Is Incest Illegal? Charges for Incest in Fort Worth Explained

Is Incest Illegal? Charges for Incest in Fort Worth Explained

Allegations of incest can have devastating personal and legal consequences. Even if you are innocent, just one allegation of prohibited sexual conduct can hinder your ability to find a job, find housing, and ruin friendships. Texas is particularly harsh as it has some of the most punitive sex crime laws.

If you are accused of incest, it is important to contact an experienced defense attorney to help protect your rights and privacy. At Cofer Luster Law Firm, we have the experience to successfully and discreetly handle your case.

What is Incest?

Incest, also called prohibited sexual conduct, is illegal in Texas. Even if two adults are consenting, incest is still a felony.

Texas Penal Code Section 25.02 says a person commits prohibited sexual conduct if that person engages in sexual intercourse or deviate sexual intercourse with another person the actor knows to be, without regard to legitimacy:

(1) the actor’s ancestor or descendant by blood or adoption;

(2) the actor’s current or former stepchild or stepparent;

(3) the actor’s parent’s brother or sister of the whole or half blood;

(4) the actor’s brother or sister of the whole or half blood or by adoption;

(5) the children of the actor’s brother or sister of the whole or half blood or by adoption; or

(6) the son or daughter of the actor’s aunt or uncle of the whole or half blood or by adoption.

Deviate sexual intercourse is defined “as any contact between the genitals of one person and the mouth or anus of another person with the intent to arouse or gratify the sexual desire of any person.” Sexual intercourse is defined as “any penetration to the female sex organ by the male sex organ.”

Simply put, sex is illegal between the following family members:

  • Parents and children
  • Stepparents and stepchildren
  • Siblings, including half-siblings
  • Aunt or uncle and niece or nephew
  • First-cousins

Blood relation does not matter in the case of incest. It can be full, half, or by adoption. Either way, incest is illegal in the state of Texas.

Charges and Penalties for Incest

Section (c) states of the Texas Penal Code Section 25.05 states, “an offense under this section is a felony of the third degree, unless the offense is committed under Subsection (a)(1), in which event the offense is a felony of the second degree.”

The most serious prohibited sexual conduct charge is sex between a parent and a child, which includes adult children as well. This conduct falls under subsection (a)(1), which is a second degree felony that is punishable up to 20 years in prison. It also carries a maximum fine of $10,000.

If the prohibited sexual conduct charge is between other family members listed, then the offense is a third degree felony. A third degree felony is punishable by two to 10 years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine.

Since this is a sex offense, if convicted, you could be required to register as a sex offender. This puts limitations on places you can live, types of jobs you can have, and where you can travel.

Defending Incest Charges

Texas law gives prosecutors a lot of discretion in charging prohibited sexual conduct, even when the allegations are vague. In some circumstances, just one allegation is enough to bring charges — even if there is no physical evidence to support the charges of prohibited sexual conduct.

One way a defense attorney can help you is to try to argue for the charges to be thrown out. If many years have passed since the alleged offense, then the prosecutor may not have enough evidence for a conviction. Another possible defense against prohibited sexual conduct is the alleged offender had no knowledge the alleged victim was a blood relation. For a more personalized defense strategy, contact a defense attorney from Cofer Luster Law Firm.

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Prohibited Sexual Conduct Attorney in Fort Worth, Texas

Cofer Luster Law Firm has years of experience defending prohibited sexual conduct cases. We offer discreet, nonjudgmental consultations so you can understand your rights. If you have been accused of incest, call us to start planning your defense strategy.