CRIMINAL SEXUAL ASSAULT
Defending Against Sexual Assault Charges – Illinois Criminal Defense Attorneys
Sexual AssaultA sexual assault charge brings with it the looming possibility of a conviction and a lengthy prison sentence, as well as the stigma of being labeled a sexual offender for the remainder of the accused’s life. This disgrace not only impacts the person being charged with the crime, but close friends and family members. Despite the impulse to hide from the reality of your situation, it is imperative to act quickly to find the right criminal defense attorney. There are many reasons that may have led to the charges that you are facing, including false allegations. However, no matter what has led to the situation in which you now find yourself, you need to find an expert attorney who will defend you without judgment. Sexual-based crimes are almost always prosecuted because of the public outcry and scrutiny that the government faces in bringing the bad guy to justice. This means that there are many times when the evidence and facts may not justify the charges that are pursued. A knowledgeable criminal defense attorney who is aware of the mob mentality that seeks revenge and the fact that many of these cases are not what they seem is able to construct an effective defense.
Developing a Zealous Defense to Sexual Assault Charges
As a Chicago attorney, Thomas Nguyen is committed to defending the rights of those accused of crimes and has amassed his expertise through more than 20 years of fighting for justice for the accused. Mr. Freidberg focuses his skills on developing the most effective defense available for those individuals charged with sexual assault. Crimes of a sexual nature automatically trigger a gut reaction in those involved with the case and harsh conclusions are reached quickly. The resulting shame leads many alleged offenders to stumble in protecting their rights. Mr. Freidberg and his team of associates and investigators are waiting to provide an aggressive defense free of any negative judgment. Mr. Freidberg knows that evidence often is suspect, the science is not infallible, law enforcement officers may be biased, and witnesses are not always truthful. In representing his clients, Mr. Freidberg will review every aspect of the case and will develop a credible defense that may lead to dismissal of the charges or a sentence that has the minimal penalties possible. Conviction of sexual assault will lead to a lifetime of negative consequences, so you need a committed advocate on your side.
Sexual Assault Charges under Illinois Law
Sexually-based offenses, particularly the ones that involve children, are amongst the most serious prosecuted in the State of Illinois. Prosecutors will devote a disproportionate amount of time and resources to convict someone charged with a sexual offense. Sexual assault charges may vary depending on the facts of the case. The most commonly charged offenses include:
- Sexual assault;
- Aggravated sexual assault;
- Predatory criminal sexual assault; and
- Forcible rape.
Criminal sexual abuse (commonly known as statutory rape) and other sexual offenses involving a child under the age of 17 years are discussed under the sexual abuse page.
In Illinois, an individual may be charged with sexual assault if he or she penetrates another person in a sexual way and the circumstances involve the following:
- Penetration through the use of force or threat of force;
- Sexual penetration when the person lacks the capacity to consent or does not understand the sexual nature of the act;
- Sexual penetration when the victim is less than 18 years of age and related to the offender;
- Sexual penetration when the victim is less than 18 years of age, but older than 13 years and the defendant is more than 17 years of age and is in a position of supervision or trust.
(See 720 ILCS 5/11-1.20). Sexual penetration must involve intrusion into the assault victim’s genitals or actual contact between the offender’s genitals and the mouth, anus, or genitals of the victim.
In Illinois, a sexual crime where one spouse assaults another is treated no differently under the law from other criminal sexual assault.
Defenses against a Charge of Sexual Assault
The consent of the victim is a defense to a charge of sexual assault through the use of force or threat of force if the victim is more than 17 years of age. However, the consent must be specific to the act at issue in the charge and may not be from a prior sexual encounter or from sexual activity preceding the act for which the defendant is being charged.
Penalties for Sexual Assault
Criminal sexual assault is punishable as a Class 1 felony, with potential prison time from four (4) to fifteen (15) years, as well as a fine that could be as much as $25,000. Each additional offense is punished with more severe penalties.
The punishment for aggravated sexual assault depends upon the circumstances of the crime. Sentences typically range from six (6) years up to thirty (30) years to life in prison. The defendant may be fined up to $25,000. If a person is charged and convicted of a subsequent sexual assault crime, then he or she faces life imprisonment. And if the defendant is charged with more than one count, those penalties can be added together, resulting in even more prison time.
Sexual assault charges are subject to more severe penalties if:
- The victim was given a controlled substance by the defendant without the victim being aware of it;
- A weapon is used or displayed, or the defendant is armed with a weapon even if it is not specifically referenced;
- The victim is harmed;
- The life of the victim or a third-party is threatened or endangered;
- The sexual assault occurred while another felony was being committed; or
- The victim is:
- More than 60 years of age;
- Physically handicapped; or
- Severely mentally disabled.
(See 720 ILCS 5/11-1.30, 720 ILCS 5/11-1.60).
Additional Considerations for Those Convicted of Sexual Assault
Conviction of a sexual assault crime mandates lifetime registration as a sexual offender. This means that every time the offender relocates to a new location, he or she must register with the local law enforcement department or agency. In addition, the personal information of the sex offender often is posted on public web pages established to track the movements of convicted sex offenders. These online groups often notify the neighborhoods into which the offender is moving, making it difficult, and sometimes impossible, to live there. Being a registered sex offender limits job opportunities and creates ongoing social ostracism.
Thomas Nguyen Provides Aggressive Defense to Sexual Assault Charges
Thomas Nguyen Law Firm is a Chicago attorney with more than 20 years experience defending individuals against criminal charges. Mr. Freidberg is ready to mount an effective defense if you have been charged with sexual assault. Mr. Freidberg understands that being charged with a sex crime may make someone apprehensive about sharing his or her story, but he is ready to learn the facts of your case and do everything possible to find the best solution. Sexual assault cases involve evidence, witness testimony, and investigative reports. Skilled experts will provide analysis and strategy in order to create a strong response to the prosecutor’s case. By undertaking a thorough review, digesting all of the facts, and evaluating the evidence, Mr. Freidberg will work with you to achieve the best outcome.
Thomas Nguyen and his associates are available for a free, no-obligation, consultation in order to review the facts of your case and arrive at some preliminary strategies, so call us at 713.517.7139, or email us to learn how we can help.