Many are aware that sexual assault perpetrators can be held responsible in criminal courts.
At Ramos James Law, PLLC, we can ensure that victims get the justice they are owed, even when criminal courts fail them.
What sets our firm apart from others is the fact that we accept a case because of the faith we have in the stories of our clients, and we want to use our resources to support the cause. Our sexual assault attorneys are passionate about fighting for our clients in the courtroom — not only is it what we are best at, but it is an honor to help victims find their path to recovery.
It is likely that you may have already testified against your assaulter in criminal court, or you’ve been told that there’s not sufficient evidence to charge your assailant with a sex crime. However, if criminal courts already have the matter in hand, why should you pursue a civil claim? Because criminal law and civil law are not the same or to be confused with the other.
Criminal law is about representing the state along with its interests. When an individual commits a crime, it is classified as a crime against the state’s laws, not you as an individual. Your testimony is important for the case against your assaulter, but you are not the one in control of the case. You may get personal closure from your assaulter facing punishment for their crime, but at the end of it all, you’ll still be left with the unfortunate consequences of your assault.
Civil claims, on the other hand, have to do with your injuries. You are in control of whether to go after a civil claim, seek a jury award, or make a settlement with your assaulter. Most importantly, the outcome of a civil claim is about catering to your needs.
Civil claims address the various needs of sexual assault victims, including:
⦿ The cost of Medical Bills.
⦿ Pain and suffering.
⦿ Psychological treatment.
⦿ Emotional rehabilitation.
⦿ Loss of relationships.
You can hold your assaulter fully accountable for the pain that they have caused you, and you can acquire compensation for what you’ve had to endure. You may also hold other negligent parties liable, like schools or employers who should have done more to keep you safe.
You can make a difference for future cases like yours.
In Texas, most crimes have what is referred to as a statute of limitations, which is basically a deadline for prosecutors. A statute of limitations is intended to make sure that the state is taking care of cases in a timely manner and protecting the integrity of the evidence. Once the statute of limitations is up, the prosecution can no longer file a claim against the defendant for that specific crime.
The criminal statute of limitations for sexual assault with a victim who is 18 or older is 10 years. If the case involved a minor below the age of 17 at the occurrence of the assault, then the statute of limitations will be advanced to 20 years from the 18th birthday of the victim. When the preparator’s identity is unknown in the beginning, then there is no statute of limitations. The victim can file a lawsuit as John Doe and if the defendant is discovered months or even years later, charges can still be made.
If a criminal court found your attacker not guilty, there is still good news—you can still file a civil claim against the assaulter to hold them accountable for their actions. Criminal courts have a separate standard of proof than civil claims; the party accused has to be proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
For civil claims, the defendant must be found reasonably likely to have caused damages. Essentially, it is much easier to prove that your assaulter caused you damage in a civil claims court.
If your attacker was found not guilty, you still have the option to hold them liable in a civil trial. Through this trial, the evidence in your favor will hold more power and may end in a positive result. Civil trials can offer personal closure that a criminal trial failed to provide, while directly supporting your needs legally and financially.
It is not uncommon for sexual assault victims to remain silent for years following the abuse. Sexual assault is psychologically and emotionally harmful, and can take years for victims to feel secure enough to stand up and call out their attacker, especially if they were assaulted by a family member, teacher, or had their case dismissed by law enforcement.
Nevertheless, even if the incident took place years ago, there is still hope that you may be able to hold your assaulter liable.
If you or a loved one have been sexually assaulted and wish to press charges, our compassionate Austin sexual assault attorneys at Ramos James Law, PLLC, are experienced in handling sexual assault lawsuits and can explain your legal rights in-depth in a FREE confidential consultation.
We understand the sensitive nature of your experience and will make your privacy our top priority.
Contact the Austin sexual assault attorneys at Ramos James Law, PLLC, at (512)-537-3369 if you want to learn more about your legal rights and schedule your FREE consultation.