We’ve pointed out in the past that when it comes to sexual offenses, one of the basic and essential concepts of criminal law – that a defendant is innocent until proven guilty – seems to vanish. Another example of this phenomenon appeared in an article…
What can be considered sexual assault in New York City?
Sexual assault is a heinous crime. It is perpetrated on both men and women, the young and the old, people with sound minds and bodies and the physical or mentally challenged. In New York they take these charges very seriously. Not only do they have a large group of well-trained law enforcement and prosecutorial staff to deal with people accused of this type of offense, they also have a set of clearly defined guidelines about exactly what is considered a sexual offense according to New York state law. It is therefore important for people charged with sexual assault to retain competent, experienced, legal representation.
Penal Law Article 130
In New York State, sexual offenses are adjudicated under Penal Law Article 130. It’s part of 52-point bill passed by the State legislature in 2001 called the Sexual Assault Reform Act. This law, which has since been amended numerous times, attempts to clearly lay out what acts are chargeable sexual offenses. As with many laws, Penal Law Article 130 can still be difficult to understand and enforce. That’s why people charged under this law should immediately contact a good attorney for advice.
What Is Considered Sexual Assault?
In New York State sexual assault is broadly defined as sexual contact without consent. Penal Law Article 130 goes on to define what is considered sexual contact and what is seen as lack of consent by a victim.
Broadly speaking, sexual contact is defined as sexual intercourse, anal or oral sexual conduct, touching people’s intimate parts or sex organs under or over clothing,or inserting foreign objects into intimate areas. Sexual contact also includes intentional and forcible touching including squeezing, grabbing, or pinching whether under or through clothing for sexual gratification. Involving a child in the use or promotion of sexual performances, sexual acts with a dead body, an animal, or a non-consenting person, female genital mutilation, drug-facilitated rape, and persistent sexual abuse are all considered sexual contact. Course of sexual conduct against a child, predatory sexual assault, and the commission of a sexually motivated felony also qualify as sexual contact or sex crimes.
As you can see, the list is long and varied. It usually takes an experienced defense attorney to help clarify whether or not sexual contact took place. The issue of consent can sometimes be just as or even more confusing. It also often requires the assistance of an attorney to ascertain whether or not consent was given.
What Is Consent?
New York penal law says lack of consent takes place when there is forcible compulsion, one partner is physically helpless, mentally incapacitated, is not old enough by statue to give consent, or is mentally disabled. There are also certain relationships in which it’s not possible for the victim to give consent. A jailer/prisoner relationship is one example of this.
Sexual assault is a very serious offense. It is punishable by up to 7 years in prison under New York law and as much as 20 years of incarceration under federal law. If you have been charged with sexual assault in New York City, it is wise to immediately seek legal advice. Failure to do so can lead to a long prison sentence, fines, being barred from certain areas and professions, and having your name placed in the sex offender registry.