While the term “incest” does not appear explicitly in the Texas Penal Code, sexual intercourse of any kind with a relative by blood or marriage is still prohibited under Texas state law. Being accused of this type of offense could have serious repercussions regardless of whether the alleged intercourse was consensual, possibly including steep fines and a substantial term in state prison.

Contesting charges of this nature can be a uniquely sensitive and complicated process, so having support from a sex crimes defense attorney experienced with handling similar situations effectively in the past can be vital to preserving your best interests. A qualified Plano incest lawyer at the Barbieri Law Firm, P.C. could provide the custom-tailored legal guidance you need to secure the best possible resolution for your specific circumstances.

How State Law Defines Incest as a Criminal Offense

Incest is criminalized under the Texas Penal Code as “prohibited sexual conduct” under TX Code §25.02, which specifically prohibits any form of “sexual intercourse” or “deviate sexual intercourse” with any of the following people:

  • A current or former stepparent or stepchild
  • A parent’s sibling related by “whole or half blood”
  • A sibling related by “whole or half blood” or adoption
  • A niece, nephew, or first cousin related by “whole or half blood” or adoption
  • Any “ancestor or descendant” related by blood or adoption

In the context of this statute, “sexual intercourse” refers specifically to a male sex organ penetrating a female sex organ, and “deviate sexual intercourse” refers specifically to contact between one party’s mouth or anus and another party’s genitals with “intent to arouse or gratify” either party’s sexual desire.

Notably, consent is not considered in the definition provided for this offense under state law, which means someone may be arrested for and convicted of incest even if both parties consented to the sexual interaction and there was no use or threat of force. As a knowledgeable Plano incest attorney can explain, though, a person who uses or threatens force to engage in intercourse with one of the people listed above would likely be charged with sexual assault rather than incest, and similar logic would apply to someone charged with having sexual intercourse with a relative who was legally a minor at the time.

Possible Penalties for an Incest Conviction

Most of the time, prohibited sexual conduct as defined by TX Code §25.02 is a third-degree felony offense, which means a conviction could be punished by between two and 10 years of incarceration as well as a maximum $10,000. However, if someone engages in prohibited sexual conduct with an “ancestor or descendant,” the offense becomes a second-degree felony which could allow for a prison term of two to 20 years upon conviction.

It is also worth noting that incest is one of several sex crimes in Texas that can be punished by mandatory lifetime registration as a sex offender. A proactive incest lawyer in Plano can play a key role in explaining what sanctions a particular charge might lead to and what defense strategies might help minimize those repercussions.

A Plano Incest Attorney Can Help Your Situation

Incest is not punished as severely as many other sex crimes addressed in the Texas Penal Code, but it is still a serious felony charge that could have life-altering consequences even if your case does not end with a conviction. Because of that, it can be crucial to be proactive about enforcing your legal rights and protecting your best interests when facing an allegation of this nature.

A confidential meeting with an experienced Plano incest lawyer can provide answer to any questions you have and guidance about possible next steps. Call Barbieri Law Firm, P.C. today to get started.

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