When an adult is accused of sexually assaulting another adult, the charge is a 2nd degree felony (punishable by 2 to 20 years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine). Regardless, there may be other factors of the case that raise the charge to a 1st degree felony. The Penal Code explicates several circumstances that would make a sexual assault case aggravated, and thus, punishable by 5 to 99 years, or life, in prison and up to a $10,000 fine. Further, a conviction requires you to register as a sex offender for life. A sex offender has to give the sex offender registry their name, address and information about the crime at least once a year. Further, the sex offender has to go to law enforcement and submit to finger printing, picture taking, and provide a DNA sample. Much of this information is made available to the public. Registration can have serious, life-long consequences, including difficulties in finding employment and housing.
The legislature considers an encounter aggravated sexual assault if the defendant:
1. causes serious bodily injury or attempts to cause the death of the victim or another person in the course of the same criminal episode;
2. by acts or words places the victim in fear that death, serious bodily injury, or kidnapping will be imminently inflicted on any person;
3. by acts or words occurring in the presence of the victim threatens to cause the death, serious bodily injury, or kidnapping of any person;
4. uses or exhibits a deadly weapon in the course of the same criminal episode;
5. acts in concert with another who engages in conduct described by Subdivision directed toward the same victim and occurring during the course of the same criminal episode; or
6. administers or provides flunitrazepam, otherwise known as rohypnol, gamma hydroxybutyrate, or ketamine to the victim of the offense with the intent of facilitating the commission of the offense;
7. Or if the victim is an elderly individual or a disabled individual.
Accordingly, the factors that elevate a sexual assault case to an aggravated one—a 1st degree felony charge—often involve gravely violent acts, the use of date rape drugs, or nearly defenseless victims.
In Aggravated Sexual Assault case, the prosecutor not only has to prove that the sex was non-consensual but has to prove one of the above elements beyond a reasonable doubt.
The main defenses against such allegations are that the interaction was consensual, the allegations are false, or there is a mistaken identity.
Consent is generally the primary issue in sexual assault cases. The prosecutor will often have to attempt to prove non-consent through circumstantial evidence. Paul Doyle will uncover all the facts and fight to bring reasonable doubt to the issue of consent.
False allegations are common in sexual assault cases, often arising during nasty divorce proceedings, a custody dispute, or a breakup. Paul believes the best way to confront false allegations is to fight fire with fire. Paul will aggressively dive into the entire circumstance of the accusation and uncover the bias or improper motivations of the accuser.
Paul Doyle is an Aggravated Sexual Assault Attorney who has the experience and tenacity to win your case. Contact him today for a case evaluation.