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Criminal charges


A person generally commits the criminal offense of rape by using force, threats of force, coercion, or fraud to have non-consensual sexual intercourse with another person. In some states this criminal offense is called sexual assault. Rape is a felony offense with significant jail or prison time as potential punishment.

Laws vary from state to state and some state laws also include in the definition of rape sexual intercourse with a person who is intoxicated by drugs or alcohol, unconscious, or mentally disabled and unable to consent to the sexual intercourse. And some states have a broad definition of the lack of consent to sexual contact constituting rape and include sexual contact with public servants (police officers, etc.), members of the clergy, mental health service providers, and employees of assisted living centers or nursing homes as lacking consent under some circumstances.

In some states it is rape or sexual assault for a health care services provider performing an assisted reproduction procedure to use human reproductive material from a donor other than the patient’s intended donor.

Rape or sexual assault laws are generally located in a state’s statutes—often in the penal or criminal code.

In Texas, the criminal offense traditionally known as 'rape' is legally referred to as 'sexual assault.' According to Texas Penal Code Section 22.011, a person commits sexual assault if they intentionally or knowingly cause the penetration of the anus or sexual organ of another person by any means, without that person's consent. Consent is not present if it is obtained through force, threat, or fraud. Texas law also recognizes the lack of capacity to consent due to intoxication, unconsciousness, or mental disability. Furthermore, Texas law includes provisions where sexual assault can occur if the victim is unable to resist or understand the nature of the act due to a mental disease or defect. The state also considers it sexual assault if the perpetrator is a public servant, health care services provider, mental health services provider, or an employee at a facility such as an assisted living or nursing home and exploits their position to coerce the victim into non-consensual sexual activity. Sexual assault is a second-degree felony in Texas, which can result in significant jail time, fines, and mandatory registration as a sex offender. The specific circumstances of the offense can elevate the charge to a first-degree felony, which carries even harsher penalties.

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