In Chicago, allegations of sexual assault are not taken lightly. Chicago prosecutors will do their best to convict anyone who is arrested and charged with sexual assault. A felony conviction can force you to spend years in prison, pay extraordinary fines, attend mandatory counseling, and even register with the state as a sex offender. A conviction for sexual assault in Chicago has the potential to change your life forever. The best way to limit these negative consequences is by hiring an experienced Chicago sexual assault attorney to defend you.
At the Kostopoulos Law Group, our sexual assault attorneys have more than 30 years of combined legal experience. With a team of legal professionals that includes former prosecutors, we are uniquely suited to defend criminal defendants in Chicago. We understand how the prosecution will approach a case and can use that knowledge to stay one step ahead. Our attorneys will aggressively fight to make sure that your rights are protected and that you are given every opportunity to defend yourself.
Sexual Assault vs. Sexual Abuse
Sexual abuse, as defined in 720 ILCS 5/11-1.50, is the crime of engaging in unlawful sexual conduct. Sexual conduct is basically touching the genitals, anus, or female breast without consent or knowledge. Teens who engage in underage sex can also be guilty of sexual abuse. Sexual abuse can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony.
As we will see, sexual assault generally refers to rape. Sexual assault is always a felony offense. As a result, the consequences of a conviction for sexual abuse may not be as severe as those for sexual assault.
Sexual Assault Laws
Sexual assault, as defined in 720 ILCS 5/11-1.20, is the crime of engaging in unlawful sexual penetration. The statute lists four specific situations where sexual penetration would be unlawful.
- Sexual penetration using force or the threat of force.
- Sexual penetration with the knowledge that the victim is unable to understand the situation or unable to give knowing consent.
- Sexual penetration with a family member under the age of 18.
- Sexual penetration as a person of authority with a victim between older than 13 but younger than 18.
Sexual penetration is broadly defined to include a variety of sexual acts. Sexual assault can result from any of the following:
- Any contact between the sex organ/anus of one person and an object or the sex organ, mouth, or anus of another person;
- Any intrusion of any part of the body of one person or of any animal or object into the sex organ/anus of another person.
Criminal charges for sexual assault can result from vaginal intercourse, oral sex, anal intercourse, or any other penetration of a sex organ.
Aggravated Sexual Assault
When the crime of sexual assault is particularly violent or dangerous it may be elevated to the crime of aggravated sexual assault. Aggravated sexual assault carries a harsher penalty. You can face charges for aggravated sexual assault if you commit a sexual assault and:
- Use a dangerous weapon;
- Inflict bodily harm;
- Make threats of bodily harm against the victim and/or someone they care about;
- Also commit another felony offense at the same time;
- The victim is over the age of 60;
- The victim is under the age of 9;
- Use force when the victim is between the ages of 9 and 13;
- The victim is disabled;
- The victim is handicapped;
- You administer a controlled substance to the victim without consent; and/or
- You discharge a firearm.
Criminal Penalties for Sexual Assault in Chicago
Sexual assault is a Class 1 Felony. In Chicago, a Class 1 Felony conviction carries a possible sentence of 4-15 years in prison.
Sexual assault can be charged as a Class X Felony if you are over the age of 18 have been previously convicted of criminal sexual assault or exploitation of a child. In Chicago, a Class X Felony carries a possible sentence of 30-60 years in prison.
Aggravated Sexual Assault
Aggravated sexual assault is a Class X Felony. The specific penalties will depend on the facts and circumstances of each specific case. However, aggravated sexual assault carries a possible sentence of 6-30 years in prison, with the possibility of life. Up to 25 years can be added to a sentence if a firearm is used during a sexual assault. Aggravated sexual assault is a non-probationable offense. This means that a conviction will result in at least some time in prison.
Subsequent aggravated sexual assault convictions will result in a sentence of life in prison.
Chicago Sex Offender Registration
In Chicago, anyone who is convicted of a sex offense must register as a sex offender. Criminal sexual assault and aggravated criminal sexual assault are specifically listed as types of sex offenses. Registered sex offenders often find it difficult to adjust to life after they have completed their criminal sentence. Registered sex offenders in Chicago may have difficulty:
- Finding a stable and/or good paying job;
- Finding a place to live;
- Maintaining professional licenses;
- Visiting schools and public parks; and
- Visiting locations frequented by children.
Sex offenders are required to register each year for at least 10 years. In some situations, a conviction for sexual assault can require registration each year for life. Information about registered sex offenders is maintained in a database that can be searched by the public. This can include your name, address, photograph, and information about your crime.
Fighting the criminal charges against you with an experienced Chicago sexual assault attorney will help to reduce the chances of a conviction.
Defenses to Sexual Assault
Even if you have been formally charged with the crime of sexual assault in Chicago, it does not automatically mean that you will be convicted. The prosecutor will be required to establish that you are guilty of each element of the crime. Your attorney will take every opportunity to undermine the prosecution’s ability to build a successful case against you. Defenses that your Chicago sexual assault defense attorney may argue include:
- False accusation/actual innocence;
- Sexual penetration never occurred;
- Consent of the alleged victim;
- Mistake of age, when appropriate;
- Lack of required intent; and
- Violation of constitutional rights.
Chicago Sexual Assault Defense Attorney
If you have been arrested for sexual assault in Chicago you should not hesitate to contact an attorney. The prosecution will begin to investigate and build a case against you the moment you are arrested. Hiring an experienced Chicago sexual assault attorney to defend you will limit the prosecution’s ability to do their job successfully. At Kostopoulos Law Group, we are committed to aggressively defending our clients against the criminal charges they face. We will thoroughly investigate each case and use the evidence we gather to attack the prosecution’s case. This can result in the reduction or dismissal of criminal charges.
With more than 30 years of combined experience, the Chicago sexual assault attorneys at Kostopoulos Law Group are well-equipped to help you fight back after your arrest. The sooner you call us, the sooner we can get to work on your defense. Contact our office today to schedule a free consultation.