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NY Penal Law § 130.20: Sexual Misconduct

Sexual misconduct is a sex crime. Under the New York Penal Code section 130.20 you have committed sexual misconduct if you do any of the following:

  • Engage in sexual intercourse with another person without that person's consent
  • Engage in oral sex or anal sex with another person without that person's consent
  • Engage in sexual conduct with an animal or a corpse

The New York Penal Code has specific definitions for "sexual intercourse," "oral sexual conduct," and "anal sexual conduct." Sexual intercourse has its ordinary meaning-- a penis penetrating a vagina. It does not matter if the penetration was not complete. Any penetration is enough for there to be sexual intercourse for the purpose of a charge of sexual misconduct or any other sex offense that requires sexual intercourse. Oral sexual conduct refers to sexual contact between the mouth of one person and penis of another person, the mouth and the anus, or the mouth and the vagina or vulva. Anal sexual conduct means contact between the penis and the anus.


A man who is 25 years old places his mouth on the breasts and vagina of a 15 year old girl. In such a case there would have been no consent because the 15 year old girl was too young to have the legal capacity to consent to oral sex. Therefore, the man could be prosecuted for sexual misconduct.

Related offenses
  1. Forcible touching: New York Penal Code section 130.52
  2. Sexual abuse in the third degree: New York Penal Code section 130.55
  3. Sexual abuse in the second degree: New York Penal Code section 130.60

If you can show that the accuser consented to the sex act, or that you reasonably believed that there was consent, you may have a valid defense to a charge of sexual misconduct. Keep mind, however, that this defense would not work if the victim did not have the capacity to consent.

Another possible defense is the statute of limitations. If the event occurred more than 2 years prior to when you were charged, then the statue of limitations bars prosecution. However, if the person who accuses you of sexual misconduct was less than 18 years old at the time of the incident, the limitations period does not begin to run until the person turns 18 years old or until the incident is reported to law enforcement.


Because sexual misconduct is a class A misdemeanor the maximum possible sentence is confinement in jail for up to a year. A probation term of 6 years is also a possibility particularly if you do not have a prior criminal record. Regardless of whether or not your sentence is jail or probation, if you are convicted of sexual misconduct under the New York Sex Offender Registration Act (SORA) you will be required to register as a sex offender for 20 years or more.

New York Penal Code 130.20: Sexual misconduct.

A person is guilty of sexual misconduct when:

  1. He or she engages in sexual intercourse with another person without such person`s consent; or
  2. He or she engages in oral sexual conduct or anal sexual conduct with another person without such person's consent; or
  3. He or she engages in sexual conduct with an animal or a dead human body.
Contact the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates

The consequences of being charged or convicted of sexual misconduct are far reaching, affecting many aspects of not only your life, but of the lives of your family members. There may be many possible defenses to a sexual misconduct charge that only an experienced New York sexual misconduct lawyer will understand and be able to effectively apply to your case. The staff at the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates has years of experience successfully defending clients in New York criminal courts who have been charged with sex crimes such as aggravated sexual abuse, criminal sexual act in the first degree as well as other sex crimes such as sexual misconduct, criminal sexual act, forcible touching, sexual abuse, sexual conduct against child, female genital mutilation, and facilitating a sexual offense with a controlled substance. Contact us at 800.696.9529 to schedule a free, no obligation consultation regarding your case. We represent clients in the Bronx, Brooklyn, Long Island, Manhattan, Nassau County, Queens, Staten Island, Suffolk County and Westchester County.

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