Teacher-student relationships in Texas are more common than you think, but it doesn’t make it right in the eyes of the law. According to the Texas Education Agency (TEA), the number of investigations jumped by 43% from 2017 to 2018 compared to the previous year. If you ever find yourself in such a situation, it’s best to work with the best Houston child sex crimes attorney because the impact can be severe.
What Does the Law Say about Teacher-Student Relationship?
For a relationship between teacher and student to become improper, it must be sexual in nature. It means there may be intercourse, other forms of sexual contact or deviate intercourse such as a blowjob.
It doesn’t cover private meetings and phone calls unless the student believes these are also sexual in nature.
Contrary to popular belief, this crime doesn’t limit to underage students. You may still need a sex crimes attorney if you supposedly have a relationship with someone 18 years old and above.
This rule doesn’t cover liaisons with post-secondary students, although you may still need to face an investigation with the school board.
The laws also have broad coverage. Based on the one passed in 2017, you may still be held responsible even if you have a relationship with a student outside your school district. It also doesn’t exclude sexual events that may occur outside of the state.
A More Stringent Law
In 2017, Texas passed a new law that made reporting of an improper teacher-student relationship more likely. It will hold principals and school administrators who failed to file a report or conduct an investigation guilty of a crime.
The purpose of this is to prevent accused teachers from resigning before the school can fire them or for districts to recycle these educators.
It, therefore, increases your need for a Houston child sex crimes attorney, who can defend you not only in court but also to the school administration and the Texas Education Board.
The Harsh Penalty
Hiring the best local sex crimes lawyer houston TX has is essential for one reason: the penalties for an inappropriate teacher-student relationship can be severe. In Texas, it is a second-grade felony.
It can mean spending 20 years in prison and fines up to $10,000. Depending on the strength of the case, first-time offenders can end up with a sentence than a probation.
It will automatically result in losing your job and even your teaching license in the process. It doesn’t warrant entry into the sex offender registry, but that doesn’t guarantee it won’t happen.
Law offices such as Paul Schiffer, a Brazoria County sex crimes lawyer, can help you in your defense, especially if you have been wrongfully accused.
Even an accusation of an improper teacher-student relationship can lead to a loss in livelihood, damaged reputation, ostracization in the community, and loss of trust. These are hard to rebuild.
If a student or a parent accuses you with such a crime, ensure you have the best Houston child sex crimes attorney on your side to give yourself a fighting chance. See more at https://paulschifferlaw.com/sex-crimes-defense/