Those who have been accused of criminal acts often panic and plead guilty because they think that avoiding court is always the best option. Unfortunately, those who plead guilty to certain criminal offenses leave themselves at the mercy of the judge overseeing their case and will struggle with the consequences of a criminal record potentially for the rest of their lives.
A guilty plea means accepting whatever penalties a judge assigns, in most cases. They could potentially face the harshest possible penalties, depending on the approach taken by the Texas criminal judge who hears their case. Even after they serve their sentence, they will have a permanent criminal record.
For those accused of sexual assault, the idea of going to trial may seem unpalatable. However, given that the alternative is a guilty plea, a defense is often someone’s best option. Sexual assault charges can irrevocably change the course of someone’s life if an alleged offender enters a guilty plea.
These charges carry a major stigma
Most people have an internal scale that they apply to criminal charges. Minor traffic offenses and property offenses are probably low on the scale of criminal severity, while sexual violence is often very close to the top. People often have a very dim view of those with a record of criminal sexual conduct.
Someone who pleads guilty to a sexual assault offense will have a criminal record that will keep them from renting certain houses and getting many different jobs. In fact, a criminal conviction for sexual assault might even prevent someone from volunteering at their children’s school later in life.
Many sex offenders have to register as such
Texas maintains a registry of sex offenders, and those who commit qualifying offenses will have to regularly update their registered information with the state. The government will need to know where they live at all times, and their address will be accessible to the public through a database. Registering as a sex offender will inevitably limit someone’s opportunities and draw more attention to someone’s serious criminal record.
There are numerous means of defending against allegations of criminal sexual conduct. Understanding the impact that allegations of sexual assault can have on someone’s future may motivate them to permit a skilled legal representative to advocate aggressively on their behalf.