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New York Sexual Assault Frequently Asked Questions

What Is Sexual Assault?

In New York “sexual assault” is a general term to describe any of several sex crimes that involve the nonconsensual touching or contact of sexual nature. Criminal offenses that are types of sexual assault include rape, criminal sexual act, sexual abuse, and predatory sexual assault. While there are a few types of sexual assaults that are classified as misdemeanors, the vast majority of them are felonies. This means that if a defendant is convicted of sexual assault, the penalty that the defendant will have to face will likely include going to prison.

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What Is Sexual Touching or Contact?

According to New York law sexual touching or contact is the knowing, purposeful touching of a sexual or intimate part of another in order to gratify the sexual desire of either person. The touching may be accomplished either directly to the person’s body or through the clothing. It can also mean ejaculation on any part of the victim’s body, clothed or unclothed.

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What Is the Difference Between Sexual Assault and Aggravated Sexual Assault?

Like sexual assault aggravated sexual assault involves the unwanted sexual contact of a sexual or intimate part of another person. The difference is that aggravated sexual assault involves the defendant inserting a finger or a foreign object into the vagina, urethra, penis, rectum or anus of the victim as part of the sexual assault. An aggravated sexual assault is considered a more violent and more serious crime and as a result has increased penalties. Whenever the assault is aggravated, the crime is a felony.

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Are There Instances Where Touching or Contact Is Not a Sexual Assault?

In New York there is a statutory exception that describes when an unwanted touching of another person’s intimate or sexual parts would not be a crime. For example, when a health care provider touches the intimate part of another person for a valid medical reason, that person would not have committed a sexual assault or aggravated sexual assault.

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What Is Sex Offender Registration?

One of the consequences of being convicted of sexual assault is that the defendant will be required to register as a sex offender under New York’s Sex Offender Registration Act (SORA). SORA requires defendants convicted of most misdemeanor or felony sex assault offenses such as rape, sexual misconduct and predatory sexual assault to register with the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS). You must register a photograph, your address, the school you are attending, and your employment information. If you move, you must let the DCJS know. Sex offenders must register for at least 20 years. In some cases sex offender registration details are viewable by the public.

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Can I Get a Sexual Assault Conviction Sealed?

Defendants who have been convicted of sexual assault and who are required to register under SORA are not eligible to have their records sealed. While other felonies can be sealed after a number of years, sexual assault records cannot be. This means that if a defendant is convicted of practically any type of sexual assault including rape, sodomy, sexual abuse, luring a child, or sexual misconduct, such a conviction cannot be sealed.

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Being accused of a sex crime is serious. It is important that you understand the process, and have experienced representation. With over two decades of experience representing clients in New York who have been charged with serious felonies, the sexual assault attorneys serving clients in New York at the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates have the knowledge and resources to vigorously defend you throughout the entire criminal process. Contact us at 800.NY.NY.LAW (800.696.9529) to schedule a free, no obligation consultation regarding your case. We serve clients in the following locations: Bronx, Brooklyn, Long Island, Manhattan, Nassau County, Queens, Staten Island, Suffolk County and Westchester County.

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