New York Sexual Abuse

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Like rape, sexual abuse is a sex crime. While the punishment for sexual abuse is not as severe as the punishment for a rape conviction, both crimes are taken seriously by prosecutors and both will be aggressively prosecuted. Sexual abuse is considered both by law enforcement and by society in general to be a particularly repugnant crime. Even without a conviction, the mere accusation of sexual abuse is enough to seriously damage the accused's reputation. Sexual abuse is the crime of subjecting someone to sexual contact without that person's consent. Depending on the circumstances of the sexual contact, there are three different degrees of seriousness of sexual abuse. A conviction of any sexual abuse crime will result in you being added to the list of registered sex offenders. Because of the grave consequences of being accused of a sex crime, as soon as you learn that you are suspected of sexual abuse, it is crucial that you contact an experienced New York Sexual Abuse Lawyer who will review the facts of your case and aggressively defend you against the charges.

  • New York Sex Crimes
  • New York Penal Law and Child Molestation
  • New York Penal Law and Child Pornography
  • New York Penal Law and Child Sexual Assault
  • New York Penal Law and Cyber Sex Crimes
  • New York Penal Law and Date Rape
  • New York Penal Law and Failure to Register as a Sex Offender
  • New York Penal Law and Criminal Fondling
  • New York Penal Law and Indecent Exposure
  • New York Penal Law and Lewd Acts
  • New York Penal Law and Possession of Child Pornography
  • New York Penal Law and Rape
  • New York Penal Law and Sexual Abuse
  • New York Penal Law and Sexual Assault
  • New York Penal Law and Sexual Battery
  • New York Penal Law and Sex with a Minor
  • New York Penal Law and Statutory Rape

Definition of Sexual Abuse

There are three different degrees of the crime of sexual abuse: sexual abuse in the third degree, sexual abuse in the second degree and sexual abuse in the first degree. Each sexual abuse charge has two essential elements: sexual abuse and lack of consent. For the purpose of the sex crimes statute, sexual abuse is not the same as sexual intercourse. Sexual intercourse means penetration of the vagina with the penis. N.Y. Pen. Law § 130.00(1). Sexual abuse means subjecting another person to "sexual contact." Sexual contact is defined as touching of the sexual or intimate parts of another person for sexual gratification. N.Y. Pen. Law § 130.00(3). Sexual or intimate parts are not specifically defined, but include the vagina, penis, anus, rectum, buttocks, breasts, lips and mouth. Included in sexual contact is ejaculation onto another person.

Lack of consent means that the other person was not a willing participant in the sexual contact. Even if the other person appears to have consented to the sexual contact, or initiated it, if the person does not have the capacity to consent, then he or she legally did not consent. There are a number of circumstances under which a person would be deemed to not have consented to sexual contact. If he or she is physically helpless, suffers from a mental disability, suffers from a mental incapacity, or is very young, then he or she would not have the ability to consent to sexual contact. In addition, if you used physical force, then there was no consent to the sexual contact.

Types of Sexual Abuse

Sexual abuse in the third degree is the least severe sexual abuse charge. You will be charged with sexual abuse in the third degree if you subject another to sexual contact without that person's consent. It is a Class B misdemeanor. N.Y. Pen. Law § 130.55

Sexual abuse in the second degree is the charge you will face if you subject another person to sexual contact and that person is incapable of consenting for any reason other than being less than 17 years old, or that person is less than 14 years old. It is a Class A misdemeanor. N.Y. Pen. Law § 130.60

Sexual abuse in the first degree is the charge you will face if you subject another person to sexual contact by forcible compulsion. You will also face this charge if the other person is physically helpless, less than eleven years old, or if you are at least 21 years old and the other person is less than 11 years old. It is a Class D felony. N.Y. Pen. Law § 130.65

Being Arrested for Sexual Abuse

If you are accused of sexual abuse in the third degree or the second degree, because they are misdemeanors the arresting officer has the option of having you processed though Central Booking or issuing a Desk Appearance Ticket (DAT). If you are issued a DAT the ticket will list the offense as well as the date and time of your arraignment hearing. If you are not given a DAT, when you are arrested and after you are processed at the local police precinct, you will be transferred to Central Booking. You will remain in Central Booking for several hours until you it is time for you to go before a judge at your arraignment. At the arraignment you will be given a Complaint that will list the charges against you. You may be charged with a sexual abuse charge, or you may be charged with other crimes. The prosecutor will make a recommendation to the judge about bail. The judge will ultimately decide if bail is required, if you should be released on your own recognizance, or held without bail. Lastly, you will learn the next time you will be required to appear in court.

After your arraignment there may be several meetings and hearings about your case. Before going to trial you may be able to reach an agreement with the prosecutor that allows you to plead guilty to a less serious charge that will result in you being given a lighter sentence than if you are convicted at trial. You have the option of accepting the deal, or instead standing trial.

Defenses to a Sexual Abuse Charge

There are several defenses to a sexual abuse charge. Since lack of consent is an essential element to a sexual abuse charge as well as to any charge related to a sex crime, if there was consent then you have valid defense. This means that you would have to show that there was no force, that the other person did not suffer from a mental disability or a mental incapacity, or that the other person was not physically helpless.

The statute of limitations may provide another defense to a charge of sexual abuse. Because sexual abuse in the first degree is a felony, the statute of limitations is 5 years. N.Y. Crim. Pro. Law § 30.10. For sexual abuse in the third degree and second degree, the statute of limitations is 2 years as they are misdemeanors. If you are not prosecuted within the limitations period, then you can never be prosecuted. If the victim was less than 18 years old at the time of the incident, then statute of limitations starts when he or she turns 18, or when the incident is reported to law enforcement.

For purposes of sexual abuse in the third degree, a statutory affirmative defense against the charge exists where the other person is between 14 and 17 years old and you are less than 5 years older than that person. N.Y. Pen. Law § 130.55.

Sentence for a Sexual Abuse Conviction

The sentence you will face for a sexual abuse conviction varies depending on the sexual abuse charge.

Sexual abuse in the third degree. This is a Class B misdemeanor. If convicted the possible sentence is up to 3 months in jail.

Sexual abuse in the second degree. This is a Class A misdemeanor. If convicted the possible sentence is up to 1 year in jail.

Sexual abuse in the first degree. This is a Class D felony. If convicted the possible sentence is up to 7 years in prison.

In addition to being sentenced to jail or prison, you may also be sentenced to probation. For a misdemeanor sex crime conviction the probation is 6 years. For a felony sex crime conviction the mandatory probation sentence is 10 years. With probation comes detailed rules that restrict certain aspects of your life. For example, you may have a curfew. You may be required to stay away from certain people and places. You will be required to have a job or diligently seek one. You will be assigned a probation officer to whom you must regularly report. If you do not follow the rules, you may end up in jail.

As a result of being convicted of sexual abuse, you will have a criminal record and you will have to register as a sex offender. N.Y. Cor. Law § 168. This is the case even though sexual abuse in the third degree and sexual abuse in the second degree are misdemeanors. Having a criminal record with a sex crime conviction and being a registered sex offender will make many aspects of your life more challenging. As a sex offender, you will be required to register with law enforcement regularly. If you move, you will have to let law enforcement in your new jurisdiction that you are a sex offender. Your status as a sex offender may be made public so that anyone will be able to go online and find your name and address on the sex offender list. You may have a difficult time finding a job.

If you are facing a sex abuse charge, you should immediately consult an experienced New York Sex Abuse Lawyer. The laws related to sex crimes are complicated, as is New York criminal procedure. The staff at Stephen Bilkis & Associates, PLLC has years of experience successfully defending clients in New York criminal courts who are accused of sexual abuse as well as other sex crimes such as rape, forcible touching, and criminal sexual act. 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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