Texas Penal Code 25.08 – Sale or Purchase of Child
WHAT IS SALE OR PURCHASE OF CHILD IN TEXAS?
It is a crime in Texas to agree to sell or purchase a child outside the parameters set by the law and legal child-placing agencies. Selling a child occurs when one offers to accept, agrees to accept, or accepts something of value for delivery of child or for possession of child by another for purposes of adoption, regardless of the appropriateness or safety of the proposed adoptive home.
WHAT IS THE SALE OR PURCHASE OF CHILD LAW IN TEXAS?
Tex. Penal Code § 25.08. SALE OR PURCHASE OF CHILD.
(a) A person commits an offense if he:
(1) possesses a child younger than 18 years of age or has the custody, conservatorship, or guardianship of a child younger than 18 years of age, whether or not he has actual possession of the child, and he offers to accept, agrees to accept, or accepts a thing of value for the delivery of the child to another or for the possession of the child by another for purposes of adoption; or
(2) offers to give, agrees to give, or gives a thing of value to another for acquiring or maintaining the possession of a child for the purpose of adoption.
(b) It is an exception to the application of this section that the thing of value is:
(1) a fee or reimbursement paid to a child-placing agency as authorized by law;
(2) a fee paid to an attorney, social worker, mental health professional, or physician for services rendered in the usual course of legal or medical practice or in providing adoption counseling;
(3) a reimbursement of legal or medical expenses incurred by a person for the benefit of the child; or
(4) a necessary pregnancy-related expense paid by a child-placing agency for the benefit of the child’s parent during the pregnancy or after the birth of the child as permitted by the minimum standards for child-placing agencies and Department of Protective and Regulatory Services rules.
(c) An offense under this section is a felony of the third degree, except that the offense is a felony of the second degree if the actor commits the offense with intent to commit an offense under Section 20A.02, 43.021, 43.05, or 43.25.
WHAT IS THE PENALTY CLASS FOR SALE OR PURCHASE OF CHILD IN TEXAS?
Agreeing to sell or purchase a child with the intent to commit human trafficking, solicitation of prostitution, compelling prostitution, or sexual performance by a child is a second degree felony, punishable by two to 20 years in prison. The sale or purchase of a child for any other purpose is a third degree felony, punishable by two to ten years in prison.
WHAT IS THE PUNISHMENT RANGE FOR SALE OR PURCHASE OF CHILD IN TEXAS?
The punishment range for the sale or purchase of a child charged as a third degree felony is two to ten years in prison, and up to a $10,000 fine. Sale or purchase of a child charged as a second degree felony carries a possible two to 20 years in prison, and up to a $10,000 fine.
WHAT ARE THE PENALTIES FOR SALE OR PURCHASE OF CHILD IN TEXAS?
As an alternative to prison, a person may be placed on up to ten years of either probation or deferred adjudication. Probation is a felony conviction, while deferred adjudication is not.
WHAT ARE THE DEFENSES TO SALE OR PURCHASE OF CHILD IN TEXAS?
It is permitted to make certain, specific types of payments in the context of child adoption: (1) a fee or reimbursement paid to a child-placing agency as authorized by law; (2) a fee paid to an attorney, social worker, mental health professional, or physician for services rendered in the usual course of legal or medical practice or in providing adoption counseling; (3) a reimbursement of legal or medical expenses incurred by a person for the benefit of the child; or (4) a necessary pregnancy-related expense paid by a child-placing agency for the benefit of the child’s parent during the pregnancy or after the birth of the child as permitted by the minimum standards for child-placing agencies.
- What are acceptable payments to a birth mother? Child-placing agencies may provide or pay for services such as reasonable housing, food, clothing, utilities, personal hygiene products, or transportation directly related to a need for service. Reimbursing the mother for the child’s legal or medical expenses is also permitted. Cash, lump sum, retroactive payments to birth mothers for their children, however, are against the law.
WHAT IS THE STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS FOR SALE OR PURCHASE OF CHILD IN TEXAS?
The statute of limitations for the sale or purchase of a child, whether third degree or second degree felony, is three years.
SALE OR PURCHASE OF CHILD IN TEXAS
No one may agree to give or accept cash, lump sum, retroactive payments to birth mothers for their children. This is to deter potentially coercive effects of payments to expectant mothers at a time when the best interests of the child, as well as the parents, are most likely to be subordinated by greed or other ulterior motives.
TEXAS SALE OR PURCHASE OF CHILD COURT CASES
The case law regarding the sale or purchase of a child in Texas shows courts’ widespread disdain for this type of conduct, especially under the guise of “helping” birth mothers.
A defendant ran a legal adoption agency. She found birth mothers who wanted to give up their children, and matched the children with adoptive parents, who paid her for her services. The defendant bonded a mother expecting twins out of jail, and offered to pay her to give up her babies once they were born. The mother agreed, and the defendant gave her $100 cash after she relinquished her rights. But the law prohibits making cash, lump sum, retroactive payments to birth mothers. None of the defendant’s payments to that mother or other expectant mothers were for lawful purposes. Conviction affirmed. Thacker v. State, 889 S.W.2d 380 (Tex. App—Houston [14th Dist.] 1994, pet. ref’d).
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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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