals and offered him an additional $80 to “get his feel on.” The appellate court affirmed, finding sufficient evidence to support the trial court’s finding the defendant committed indecent assault.
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DRIVING WHILE INTOXICATED .15
Driving facts involved failing to maintain a single lane and speeding. Client refused breath test and forced law enforcement to obtain search warrant for blood. Blood test result was not used after challenge from Defense, and State waived and abandoned charge.
DRIVING UNDER THE INFLUENCE
Client was a college student, worried about the collateral consequences of an alcohol offense. After negotiation and review of the traffic stop, the case was dismissed. Client received no criminal conviction. The charge was later expunged and deleted from client’s record.
DRIVING WHILE INTOXICATED .15+
Client was involved in minor accident. Client was at fault in accident. A young executive, client was concerned that a criminal conviction for DWI would result in termination. After review of the traffic stop, it was clear the officer lacked probable cause for arrest. State eventually dismissed DWI charge. Client received no criminal conviction.
Client, a military veteran, was facing up to one year in jail. State could not prove intoxication by alcohol, and was prepared to proceed on loss of use by marijuana. After challenging the State to prove that marijuana was ingested at or near time of driving, and that marijuana impaired client’s driving, the State dismissed the case on the day of trial.
DRIVING UNDER THE INFLUENCE
Driving facts involved a false claim by police that taillight was out. After challenging the reasonable suspicion for the traffic stop, the State was forced to dismiss the case when video did not match police report. Client has since expunged arrest, and has no criminal record.
DRIVING UNDER THE INFLUENCE
Client is a public school teacher and faced immediate termination upon conviction. The facts of the case were bad. State was unwilling to budge in negotiation, and matter was set for trial – the last shot at avoiding a conviction and preserving client’s livelihood. State was forced to dismiss on day of trial. Client has no criminal record, and has since expunged the DWI arrest.
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