Improper Relationship Between Educator And Student

Relationships between educators and students are expressly prohibited by Texas Penal Code § 21.12. This statute applies to educators from both the public and private sectors. It restricts educators from having sexual contact, sexual intercourse, or deviant sexual intercourse with a student at the school where they are employed.

Under Texas law, the conviction of this crime is a second-degree felony. If you have been arrested for improper relationship between educator and student, The Benken Law Firm can be your best resource.

Texas Improper Relationship Between Educator and Student Lawyer

If you have been charged with improper relationship between educator and student, it is essential that you retain the help of a qualified attorney in TX. You may be sure of your innocence, but beating the charge in court is another question. To receive experienced legal counsel, reach out to The Benken Law Firm.

We can help you form a formidable defense for your case. If you reside in Houston, Galena Park, Montrose, River Oaks, Bellaire, Oak Forest, Harris County or any other surrounding county, call (713) 223 - 4051 today.

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Victim Privacy

The Texas Penal Code provides means of protection for the victims of an improper relationship between an educator and a student. The victim’s name under these circumstances can not be released to the public. It is not considered public information under state law.

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Defenses To Improper Relationship Between Educator And Student

Texas Penal Code § 21.12 provides a few defenses for defendants facing charges for the improper relationship between educator and student. One of these is if the student was married to the teacher at the time of the offense. Further, this defense could only apply under limited circumstances, and prosecutors wouldn’t be likely to pursue charges if the defendant and alleged victim were married. Another affirmative defense is if the educator is not more than 3 years older than the victim and they engaged in a romantic relationship before the educator’s employment at a school.

In addition to the statutory defenses, an experienced criminal defense attorney would also look at the wording of the statute to find possible defenses. For example, the law states that the educator must be employed at a primary or secondary school. If a defendant was an informal tutor, they might not meet the requirements for improper relationship charges. Additionally, the law requires that the defendant be engaged in an improper relationship with a student when the student was enrolled at a primary or secondary school. An educator could be wrongly accused of an improper relationship when the relationship began shortly after the student graduated, dropped out, or switched schools.

Even when a defendant is an educator employed by a school, they are still provided certain constitutional protections in a criminal investigation. The Fourth Amendment guarantees protection against unreasonable searches and seizures.

How could this apply in an improper relationship between educator and student case? Let’s say a police officer placed a teacher under arrest simply because he had a personal grudge against the teacher or simply because the teacher gave him the creeps. Evidence supporting improper relationship charges is found after the arrest. This would be an arbitrary arrest that should be found unreasonable due to the Fourth Amendment, which would make all the evidence inadmissible in court. A defendant facing these charges who believes their constitutional rights have been violated will need skillful legal counsel, as this defense under these circumstances can be an uphill battle.

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Improper Relationship Penalties In Texas

An improper relationship between an educator and a student is classified as a second-degree felony in Texas. The penalties associated with a second-degree felony are located in the Texas Penal Code § 12.01. A second-degree felony conviction carries a broad prison sentence range in Texas. Someone convicted of a second-degree felony in Texas could face anywhere from 2 to 20 years in prison. A second-degree felony is also punishable by a fine of up to $10,000.

It’s important to note that Texas punishes repeat felony offenders more severely. The Texas Penal Code provides that if a defendant is facing second-degree felony charges and they have previously been convicted of any felony other than a state jail felony, the defendant will be penalized as if convicted of a first-degree felony. A first-degree felony is punishable in Texas by 5-99 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000. A defendant facing improper relationship charges in Texas with a prior felony conviction(s) needs to create a strong and thorough defense to avoid serious prison time.

A felony conviction is no laughing matter in any state, including Texas. Prison is notoriously worse than state jail, and felonies come with far lengthier sentences than misdemeanors. Defendants convicted of felonies can also lose some of their civil rights. For example, someone convicted of a felony in Texas can no longer legally purchase or own a firearm. A convicted felon can be convicted of another third-degree felony for simply possessing a firearm after getting out of prison. Convicted felons also lose their right to vote. Voting is a hallmark of American democracy, and the right to voice an opinion during public elections could be priceless. Convicted felons also lose the right to run for public office.

It’s also important to note that finding a job, housing, and other opportunities is made infinitely more difficult with a felony conviction. A convicted felon could be trapped in a life with low income, poor housing, restricted rights, and enormous nondischargeable debts after being released from prison. Future employment in the education industry will be impossible. Someone convicted of an improper relationship between educator and student in Texas may essentially see their lives ruined.

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Additional Resources

Texas Penal Code § 21.12 – This FindLaw page contains the Texas Penal Code statute regarding improper relationships between educators and students.

Texas Penal Code § 12.01 – This plain language statute provided by the Texas Capitol defines the penalty guidelines for different levels of crimes in Texas.

United States Constitution, Fourth Amendment – This copy of the Fourth Amendment provided by Cornell Law School describes our constitution’s protections against unreasonable searches and seizures.

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Houston Improper Relationship Between Educator and Student Attorney | Harris County, TX

Improper relationship between educator and student is a serious charge under Texas Law. If you have been arrested for this offense, it is essential that you seek the help of an experienced defense lawyer. The Benken Law Firm has extensive experience defending those charged with this offense and can assist you, as well.

To schedule your first consultation with The Benken Law Firm, call (713) 223 - 4051. Defense attorney Brian Benken at The Benken Law Firm serves clients in Harris County including Houston, Spring, Humble, Pasadena, Cypress, Tomball, and La Porte, TX.

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