Has someone accused you of sexually assaulting them?
Whether the allegations are based upon forcible touching, date rape or predatory sexual assault, the State of New York harshly punishes sex crimes and you need a qualified attorney representing you. Although sexual assault is not usually as serious of a crime as rape, your life can be substantially disrupted by allegations of sexual assault or battery.
One of the primary reasons for this is the social interest in preventing and dissuading sexual assaults, child molestation and rape. Prosecutors and the general public do not want violent sexual predators roaming the streets and as such we throw the proverbial “book” at those accused of sexual crimes. From a criminal defense standpoint, this is extremely troubling because the notion of “innocent until proven guilty” often gets convoluted in the interest of swift justice.
If you are facing these charges in New York City, Westchester or Long Island don’t allow your rights to be trampled. If charged and proven to be guilty, you may face spending years in jail, along with having to be a registered sex offender for the rest of your life. Don’t discuss the facts of the case with the police and contact an experienced criminal defense lawyer immediately!
How will my case be affected by the Sexual Assault Reform Act?
The Sexual Assault Reform Act of 2000 is one of the most sweeping revisions to New York criminal law in many years. This law built upon Section 130 of the Penal Code that deals with sex crimes in several ways:
- By establishing harsher punishments for crimes such as date rape
- Creating the crime of “forcible touching”
- Expansion of the age ranges that define who qualifies as a child under sex crime laws
- By increasing the reporting requirements for convicted sex offenders so that more information about their whereabouts and internet usage are available to police
As you can imagine, this law makes criminal defense attorneys’ jobs harder because there are more factors to be considered when building your defense case. However, there are still many tools available to the skilled defense practitioner. In order for you to be convicted of a sex crime, it must be proven that the victim didn’t give consent and/or wasn’t able to do so at the time of the sexual encounter.
In the case of date rape or forcible touching, cases are often dismissed because there is no way for the prosecution to prove lack of consent. Many cases are based entirely on word of mouth with little actual proof of unlawful sexual contact. George Vomvolakis knows how to effectively and efficiently use these considerations to build your defense.
Is sexual assault different than rape?
The answer is yes and no and depends on the facts of the individual case. Like rape, sexual assault is a general term that can refer to many different actions. For the sake of explanatory purposes we have divided rape and sexual assault under different headings on this website. Whereas rape is generally a violent, forceful act of sexual intercourse, sexual assault generally refers to less serious sexual crimes. Some of these crimes are as follows:
- Forcible Touching – You may be charged with this offense if you intentionally, and for no legitimate purpose, forcibly touched the sexual or other intimate parts of another person for the purpose of degrading or abusing them; or for the purpose of gratifying your sexual desires. This offense includes groping, squeezing, pinching or fondling the other person and is charged as a Class A misdemeanor under Penal Code 130.52.
- Facilitating a sex offense with a controlled substance – You may face criminal charges for this offense if you knowingly and unlawfully possessed a controlled substance or any preparation, compound, mixture or substance that requires a prescription to obtain and you administered that substance to another person without their consent and with intent to commit one of the sexual felonies listed in Penal Code Section 130. You may also be criminally liable for attempting to carry out this act. Facilitating a sex offense with a controlled substance is a class D felony.
- Predatory sexual assault – You may be charged with a predatory sexual assault if you commit the crime 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, if, in the course of committing the crime or in your immediate flight therefrom, you caused serious physical injury to the victim; or you used or threatened the immediate use of a dangerous weapon. You may also be criminally liable if you engaged in conduct constituting the crime of rape in the first degree, criminal sexual act in the first degree, aggravated sexual abuse in the first degree, or course of sexual conduct against a child in the first degree against one or more additional persons; or if you have previously been subjected to a conviction for any felony listed under Penal Code 130. This is a class A-II felony carrying a minimum sentence of 10 years imprisonment.
- Predatory sexual assault of a child – Under Penal Code Section 130.96 you may be criminally charged if you are over the age of 18 and you committed the crime of rape in the first degree, criminal sexual act in the first degree, aggravated sexual abuse in the first degree, or course of sexual conduct against a child in the first degree and the victim is less than thirteen years old. This is also an A-II felony.
All sexual crimes must be taken very seriously
As you can see from some of the potential punishments listed above, any allegations of a sexual crime must be dealt with swiftly and competently. Years in prison and/or lifetime registration as a sexual offender can ruin your family, reputation and career. A skilled criminal defense lawyer can help you to cast doubt on the state’s case.
Some potential defenses may include: showing that the alleged victim consented to the sexual encounter, that evidence was obtained illegally, that DNA evidence does not point to you or that you were not of a prescribed age at the time the incident took place. Only an attorney with the knowledge and experience of a former prosecutor can build the best defense strategy for you. Call our offices today for a free case evaluation!