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Major Legislation of the 2019 Session: Criminal Law – Sexual Assault, Indecent Assault, Revenge Porn, and Human Trafficking

By March 23, 2020 No Comments

The Texas Legislators filed more than 7,300 bills in 2019 and enacted over 1,400 into law. Among the them are the following:

Sexual Assault

House Bill 8 has eliminated the statute of limitations for sexual assault completely when biological matter is collected and material has not yet been subject to forensic testing or when there is no DNA match. It also requires DNA evidence from sexual assault cases to be analyzed within 90 days starting in the year 2021. Furthermore, HB 1399 is now requiring the mandatory DNA sample taken from a defendant to occur at post-arrest as opposed to post-indictment.

Indecent Assault

Indecent Assault is a new offense which is a Class A misdemeanor. It was created by SB 194 to address the unwanted groping of an individual 17 years old or younger.

Revenge Porn

Texas Penal Code Section 21. 16(b), commonly referred to as the “revenge porn” statute, was clarified by HB 98 and it is now currently pending at the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals. The new language that if a person discloses intimate visual material with the intent to harm the depicted individual without consent of that individual, that person is committing a civil or criminal offense.

Human Trafficking

SB 20 is a broad bill that covers human trafficking and provides for sex trafficking prevention programs and for victim treatment programs. Online promotion of prostitution is now a third-degree felony offense, and aggravated online promotion of prostitution is a second-degree felony offense. “Aggravated” here is referring to the intent to promote the prostitution of five or more persons or facilitating five or more persons to engage in prostitution. It also provides for mandatory community supervision for Class B prostitution cases.

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