If you have been the victim of a sexual assault in Texas, you have certain rights under state law. These include the right to protect yourself, be treated fairly and with dignity, and sue your attacker to collect damages.
Working with an experienced and compassionate Dallas sexual assault victim lawyer and keeping your rights in focus can help you get through the uncomfortable aftermath of abuse. At Crowe Arnold & Majors, LLP, we make protecting the rights of assault victims a priority. We fight against individuals, institutions, and insurance companies who are on the defendant’s side.
Survivor’s legal rights after an assault
As the survivor of a sexual assault in Texas, you have the right:
- To emergency room treatment that is both sympathetic and competent
- To have a trained advocate available during a forensic medical examination if they are available and their presence would not interfere with medical treatment
- To receive written notice of crime victims’ rights
- To referrals to a sexual assault program and other essential services
- To apply for a protective order, regardless of the relationship with the offender
- To decide whether to file a police report or a third-party information report
- To have your privacy protected by the use of a pseudonym and by omitting your name, address, and phone number from court filings
- To be informed about the offender’s right to bail and to have your safety be a consideration when the court sets bail
- To not be forced to take a lie detector test
- To apply for reimbursement through the Crime Victims’ Compensation Program for crime-related expenses such as medical bills and lost wages; to qualify, survivors must cooperate with law enforcement
- To a no-charge forensic exam if requested by law enforcement; this does not cover other expenses like emergency birth control, which may be covered under the Crime Victims’ Compensation Program
- To make a written request to be notified of all legal proceedings, including parole hearings
- To receive notice of the offender’s HIV/AIDS test if the offender is indicted for the assault
- To write a “victim impact statement” and have it considered during sentencing and parole proceedings
- To have a separate waiting area, if possible, in the courthouse so that you will not share a space with the defendant, their family, or witnesses; when there is no separate area available, there must be safeguards to minimize contact
- If eligible, to maintain a confidential address through the Texas Address Confidentiality Program
Survivors also have the right to file a sexual assault lawsuit against the offender. The burden of proof in a civil lawsuit is lower than in a criminal proceeding, but the survivor must retain their own attorney. This crime can lead to both a civil lawsuit and a criminal prosecution; there is no reason to choose one instead of the other. However, it is a good idea to discuss your options with an attorney because there can be strategic factors to consider in the timing.
What is a sexual assault in Texas?
There are many types of sexual misconduct, so it is essential to know when actions cross the line into sexual assault or abuse. Under Texas law, sexual assault is any non-consensual sexual act. This includes acts taken when the victim does not have the capacity to consent.
Sexual assault includes unwanted groping or fondling, rape or attempted rape, and even consensual acts when the victim is under 17 years old. Violators can be charged with a felony and face prison time and fines.
Contact our team of Dallas sexual assault victim lawyers about your rights
Moving forward after a sexual assault can be difficult, but a caring, sensitive attorney can lighten the burden. At Crowe Arnold & Majors, LLP, we take a personal approach while holding offenders and those who shield them responsible for the harm they cause. Contact us to speak with a Dallas personal injury attorney about your case. Consultations are always free and confidential.