Any criminal conviction has the potential to radically change the offender’s life. However, sexually-based offenses are often punished especially harshly. If convicted of a sex crime, you may face significant jail time as well as mandatory registration on the public sex offender list. Conviction for a sex crime such as sexual assault can virtually destroy your personal and professional reputation. If you or a loved one have been accused of sexual assault, rape, sex abuse, or another sex-based offense, securing skilled legal counsel should be your first priority.
Innocent Until Proven Guilty
Criminal accusations must be proven “beyond a reasonable doubt.” This is the highest burden of proof that exists in American law. As a criminal defendant accused of sexual assault, you need to cast doubt on your guilt. Your lawyer may do so on your behalf using many different defense strategies. Unfounded accusations of sexual assault may be easily disproven if there is not enough evidence against the defendant. The defendant may also be able to use an alibi to avoid conviction. For example, if a man is accused of raping a woman but employment records show that he was out of town for work that night, he may avoid conviction.
The defendant may also be able to deny culpability by asserting that the sexual encounter was consensual. However, this often becomes a he-said, she-said situation. A skilled criminal defense lawyer can help a defendant accused of sexual assault gather evidence and build a strong defense strategy.
Penalties for Sexual Assault in Illinois
Because sex crimes are considered especially cruel, the penalties associated with sexual assault and other sex crimes are harsh. In Illinois, criminal sexual assault is a Class 1 felony punishable by a prison sentence of 4 to 15 years. However, the charge may be enhanced to aggravated sexual assault if certain factors are present.
An individual may be charged with aggravated sexual assault if he or she allegedly committed sexual assault and:
Used a dangerous weapon
Inflicted bodily harm
Threatened the victim’s life or another person’s life
Committed the sexual assault during the commission of another felony
Delivered a controlled substance such as a “date rape drug” to the victim
Discharged a firearm
Aggravated sexual assault charges may also be based on the demographic of the victim. Certain categories of people are protected by law. Sexual assault may be enhanced to aggravated sexual assault if the victim is over 60 years old or disabled. The age difference between the victim and the alleged perpetrator can also lead to aggravated sexual assault charges.
Contact a Rolling Meadows Sexual Assault Defense Lawyer
If you or a loved one were accused of sexual assault, contact Scott F. Anderson, Attorney at Law for help. Arlington Heights criminal defense attorney Scott Anderson can provide the tenacious legal defense you need. Call 847-253-3400 for a free and confidential consultation.