In laymen’s terms, sexual assault refers to unwanted sexual touching or the use of force or coercion to cause someone to engage in sexual acts. Under New York law, however, there are a number of different offenses that criminalize behaviors that could be considered “sexual assault.”
The penalties for sexual assault vary depending upon the age of the victim and whether violence or coercion was involved in the sexual behavior. All sex crimes, however, are serious offenses. Sex crimes can result in jail time, a permanent criminal record, and required registration as a sex offender. If you are accused of sexual assault, you must take the accusations very seriously and respond by getting the best legal representation possible.
The Law Offices of Adam M. Thompson, P.C. represents clients accused of sex crimes, and we can put our legal experience to work for you. Contact us as soon as possible after your arrest or after you are questioned in connection with sexual assault.
Sexual Assault in New York
Article 130 of the New York Penal Law lists prohibited sex offenses. Many types of sexual behavior are criminalized, including the following:
- Rape in the Third Degree: Sexual intercourse with someone incapable of giving consent for reasons other than being underage; or sexual intercourse when over 21 with someone under age 17. Penalties include a maximum of four years of incarceration for this Class E felony.
- Rape in the Second Degree: Sexual intercourse by someone age 18 or over with someone 15 or under; or sexual intercourse with someone who cannot give consent due to mental incapacity. Penalties include a maximum of seven years of incarceration for this Class D felony.
- Rape in the First Degree: Sexual intercourse by compulsion; sexual intercourse with someone who cannot consent because he is physically helpless; or sexual intercourse with someone under age 11, or by someone aged 18 or older with someone 13 or under. Penalties include a maximum of 25 years incarceration for this Class B felony.
- Predatory Sexual Assault: First-degree rape; aggravated sexual abuse or a criminal sexual act affecting multiple victims; by someone with a prior conviction for a similar offense; that causes serious physical harm; or that involves the use or threat of a dangerous instrument. Penalties include a maximum of 10 years of incarceration and a maximum 25 years in prison for this Class A-II felony.
- Predatory Sexual Assault Against a Child: A person over 18 committing the act of rape in the first degree; a criminal sexual act in the first degree; aggravated sexual abuse in the first degree; or a course of sexual conduct against a child in the first degree when the victim is 13 or under. This is also a Class A-II felony and those convicted will serve between 10 and 25 years in prison.
These are just a few of many crimes in New York that could be classified as sexual assault. Because there are many types of crimes involving coerced sex or sexual conduct with someone underage, it is essential to understand the charges you face. An experienced attorney at The Law Offices of Adam M. Thompson, P.C. can represent clients accused of sexual assault crimes.
Getting Legal Help from a Seasoned New York City Criminal Defense Lawyer
Defenses to charges of sexual assault include:
- Consent: The victim was over the age of consent and gave permission for the sex acts.
- Insufficient evidence: The prosecutor is not able to prove illegal sexual conduct occurred or that you were the perpetrator of the acts. There is a lack of corroborating evidence or forensic evidence linking you to the crime. The burden of proof is on the prosecutor and he/she has to be able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you were involved in the crime. Often, in sex crime cases with only the testimony of the alleged victim and no other corroboration or forensic evidence, reasonable doubt can be argued.
- Mistaken identity: The alleged victim is confusing you for someone else and you did not engage in the wrongful conduct.
- False accusations: Some accusers lie intentionally, such as ex-spouses in a contentious divorce. Some alleged victims, especially children, may be misled into making false accusations.
The Law Offices of Adam M. Thompson, P.C. can help you to introduce doubt as to your guilt, keep illegally-obtained evidence out of court, or raise appropriate defenses. Our experienced New York City criminal defense lawyers can also help you to negotiate a plea bargain.
If you have been accused of sexual assault or another sex crime, you need to start protecting your rights and your reputation today. Call the Law Offices of Adam M. Thompson, P.C. at (212) 267-2424, or use our convenient contact form now. We proudly serve clients throughout New York State and New Jersey.