If you are charged with criminal sexual assault, you might wonder if you face a lifetime in prison. The prospect of spending your life behind bars is a scary one. If you face an accusation or a conviction, you need to understand the charges you are up against.
Do you want to know more about the penalties associated with criminal sexual assault in Illinois? Keep reading to learn more.
What Is Criminal Sexual Assault?
In Illinois, an individual commits sexual assault if they commit sexual penetration by using force (or a threat of force), if they know the victim is unable to give consent, if the victim is a minor family member, or if they hold a position of trust or authority over the minor victim.
In the case of Illinois, sexual penetration refers to even slight contact between sex organs, the mouth, or the anus. Additionally, consent refers to a freely given agreement to the act in question. Use of force or threats of force are not grounds for consent.
Sometimes, the court decides to reduce a charge from criminal sexual assault to something less severe based on the evidence available. As a result, criminal sexual assault may not be the final charge you face in court, but it could be the initial charge you are arrested on.
What Factors Amp Up a Sexual Assault Charge?
If you are convicted of sexual assault containing certain circumstances, you may face steeper consequences as an aggravated sentence. Aggravated crimes are associated with some element making the crime “worse” or more dangerous.
For example, you face hefty charges if you threaten to use a dangerous weapon against the victim or if you cause bodily harm to the victim. The same applies if the victim was over the age of 60, physically handicapped, or was drugged.
What Are the Punishments for Sexual Assault?
Sexual assault is a Class 1 felony in Illinois. The consequences of this felony include up to 15 years in prison and fines not exceeding $25,000. An aggravated sentence could lead to additional prison time, and multiple sexual assault offenses mean you could face a lifetime behind bars.
The judge may also order that you register as a sexual offender for the rest of your life. No matter where you move, you must register with the authorities. Your personal information, including your photo and address, could be visible to the public if you register. On the other hand, failure to register could lead to additional jail or prison time.
Of course, you may also face social consequences if you are convicted. People who learn about your criminal record may not feel comfortable with you. Additionally, different companies and organizations may feel less comfortable hiring you, and homeowners may not want to rent to you.
Can You Avoid a Prison Sentence for Sexual Assault?
An attorney works hard to decrease the chances you will spend time in prison if you are accused of sexual assault. The defense your attorney establishes for you is based on the evidence he or she brings to court. Your defense is also based on refuting the evidence presented by the prosecution.
You may be able to avoid a prison sentence if you have a strong criminal defense attorney to fight on your behalf. You can also avoid a prison sentence if your attorney is able to reduce the charges you face.
Daniels, Long & Pinsel is a legal team that offers services to people in your situation. Simply because you are accused of sexual assault does not mean you are guilty, but you still need to fight back with a strong defense. Call our legal team to get started on the right track.