Difference between sexual assault and aggravated sexual assault

Aggravated sexual assault and sexual assault are two distinct offenses in Texas. Attorney Letty Martinez discusses the difference in this short video.

What is sexual assault?

Generally speaking, sexual assault involves allegations of specific sexual acts against another person without their consent. In adult cases, a sexual assault can become aggravated, which means it bumps the punishment up from 2 to 20 years in prison to 5 to 99 years or life in prison.


What is aggravated sexual assault?

In order to get a sexual assault bumped up to an aggravated sexual assault, there has to be an aggravating factor present. There are a number of things that can make it aggravated.

For example, if there is a deadly weapon used; if there is serious bodily injury caused; if there is an attempt to cause the death of the individual; if the victim is disabled or elderly, meaning that they’re 65 years or older; if the victim is placed in fear of a threat of death, serious bodily injury. Trafficking or kidnapping can also make it aggravated. If there are two or more people that act together to sexually assault one victim, that’s another aggravating factor. If there are certain types of date rape drugs used, that can make it aggravated.

When we’re talking about sexual assaults involving a child, meaning a child under the age of 17, it then becomes aggravated if the child is under the age of 14. Then, if the child is younger than six years of age, that is an aggravated sexual assault of a child, but the minimum is no longer five years. It bumps up to 25 years minimum.

Aggravated Sex Assault in Texas

Video: What is solicitation of prostitution in Texas?

What is solicitation of prostitution in Texas? Criminal Defense Attorney Benson Varghese explains in this short video.

Both prostitution and solicitation of prostitution in Texas is a Class B offense which means it’s punishable by up to 180 days in jail and up to a $2,000 fine. What’s unique about solicitation of prostitution is it is a charge that many people are going to look at and look at you disfavorably, even if they just see an arrest on your record. Our goal when someone is charged with solicitation or prostitution is to not only avoid prison or straight probation but to work out an outcome that will allow for an expunction later on down the road so the criminal record is destroyed in its entirety.

Read more about prostitution charges in Texas. For more information about other offense and criminal justice issues, check out our Versus Texas blog or video page. Here you will find information on topics that include:

Backpage Bust: Promoting Prostitution and Sex Trafficking

Crimes of Moral Turpitude in Texas

What should you do if you are falsely accused of rape?

What is the age of consent in Texas?

Should you take a polygraph?

Drug Charges in Texas



Video: Should I do field sobriety tests?

What if I am not intoxicated and the officer asks me to take a field sobriety test?

What this question really gets at is what a person should do if they’ve been stopped for suspicion of driving while intoxicated but they know they are not intoxicated. In that situation where you are very confident that you are not intoxicated is to decline field sobriety tests and volunteer to give a blood test immediately. The field sobriety tests are very easy to fail even when you are not intoxicated and you should not take them. We frequently do presentations on DWI for social organizations, universities, businesses where we have volunteers come up and do field sobriety tests. It is common for these participants to fail one or all of the tests even though they have had nothing to drink. While an officer can get a search warrant for your blood, he cannot force you to do field sobriety tests or give a breath sample.

Learn more about driving while intoxicated defense.

Contact us

Call us at (817) 203-2220 for a complimentary strategy session. Our team of former prosecutors and Board Certified Criminal Lawyers are here to help. During this call we will:

  • Discuss the facts of your case;
  • Discuss the legal issues involved, including the direct and collateral consequences of the allegation; and
  • Discuss the defenses that apply to your plan and in general terms discuss our approach to your case.

You can also contact us online:

Video: What is equitable sharing?

Board Certified Criminal Defense Attorney Steven Jumes explains what is equitable sharing in this short video.

“Equitable sharing is a discussion as to how much federally forfeited property goes to local law enforcement agencies. Equitable sharing is typically at an 80 percent rate. So let’s say someone is traveling down I-45 and they are in Arizona and they’re traveling with $100,000 in their vehicle. They get pulled over. The police find the $100,000, whether it’s by a canine smell from the canine barking at the car saying that’s supposedly drug money, or from a consent search, or for whatever reason. That local Arizona police officer seizes the $100,000, the forfeiture goes federally, and now there’s $100,000 that is in the government coffer. The U.S. government would equitably share 80 percent of it back to that Arizona police department and keep 20% of it in an assets forfeiture fund.”

We hope you found this video helpful. To find out answers to other questions like, “What is equitable sharing?” please visit this page, which is full of useful information about this issue.

To watch more informational videos by Steve Jumes and other criminal defense attorneys at Varghese Summersett, please visit our video page. We address a number of legal issues regarding asset forfeiture, including:

What is the innocent owner defense to asset forfeiture?

Seizures in drug cases

The Burden of Proof in Asset Forfeitures

What is federal adoption in the asset forfeiture arena?

Video: Burden of Proof in Asset Forfeitures

Asset forfeiture defense attorney Steve Jumes explains the burden of proof in Asset Forfeitures

In the United States of America, you are presumed innocent, and even in asset forfeiture, it is supposedly the government’s obligation and duty to prove that any property is connected to crime, but courts have allowed so much circumstantial evidence that it really has become “You’re guilty until proven innocent.”

For example, if my $100,000 is taken, and I say I was traveling to another state, that I’m going to buy a house, and they don’t believe me, then the case goes to court.

Well, in court, what they’re going to say is, “Well, Mr. Jumes gave fishy answers, the money was bundled consistent with how a drug dealer bundles the money, and we had a dog circle his car and bark.” That right there would easily be sustained as sufficient evidence for the government to keep the money, so in effect, I have to prove that the money is clean. I need to find the houses I was going to be looking for, whatever real estate agent I was going to use when I got there, I may want to show certain itinerary records that I’m going to that location. I’m under the gun to prove that it wasn’t nefarious.

You need to understand, when we talk about these canine hits or this other circumstantial evidence, a lot of innocent people carry money that has, somewhere down the road, been exposed to some sort of odor of narcotics. A lot of innocent people don’t like to use banks, and they like to carry large sums of money. The government doesn’t have to disprove my honest explanation; they just have to give circumstances that seem suspicious, and that can carry the day.

the burden of proof in criminal cases

Video: What is federal adoption in the asset forfeiture arena?

Board Certified Criminal Defense Lawyer Steve Jumes explains federal adoption in the context of asset forfeitures in this short video.

In the last year, there’s been a lot of criticism about the United States government swallowing up a lot of state forfeitures and enticing states to use federal courts for forfeiture by promising to give more money that’s seized and kept back to local police agencies. Adoption was the process where a case may start out as a state seizure… Say someone’s driving down the road, they have a bunch of money in their car, and a local police officer commits a traffic stop and fines them money and takes it from the street. That law enforcement officer may be directed by his or her sergeant to take the case federally and not through the state, because the state may only get 50% of it back and the feds would give 80% of it back, and so adoption really started to come under fire over the last year because there were concerns that this became too much about profit and the federal government was using a little bit too much of its power.

We hope you found this information about federal adoption helpful. Read more about asset forfeiture.

What is a Habitual Offender under Texas Criminal Law?

Board Certified Criminal Defense Attorney Anna Summersett explains the Habitual Offender enhancement for criminal cases in Texas and the effect on the punishment range.

A habitual offender, similar to a repeat offender, does require that somebody has a previous felony conviction for which they served penitentiary time for. Again, the requirement is that penitentiary time actually be served. However, different from a repeat offender, a habitual offender is required to have at least two prior convictions for which they served separate penitentiary time. For example, if you were convicted of two third-degree felony offenses at the same time and you were sentenced to seven years penitentiary and you served those at the same time, you’d be a repeat offender because that was one penitentiary trip.

If, however, you were convicted of a third-degree felony, went to the penitentiary, got out on parole, committed another felony offense, was convicted of that offense, then a second penitentiary trip, you will then be what’s called a habitual offender in the state of Texas. That increased your minimum punishment regardless of whether you are a third-degree, second-degree, or first-degree case to a minimum of 25 years.

Video: What is a Repeat Offender under Texas criminal law?

Criminal defense attorney Anna Summersett, a Board Certified Criminal Law Specialist, discusses the “Repeat Offender” enhancement under Texas law in this short video.

Repeat Offender Texas

A repeat offender notice is one of those circumstances where an individual has previously been convicted of a felony offense and sentenced to penitentiary time. It does require them to actually serve time in the penitentiary as opposed to something like a shock probation or possibly a state jail time. If somebody is a repeat offender, it will generally increase their punishment range by one degree. For example, if we’re looking at a third-degree felony, and you have a repeat offender notice, you’re then going to be looking at a second-degree felony range of punishment. However, once we get up to a first-degree felony range, if you are a repeat offender, your minimum jumps from a five-year to a 15-year minimum, again with your maximum being 99 years or life.

Contact us

Call us at (817) 203-2220 for a complimentary strategy session. Our team of former prosecutors and Board Certified Criminal Lawyers are here to help. During this call we will:

  • Discuss the facts of your case;
  • Discuss the legal issues involved, including the direct and collateral consequences of the allegation; and
  • Discuss the defenses that apply to your plan and in general terms discuss our approach to your case.

You can also contact us online: