In light of the #metoo movement, there has been an increased focus on affirmative consent regarding all sexual activity. Whether sexual intercourse or any other sexual act, all parties must give consent in order to take part. However, consent has not always been required for spouses. If one spouse forced the other to engage in sexual activity, there was no crime acknowledged under the law. Additionally, until the early 1990s, Texas only had an exception to this for rape of a spouse by the other. However, the state now recognizes all sexual assault that occurs between spouses.
There are no separate state statutes concerning sexual misconduct between spouses. Rather, a spouse can be charged with any sex offense. When a sex offense allegedly occurs between spouses it is called spousal or marital rape.
Spousal or marital rape cases commonly include charges for the following crimes:
Simple Sexual Assault
A spouse can be charged with simple sexual assault when he or she intentionally and knowingly caused:
- The penetration of the other spouse’s sexual organ or anus, by any means, without their consent;
- The penetration of the other spouse’s mouth by their sexual organ, without consent; or
- Their sexual organ, without the other spouse’s consent, to come into contact with or penetrate the other spouse’s sexual organ, anus, or mouth.
Aggravated Sexual Assault
A spouse can be charged with aggravated sexual assault when they commit sexual assault and:
- Caused serious bodily injury or attempt to cause the death of their spouse;
- Placed their spouse in fear of kidnapping, bodily injury, or death;
- Threatened to kidnap, severely injure, or kill their spouse;
- Used a deadly weapon;
- Used a date-rape drug to commit the sexual assault of their spouse; or
- Their spouse is younger than 14 years, older than 65 years, or disabled.
It’s important to acknowledge that as with other sexual offenses, when it comes to marital rape, there is a statute of limitations of 10 years. This means that someone has 10 years from the date of the alleged offense to bring a claim. If they fail to do so within that time period, they can lose the opportunity altogether.
As there aren’t separate laws for marital rape, there aren’t separate punishments. When a spouse is found to have committed marital rape, they receive a charge for simple or aggravated sexual assault. This also means that the punishment is the same as it would be even if the victim was not a spouse of the perpetrator. Simple sexual assault is a second-degree felony, which is punishable by between two and 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000. Aggravated sexual assault is a first-degree felony, punishable by between five and 99 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
In addition to a criminal suit, victims of sexual assault can bring a civil lawsuit. Whether or not the perpetrator is found guilty of the criminal charges, you can still pursue compensation through a civil lawsuit. In fact, you don’t even need to wait until a criminal case has been completed to file a civil action.
The Attorneys at Rochelle McCullough Help Those in Dallas Who Have Suffered Sexual Assault
Whether a spouse or anyone else, no one has the right to force you to engage in sexual activity without your consent. If you have been the victim of sexual assault, you have the right to pursue justice and compensation through a criminal and civil action. Be sure to speak with a qualified Texas sexual assault attorney as soon as possible.
The lawyers at Rochelle McCullough will help fight for you to receive compensation and justice through a civil case. To schedule a consultation, contact us today.