Nassau County Child Sexual Assault

In New York it is against the law to have sex with a child. A child is a person who is less than 17 years old. Under the New York Penal Code, you will have committed sexual assault if you have sex without the consent of the other person. The law provides that with a few specified exceptions, children lack the ability to consent to sex. Thus, if you have sex with someone who is less than 17 years old, you could face a child sexual assault charge. N.Y. Pen. Law § 130.05(3). If you do, you will have committed what is often commonly referred to as "statutory rape." Depending of the age the child, you may face additional sex crimes, as well as other types of crimes such as offenses related to child endangerment. The younger the child, the more serious the charges you will face. The penalties for sexually assaulting a child may be a sentence of years and years in prison, as well as the designation as a registered sex offender. Because of the seriousness of being charged with sexually assaulting a child, if you are accused of having sex with a child, you should immediately contact an experienced Nassau County Child Sexual Assault Lawyer who will review the facts of your case and work closely with you to develop a strong defense in order to fight this charge.

What are the types of child sexual assault?

There are several sexual assault crimes related to having sex with a child.

  • Rape in the third degree. Rape in the third degree is the charge you will face based on the sexual assault of a child if you are at least 21 years old and have sexual intercourse with a child who is less than 17 years old. It is a Class E felony. N.Y. Pen. Law § 130.25
  • Rape in the second degree. You will face this charge if you are 18 or older and have sexual intercourse with a child who is less than 15 years old. For this charge you also must be four or more years older than the child. It is a Class D felony. N.Y. Pen. Law § 130.30.
  • Rape in the first degree. Rape in the first degree is one of the most serious types of sexual assault. You will face this charge if you have sexual intercourse with a child who is age 11 or younger, or if you are at least 18 years old and have sexual intercourse with a child who is less than 13 years old. N.Y. Pen. Law § 130.35. It is a Class B felony.
  • Criminal sexual act in the third degree. This type of sexual assault involves having oral or anal sex with a child who is younger than 17 years old. N.Y. Pen. Law § 130.40. It is a Class E felony with a possible sentence of up to 4 years in prison.
  • Criminal sexual act is the second degree. Criminal sexual act in the second degree is the sexual assault charge that you will face if you are at least 18 years old and the child is younger than 13 years old, or you are at least 4 years older than the child. N.Y. Pen. Law § 130.45. It is a Class D felony with a possible sentence of up to 7 years in prison.
  • Criminal sexual act in the first degree. Criminal sexual act is a type of sexual assault that includes oral or anal sex with a child who is younger than 11, or with a child who is younger than 13 if you are at least 18 years old. It is a Class B felony. N.Y. Pen. Law § 130.50. The possible sentence is up to 25 years in prison.
  • Sexual abuse in the third degree. Sexual abuse in the third degree involves having sexual contact with a child who is 15 or 16 years old and you are at least 5 years older than that child. It is a Class B misdemeanor with a possible sentence of up to 3 months in jail. N.Y. Pen. Law § 130.55. Sexual contact is defined as the touching of the intimate sexual parts of another person for the purpose of sexual gratification.
  • Sexual abuse in the second degree. You will face this sexual assault charge if you have sexual contact with a child who is less than 14 years old. N.Y. Pen. Law § 130.60. It is a Class A misdemeanor with a possible sentence of up to 1 year in jail.
  • Sexual abuse in the first degree. You will face this sexual assault charge if you have sexual contact with a child who is less than 11 years old. N.Y. Pen. Law § 130.65. It is a Class D felony with a possible sentence of up to 7 years in prison.
  • Sexual misconduct. You would have committed sexual misconduct if you have oral sex, anal sex, or sexual intercourse with a child who is less than 17 years old. N.Y. Pen. Law § 130.20. It is a Class A misdemeanor with a possible sentence of up to 1 year in jail.
  • Course of sexual conduct against a child in the second degree. You will face this charge if you subject a child to sexual conduct at least 2 times in a period of at least 3 months where the child is less than 11 years old. You will also face this charge if you are at least 18 years old and the child is under 13 years old. It is a Class D felony with a possible sentence of up to 7 years in prison. N.Y. Pen. Law § 130.80.
  • Course of sexual conduct against a child in the first degree. This charge is similar to the charge of course of sexual conduct against a child in the second degree, except for first degree the sexual assault of the child the sexual conduct involves sexual intercourse, oral sex, anal sex, or aggravated sexual conduct. N.Y. Pen. Law § 130.75. It is a Class B felony with a possible sentence of up to 25 years in prison.
  • Predatory sexual assault against a child. If you cause physical injury or use the threat of physical injury while committing certain specified types of child sexual assault, and you are at least 18 years old and the child is under 13 years old, you will face the very serious charge of predatory sexual assault against a child. It is a Class A-II felony. N.Y. Pen. Law § 130.96. If convicted you face a minimum of 10 years in prison and a maximum of 25 years.

Furthermore, if you are charged with child sexual assault, you may also face the charge of endangering the welfare of a child. N.Y. Pen. Law § 260.10.

What defense can I use to fight a child sexual assault charge?

There may be several different defenses to a charge of child sexual assault based on the facts of your particular case. Two defenses or exceptions are specifically mentioned in the New York sex crimes statute: the Romeo and Juliet exception and the marriage exception.

Romeo and Juliet exception. New York sexual assault statutes are very specific about the age requirements for the charge to apply or not apply. The so-called Romeo and Julie rules provide an exception from certain sexual assault charges for someone who has what would otherwise be consensual sex with a child. For example, an 18 year old will be charged with rape in the second degree if he or she has sex with a 14 year old child, but will not face such charges if he or she has sex with a 15 year old child due to the Romeo and Juliet exception written into the statute. However, the Romeo and Juliet exception does not apply to anyone who has sex with someone who is under 11 years old regardless of the age difference. In other words, even under the Romeo and Juliet exception it is not legally acceptable to have sex with a child who less than 11 years old.

Marital exception. In cases where you and the child are legally married and the sexual assault charge is based on lack of consent due to age, then the marital exception applies and you will have a valid defense against a charge of child sexual assault. N.Y. Pen. Law § 130.10.

Neither the Romeo and Juliet exception or the marital exception will protect you if you are charged with child sexual assault based on using physical compulsion. Physical compulsion is defined as the use of physical force or the use of a threat of death, physical injury, or kidnapping. N.Y. Pen. Law § 130.00(8)

What happens during arrest and arraignment?

If you are arrested for aggravated sexual abuse in the third degree, you will be first processed at a local police precinct, and then you will end up in Central Booking where you will remain until your arraignment hearing. The arraignment is the first time that you will appear before a judge, and it is the hearing at which you will be formally charged. During the arraignment you might be surprised to learn that the charges against you are different from what you expected. While you were in Central Booking waiting to be the arraigned, the prosecutor will have had the chance to review the facts of your case as well as your personal background and criminal history. Based on this information the prosecutor makes a decision as to which charges are appropriate.

At the arraignment the judge will let you know whether or not you will be required to post bail and if so, how much. Whether or not the judge will require bail and the amount of bail will be based on how much of a flight risk the court determines you to be. Finally, you will learn when you must appear in court next.

After the arraignment more hearings will occur. At some point you may strike a plea deal with the prosecutor in which you agree to plead guilty to the original charges or to lesser charges. If no plea deal is agreed upon, then your case will eventually go to trial.

If I am convicted, what sentence will I receive?

Aggravated sexual abuse in the third degree is a Class D felony. New York criminal law requires that the sentence for a Class D felony conviction be up to a maximum of 7 years in prison. There is not required minimum sentence. If you are a first time offender it is possible that the judge will sentence you to no prison at all and just sentence you to a probation term of 10 years. However, if you do have a prior felony offense you will face a mandatory minimum sentence of at least 4 years in prison. N.Y. Pen. Law § 70.06.

Probation. While probation is more appealing than prison, it may present challenges for you as you will be subjected to several restrictions. With probation comes a set of rules that you are required to follow. Depending on the nature of the crime you were convicted of and your personal background, these rules may include:

  • you must not commit a crime
  • you must have a job
  • you must support your family
  • you must refrain from drinking excessive alcohol
  • you must refrain from using controlled substances
  • you must refrain from associating with other felons
  • you must refrain from patronizing disreputable places
  • you must report to your probation officer on a regular basis
  • you cannot leave the jurisdiction without permission
  • you must pay restitution to you victim

If you break any of the conditions of your probation a judge may send you to jail.

Sex offender registration. If you sexually assault a child or commit any sex crime, you will be required to follow the registration rules of the Sex Offender Registration Act. N.Y. Cor. Law § 168. You will remain on the sex offender registry for at least 20 years, and perhaps for the rest of your life. If you are Level 2 or Level 3 offender, meaning that you pose a substantial risk of re-offending, you will remain on the list for the rest of your life, and your name will be made public. This means that anyone will be able to go online and find out that you are on the sex offender registry. All registered sex offenders must verify their addresses with law enforcement each year, and must inform law enforcement of a new addresses within 10 days of moving. If you move out of state, you must register as a sex offender under the rules of your new jurisdiction.

If you are facing a child sexual assault charge, you should immediately consult an experienced Nassau County Child Sexual Assault Lawyer. The staff at Stephen Bilkis & Associates, PLLC has years of experience successfully representing clients in New York criminal courts who were accused of statutory rape, sexual assault, endangering the welfare of a child, failure to register as a sex offender as well as other crimes. Contact us at 1.800.NY.NY.LAW (1.800.696.9529) to schedule a free, no obligation consultation regarding your case. We serve those accused of sex crimes in the following locations:

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