Planning a Defense Against Sex Crime Charges in Illinois
Criminal sexual assault is any act of sexual penetration in which the perpetrator uses threat or force; knows the victim is unable to give knowing consent; is related to the victim and the victim is over 18; holds some position of trust or authority over the victim who is age 17 or older; or is in supervisory care over the victim who is 13-17 years old. If you or someone you know has been charged with criminal sexual assault in Illinois, it is best to speak to a skilled criminal defense lawyer to plan your defense.
What Are the Punishments for Sexual Assault?
Charges for criminal sexual assault will vary, depending on the circumstances. A first offense is a Class 1 felony. However, if the perpetrator has a previous charge, he or she could face Class X felony charges, which could mean at least 30 years in prison. With a previous conviction of aggravated criminal sexual assault or predatory assault of a child, the punishment could be up to life in prison.
How Consent is Determined
The major factor in whether an act constitutes sexual assault is whether or not consent was given by the alleged victim. Consent equals agreement to the sexual act. Even if consent is given at first, it may be withdrawn, and anything after that will still constitute sexual assault. If the victim does not give permission for the act to continue, the other party must stop, per Illinois law.
Consent cannot legally be given by a person less than 17 years of age. If one party is in a position of authority or supervision, consent cannot be legally given until age 18. In addition, if a victim of sexual assault is 60 or older, the perpetrator will face harsher punishment.
Besides age, the developmental and/or mental incapacity of the victim will be a consideration. If the perpetrator is aware that a victim has an intellectual disability and cannot understand the situation, the victim cannot give legal knowing consent. Although physical disabilities are not considered a reason the victim cannot give consent, a perpetrator could receive more severe punishment for sexual assault against a victim with a physical disability.
If a victim is unconscious or intoxicated to the point of not understanding what is happening, or if he or she is unable to give knowing consent, then the act will be considered sexual assault. Even if the perpetrator is also intoxicated, this is not considered a valid defense. If the perpetrator slipped a drug in the victim’s drink or food without the victim’s knowledge, this will also result in higher charges.
Anyone in a position of power who engages in a sexual act with someone in custody, such as a prison guard or treatment facility employee, a probation officer, a supervising officer, or many others, can be found guilty of custodial sexual misconduct.
It is important to understand how consent is defined by law when planning your defense for a sexual assault charge in Illinois. You should also discuss your case with a criminal defense lawyer who has experience in this area before taking with any action.
Contact a Naperville Criminal Defense Lawyer
If you or someone you know has been accused of criminal sexual assault, consult an attorney right away. The experienced Law Office of Glenn M. Sowa, LLC can offer you a solid defense. Contact a knowledgeable St. Charles sex crimes defense attorney for help understanding and fighting your charges. Call 630-232-1780 today to schedule a free consultation.