It is important to understand the difference between criminal sexual abuse and criminal sexual assault. Sexual assault, the greater of the two crimes, involves sexual penetration without consent. Also called rape, it is among the most serious crimes and carries severe, long-lasting, and life-altering consequences.
There are a number of factors which can elevate a simple criminal sexual assault charge to aggravated sexual assault. Primarily these factors are designed to protect those who are powerless to protect themselves and additionally prevent violent, non-consensual sexual acts.
Aggravating factors typically raise the charge to a Class 1 or Class X felony, the two highest tier felony charges. Some examples include:
There is an additional set of laws called predatory criminal sexual assault, which involves a victim under 13 years of age. This is different from statutory rape, which involves sex with a minor, that is, someone under 17 years of age. Under Illinois law, even consensual sex with a minor is illegal, as their ability to make decisions is not fully formed and they may be manipulated into sexual activity.
All aggravated criminal sexual assault charges are Class 1 or Class X felonies and carry extreme penalties upon conviction. Class 1 felonies result in 4-15 years of prison time and up to $25,000 in fines without the possibility of probation. Class X felonies carry 6-30 years of prison time and up to $25,000 in fines, also without the possibility of probation. Depending on the circumstances and aggravating factors, the sentence can be double to up to 60 years in prison, as in the case of a second offense or predatory sexual assault.
Because sexual assault offenses, and aggravated offenses in particular, are so serious and complicated, it is imperative to contact an experienced and qualified lawyer immediately. An aggressive defense attorney can help ensure your rights and future are protected. If your rights have been violated, it is possible to have the case dismissed.
Other possible defenses include arguing for actual innocence, mistaken identity, and reasonable evidence that the defendant was unaware that the victim was a minor. Whatever the details of your case, give your freedom the best outlook possible by immediately contacting a criminal defense lawyer while your memory is still fresh.
Kerr & Schmiege are nationally recognized criminal defense lawyers for DuPage County, including the cities of Wheaton, Naperville, Aurora, Westmont, Oak Brook, and Lombard. Give your future the best chance with our highly skilled defense strategies and understanding of prosecutor tactics. Contact us immediately to ensure your rights are upheld to the fullest extent of the law.
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