Sexual assault penalties often make headlines for not being tough enough. The six-month sentence assigned to Brock Turner, for example, caused rage throughout the country. Compare that to two men from Illinois who were recently sentenced to 18 years behind bars for sexually assaulting a woman who was barely conscious.
A third man was involved the sexual assault case, and has not been sentenced yet. Will he get 18 years behind bars as well? The answer will only come with time.
The difference between six months and 18 years behind bars is huge. If you are facing sexual assault charges, it is important to know how much time you could face behind bars so you can create the most effective defense strategy.
Below are a handful of factors that affect how penalties for sexual assault work in the state of Illinois. Each case is different, so be sure to consult a lawyer with specific questions about your charges.
Criminal sexual assault is a class 1 felony in Illinois. A range of penalties is already included in Illinois state law. If convicted, Illinois law dictates that penalties should range from 4-15 years in a state prison and/or fines of up to $25,000.
These penalties are just for a single criminal sexual assault charge, and this crime only applies to the sexual assault of an adult. “Aggravated criminal sexual assault” is a more serious crime than criminal sexual assault, and may result in more penalties. This is a class X felony with increased penalties.
The Age of the Victim
The same applies to sexual assault crimes that involve a child; Illinois calls this act “statutory rape.” Statutory rape is a class 1 felony, but if the alleged victim is under the age of 13, the charge is elevated to a Class X felony.
Prosecutors may ask for penalties on the higher end of the scale based on how young the child was at the time of the alleged sexual assault.
Sexual assault charges are also elevated to a Class X felony if the person has sexual assault convictions on their record already. Penalties for a Class X felony include a minimum of six years in prison, and up to 30 years behind bars. Fines up to $25,000 may also be given to the offender. Any evidence of a criminal record may call the prosecution to ask for a sentence closer to the maximum time behind bars; a record shows a pattern of criminal behavior.
Your Relationship to the Alleged Victim
A crime is considered “domestic violence” if it is committed against a spouse or significant other, housemate, parent, or child. If the alleged sexual assault was an act of domestic violence, you may face increased penalties. Domestic violence offenders often have to abide by restraining orders and may lose the right to own or purchase a firearm.
It is important to remember that while prosecutors may ask for a certain set of penalties, a judge may not agree. In the end, it is up to the judge as to how long your sentence is if you are convicted.
No Conviction? No Penalties
It is possible to walk away from a sexual assault charge without any jail time or heavy fines. Build a strong defense against your charges and you may be able to get them dropped or dismissed. An experienced Illinois defense lawyer can walk you through your case and what you need to do in order to avoid jail time and other penalties.
About the Author:
Andrew M. Weisberg is a former felony prosecutor who now serves as a defense attorney in the greater Chicago area. He has extensive experience in handling all types of criminal cases, from sex offenses and domestic violence to retail theft-related crimes, murder, and drug crimes.