Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney Defending Clients against Sex Crimes Charges
The term sex crime entails a number of different crimes that vary by state, however, they all generally involve an illegal, unwanted, or coerced sexual act against another individual. Sexual offenses can be committed against an adult or a minor, someone of the same gender, as well as between spouses. If charged with a sex crime, the suspect is labeled a sex offender and will be required to register their name in a national database that keeps track of these type of criminals. As many of us know from popular television shows and publicized trials, these crimes can leave the convicted with a tarnished reputation as well as lengthy prison sentences and restrictions that last a lifetime.
There may be no category of crime that carries a stronger stigma or has the potential to do more damage to your reputation than sex crimes. Even the mere accusation of a sex crime can cause your closest friends to question everything they know about you. A conviction for any sex crime can do irreparable harm to your future and earn you a permanent spot on the Illinois sex offender registry, among other penalties. If you have been accused of any type of sex offense, you should seek the advice of an experienced criminal defense lawyer immediately.
Criminal sexual abuse and assault in Illinois pose some of the most serious charges someone can get charged with. Unlike charges such as retail theft, DUI, or weapons possession, there is a victim that is making the accusation that they were harmed, and that the defendant was the cause of that harm. To make matters worse, there is also a stigma associated with a sexually based charge and people feel hopeless defending themselves against an unspeakable crime. A person faced with such charges needs to consult with an attorney immediately and refrain from making any potentially harmful statements to law enforcement.
The punishment associated with a sex crime will depend on the nature of the crime, the level of offense as classified under the federal law, the age of both parties, as well as the possibility that the criminal will commit a sex based crime again. The federal law sets the bar for what the punishment should be, while states can choose to enact laws that permit harsher punishment. If convicted under federal law, the perpetrator will most likely have to adhere to the requirements of the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SONRA) that requires all sex offenders in the United States maintain current registration of their residence, school attendance, employment status, among other conditions. If he or she fails to do so, they may be subject to hefty fines and up to 10 years in prison.
Tier I Offenses include:
- Public indecency
- Possession of child pornography
- Sexual contact without consent
Tier II Offenses include:
- Trafficking or transportation of children for sexual activity
- Sexual acts with minors between ages 12 – 15
- Prostitution of minors
- Attempted rape or conspiracy to commit rape
- Production or distribution of child pornography, among others.
Tier III Offenses include:
- Sexual assault, including where the victim was unconscious, not consenting, under force/duress, unable to consent due to mental impairment or disability, under the age of 12 years old, was impaired due to the use of drugs or alcohol, or any conspiracy to commit any of the above mentioned assault charges.
As mentioned prior, each state has their own set of specific laws that will govern the accusation of a sex crime. These crimes include those listed in Tier I, as well as those crimes against children, aggravated sexual assault, sexual abuse and aggravated sexual abuse. Punishment for the more serious crimes such as aggravated sexual assault or sexual assault of a minor can result in up to 30 years in prison as a first offense or can land a repeat offender life in prison.
Under Illinois law, a suspect can be charged with criminal sexual assault when they first commit sexual penetration against another individual and either (1) use threat of force, (2) know victim cannot consent due to inability to understand the act or give consent, (3) is a relative of the criminal and under 18 years old, or (4) is between 13 and 17 years old and has a relationship of authority, trust, or power with the criminal. This is considered a Class 1 Felony for a first time offender, resulting in up to 15 years in prison, however, additional mandatory minimum sentencing guidelines may be required.
A criminal has committed a Class X felony for aggravated criminal sexual assault in Illinois when any of the above listed requirements are met, and any of the following factors are displayed: (1) use or threat with dangerous weapon, (2) causing bodily harm to the victim, (3) victim is over 60 years old, (4) victim is given controlled substance and then sexual assault occurs, (5) victim is under the age of 9, or if between 9 and 13 – there is a threat of force used, (6) victim is mentally disabled to a severe degree, or (7) the offense is committed during the commission over another felony.
Crimes against children in Illinois include: predatory criminal sexual assault of a child; criminal (including aggravated) sexual abuse; indecent solicitation of a children and solicitation to meet a child. Predatory criminal sexual assault of a child in Illinois occurs when the suspect is over 17 years old but the victim is under 13 years old and sexual penetration occurs, or the victim is under 13 years old and the criminal is either (1) is armed with a firearm, (2) discharges the firearm, (3) causes great bodily harm to the victim resulting in permanent disability, or (4) delivers a controlled substance to a minor without their consent.
Criminal Sexual Abuse
Criminal Sexual Abuse is codified in 720 ILCS 5/11-1.50 and states that it occurs if the person commits an act of sexual conduct by the use or threat of force or commits an act of sexual conduct and the victim is unable to understand the nature of the act or give consent. This will give rise to a charge of a class 4 felony, punishable by 1-3 years in the Illinois Department of Corrections. This applies only for first offenders. Subsequent offenses will result in a higher class felony and other circumstances can lead to a charge of Aggravated Criminal Sexual Abuse.
Criminal sexual abuse can be a class A misdemeanor under two circumstances:
- If the defendant is under 17 years old and commits sexual penetration or conduct with a victim who is between 9 and 17 years old. 720 ILCS 5/11-1.50(b).
- If the defendant commits sexual penetration or conduct with a victim who is at least 13 years old but under 17 years old and the defendant is less than 5 years older than the victim. 720 ILCS 5/11-1.50 (c).
Aggravated Criminal Sexual Abuse
Aggravated criminal sexual abuse is criminal sexual abuse plus any of the following aggravating factors:
- Dangerous weapon
- Bodily harm
- Victim over 60 years or over
- Victim physically handicapped
- Threatening life of victim or other
- Commission of other felony
- Accused delivery of any controlled substance to the victim.
These circumstances will increase the penalty to a class 2 felony, punishable by 3-7 years in the Illinois Department of Corrections.
The statute of limitations on filing a sexual abuse allegation against a child resulting in a misdemeanor is within 10 years after the child reaches 18 years old, within 20 years of turning 18 if charging for a felony such as predatory criminal sexual assault or aggravated criminal sexual abuse, or in some situations, within 5 years of the date that the victim of abuse discovered that childhood sexual abuse occurred and their injuries resulted therefrom. This statute of limitations is currently being brought to the public’s attention for change, as those accusing former Speaker of the House and Illinois resident, Dennis Hastert, of sexual abuse while he was their wrestling coach were not initially allowed to bring their claims since the statute lapsed.
Chicago Sex Crimes Lawyer Defending Against Sex Crimes Charges in Illinois
Sex offenses are taken very seriously by prosecutors even when the evidence is scant. In most, but not all cases, the offenses involve only two people. There are no other eye witnesses and the evidence used in court is typically the victim’s testimony and DNA evidence. Denial is one defense strategy. If you are being accused of criminal sexual abuse or assault and there is no scientific evidence to prove that it occurred, the State will have to rely solely on the testimony of the victim. If however, scientific evidence proves that a sexual act occurred, the defense will often hinge on the issue of consent. Either way, the majority of sexual abuse and assault cases are based largely on the testimony of the alleged victim.
There is a lot at stake in a case involving an alleged sex offense, and Sami takes his obligation to his clients very seriously. You can rely on him to do everything in his power to beat the charges against you. He will work to uncover any false allegations and work to clear your name so that you can begin to restore your reputation.
You can expect attentive, creative and quality legal representation in sex crime charges, including:
Free Consultation with a Chicago Defense Lawyer
While these crimes can be difficult to hear about or understand, everyone deserves their day in court and chance to prove their innocence if necessary. Some of the defenses for sex crimes include: proving innocence by way of alibi, challenging accusers motivation as to why charges are being brought, suppressing certain evidence in order to not taint the jury, or that the act was consensual between the parties.
Contact Sami Azhari today to discuss your sex crimes charge and learn more about what he can do to help you. If you would like to reach Sami quickly and directly, please call his cell phone 24/7 at (312) 626-2871 or (847) 255-2100. The consultation is free. For your convenience, weekend appointments are available.