Posted on 1/10/22

In Texas, sexual assault of a spouse is a crime. Also known as marital rape, sexual assault against a spouse can be charged as aggravated sexual assault when aggravating factors are present. Sometimes people believe that it is impossible to sexually assault a spouse since they are married. This outdated concept is no longer the law in Texas or anywhere in the country. In Texas, the sexual assault of a spouse is just as serious as any other type of sexual assault.

Texas’ Marital Rape Law

Texas has no distinct or separate criminal charge for marital rape or marital sexual assault. Instead, when one spouse commits a sexual assault on the other spouse, prosecutors will bring sexual assault or aggravated sexual assault charges. Additionally, sexual assault is a gender-neutral crime in Texas. As a result, sexual assault between spouses can include an assault by a husband and a wife, an assault by a wife on a husband, or same-sex marriages. There are several different ways prosecutors can charge marital rape, depending on the circumstances of the case.

Sexual Assault

Sexual assault involves knowingly or intentionally causing the penetration of another person’s mouth, anus, or sexual organs without that person’s consent. Sexual assault also includes causing sexual organs to contact another person’s mouth, anus, or sexual organs without that person’s consent.

Aggravated Sexual Assault

Prosecutors can charge sexual assault as aggravated sexual assault when a person commits a sexual assault in the presence of aggravating factors. These aggravating factors include carrying out a sexual assault that involves causing serious injury to another person, kidnapping, using a deadly weapon to carry out the assault, or sexually assaulting a victim over 65. Other aggravating factors include making the other person fear for their lives during the sexual assault and using a date rape drug during the sexual assault.

The Statute of Limitations for Marital Sexual Assault Charges

When a person is charged with the sexual assault of a spouse in Texas, prosecutors only have a limited amount of time to file charges against the defendant. This time limitation is called a statute of limitations. In most cases, the statute of limitations is 10 years, and it begins to run from the date that the alleged sexual assault took place.

The Penalties for Marital Rape in Texas

As mentioned above, there is no separate crime for marital sexual assault. Those convicted of sexually assaulting their spouse will face the same penalties as anyone else convicted of sexual assault. Sexual assault can be charged as a second-degree felony with a penalty of up to $10,000 in fines and two to 20 years in prison. Additionally, the convicted defendant will need to register as a sex offender. First-degree sexual assault charges carry a fine of up to $10,000 and a prison sentence between five years and life.

Contact a Criminal Defense Attorney Today

If you have been charged with sexual assault of your spouse in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, contact Abel Law Firm today to discuss your case with an experienced criminal defense attorney. 

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Phone: 972.584.7837

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