Chicago Sexual Assault and/or Abuse Lawyer

If you are being investigated or you have been charged with a sex crime, you are facing a serious situation. Aside from looking at possible jail or prison time and heavy fines, your life can be impacted in many other ways as well. The most detrimental of these collateral consequences is being placed on the sex offender registry, which will potentially follow you around for the rest of your life. In addition, you may find it difficult to live in certain neighborhoods and to find or hold a job even after you have been released from prison.

Sexual assault is an umbrella term that is used to include all kinds of unwanted sexual contact between two people, including rape, sexual abuse, and many forms of sexual battery. Mounting a strong defense is key to any kind of sexual assault or sexual abuse claim against you. Building a defense should begin as soon as you are aware of your situation. From my years of practice in Chicago and Cook County, one of the first things I focus on is determining what motive the alleged victim may have to fabricate the accusations. I also look at whether the case involves DNA and if my client made any purported admissions during interrogation by police detectives.

Most cases involving sexual assault or sexual abuse, charges against you will be at a state level, which is good news compared to being charged at a federal level. State level charges will vary from state to state, but generally federal charges only come into play when sex crime victims are transported from state to state or internationally. Sex crimes involving minors may also cause federal charges to come into play.

Predatory Criminal Sexual Assault

Being charged with predatory criminal sexual assault is among the most serious of all sexual assault charges. A conviction for this crime means that a defendant is guilty of a Class X felony, and provides that a person must be sentenced to between 6 and 30 years in prison.

Under Illinois law, predatory sexual assault is defined as sexual penetration where the accused is 17 or older and the victim as 12 or younger. Additional factors that are considered; include whether or not the defendant carried a firearm at the time of the alleged crime, and whether or not they discharged the firearm, or caused great bodily harm that resulted in a life-threatening injury or permanent disability.

In cases where a firearm is used, a prison sentence may be extended to anywhere from 15 to 50 additional years. In some cases, an offender may also be sentenced to life in prison. A mandatory sentence of life in prison will occur if a defendant is convicted of a second predatory criminal sexual assault charge.

Aggravated Criminal Sexual Assault

A charge of aggravated criminal sexual assault in Illinois is also considered a Class X felony and is also punishable by a prison sentence of 6 to 30 years. Using a firearm during the commission of this crime can extend the term of the sentence from 10 to 25 additional years, and in some instances, may result in life in prison.

In mounting a defense against aggravated criminal sexual assault, I will also need to consider the aggravating factor or factors that led to this charge. Attacking and casting doubt on the role that the aggravating factors played in the charge is one of the keys to working toward a lesser charge or even a dismissal in some cases.

A person may be charged with aggravated criminal sexual assault if they commit criminal sexual assault plus one or more aggravating factors that include:

  • Committing the crime while using a dangerous weapon.
  • Inflicting bodily harm.
  • Threatening a victim or another person’s life.
  • Committing another felony.
  • Committing sexual assault on a person who is 60 years of age or older.
  • The victim was physically handicapped.
  • The defendant drugged the victim.
  • The defendant discharged a firearm while committing the sexual assault.
  • The defendant discharged a firearm and caused great bodily harm or death to another person.

Aggravated Criminal Sexual Abuse

While criminal sexual abuse may be charged as either a misdemeanor or as a felony, with aggravated criminal sexual abuse, the charge is always a felony. If convicted of this type of crime, a defendant is guilty of a Class 2 felony and can be sentenced from 3 to 7 years in prison.

But charges can be raised from a criminal sexual abuse charge to a felony aggravated criminal sexual abuse if one or more of the following aggravating circumstances is present:

  • The defendant used a dangerous weapon.
  • The defendant caused bodily harm.
  • The victim was 60 years of age or older.
  • The victim was physically handicapped.
  • The defendant threatened the life of the victim or another person.
  • The defendant committed another felony.
  • The accused drugged the victim.

In addition, there are several aged-based scenarios involving the commission of criminal sexual abuse that raise the charge to aggravated criminal sexual abuse.

It is best to consult with me immediately if you are facing any form of these kinds of charges, as the laws are complicated and mounting a defense is also an extensive process.

Criminal Sexual Assault

Depending on what you are charged with and the individual circumstances of a crime, there are several possible defenses that can be mounted to give you the best chance at being found innocent or negotiating a plea down to lesser charges.

Throughout my career defending against charges of criminal sexual assault, I have been able to employ multiple defenses, including:

Innocence – This is the most straightforward defense and works well when there is a credible alibi supported by forensic and eyewitness evidence. In some cases, I may also introduce DNA evidence to show a defendant did not commit the crime they are charged with.

Consent – In cases where sexual relations did take place, I may be able to show to a jury and the courts that the victim’s words and actions made the act a consensual one. It is up to the prosecutor to prove that the sex act in question took place against the will of the victim, but introducing enough evidence to cast doubt may be enough to sway a case in my client’s favor.

Mental incapacity– To be charged and convicted of a sex crime, a person must be mentally capable of understanding they committed a crime. Sometimes, I am able to show a diminished mental capacity, which may lead to a greater degree of leniency or a dismissal of charges.

Criminal Sexual Abuse

While a charge of criminal sexual abuse is still a cause for concern, the good news is that it is the only sex crime in Illinois that may be charged as a misdemeanor in some instances. This is not always the case, but depending on the circumstances of a case, there is leeway for either a misdemeanor or a felony charge to come into play. While a verdict of not guilty is always the primary goal, it is my mission to do everything I can as your defense attorney to work toward the lesser charges, if at all possible.

Under Illinois law, a conviction of a misdemeanor criminal sexual abuse charge is punishable by a maximum of up to one year in jail. A person can also have their sentence reduced by as much as 50 percent for good behavior. However, if convicted of a felony criminal sexual abuse charge, they can be facing up to three years in prison for a first offense and up to seven years in prison if they are found guilty of a second felony offense.