How You Can Defend Yourself against a Chicago Sex Crime Charge
The consequences for sex crimes are serious and can be life-altering. Sometimes allegations of sex crimes are not based on the facts, and unfortunately false testimonies do happen. It’s important to know the defenses available to you if you are facing sex crime charges in Chicago so your reputation and livelihood can be protected.
Any non-consensual sexual contact falls into the category of sex crimes. Unwanted touching of sexual organs, sexual assault (rape), sexual battery, and molestation are included. Acts of prostitution and solicitation are also sex crimes, even though the contact may be consensual.
It’s vital to seek professional legal help if you are accused of a sex crime. Convictions mean jail or prison time, along with steep fines and long probation sentences. The negative effects on your reputation and career can last for decades. Your personal relationships may also suffer greatly.
Additionally, if you are convicted of sexual abuse, battery, or assault, it’s likely that you will be required to register as a sex offender. No matter where you live, you will carry this sentence with you and your personal information will be available for public view, including your photo, home address, and conviction.
Luckily, there are ways to fight back and defense strategies that a skilled Chicago criminal lawyer will understand how to implement. In this area of the law, it’s often the alleged victim’s word against yours, as witnesses are not usually present. That can open up a number of potential options for defenses.
Sometimes children falsely accuse their parents of molestation out of anger or contempt, or because the other parent provokes the child to make a false accusation. Sometimes adults make false accusations as well, both on purpose and due to genuine mistake.
Whether the charges are founded or not, the courts take allegations of sex crimes very seriously. The investigation into the charges can wreak havoc on your personal life and reputation.
If you have an alibi that you were not present at the scene, your charges can be dropped. Be prepared to have credit card receipts, hotel reservation confirmation numbers, and other corroborating evidence to support your alibi. DNA evidence can also be used to accurately prove whether you were at the scene of the crime or not.
Remember, the prosecution must be able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt the guilt of the defendant. If this is not possible, the charges can be dropped.
If you can show that the alleged victim provided consent for the sexual act to take place, you may not face a conviction. This defense is subject to the interpretation of the judge and the jury, since it is almost impossible to prove with hard evidence.
This defense is more likely to stand if no reckless or irresponsible behavior was involved on the behalf of the defendant. This defense does not usually work when the alleged victim is a minor or someone with incapacitated mental facilities, who is unable to knowingly consent to the act.
Insanity or Mental Incapacity
A defendant who experiences mental incapacitation at the time of the sex crime may have charges reduced or dropped. This defense normally applies only in rare cases.
Why You Absolutely Have to Fight Back against Illinois Sex Crime Charges
Currently, some states are proposing limits to the scope of lifetime sex offender registration, especially if the defendant is a juvenile. Unfortunately, right now those are just proposals. Unless laws are revised, those facing sex crime convictions face heavy, long-lasting penalties.
Penalties for Chicago sex crimes break out in these categories, which can be explained in detail by an experienced attorney:
- Class A misdemeanor for criminal sexual abuse, which applies to juvenile defendants who acted upon minors. They may face up to one year in jail.
- Class 4 felony for using force or threat of force, or if the victim was unable to give consent. This sentence comes with 1 to 3 years in prison and has the option of probation.
- A second offense is a Class 2 felony with 3 to 7 years in prison, and includes the option of probation.
- Aggravated criminal sexual abuse is a Class 2 felony with 3 to 7 years of prison time.
Remember, there are ways to fight back against and potentially beat your charges, but in order to do so you need to seek the help of an experienced Chicago defense attorney as soon as possible. They can assist you in managing your case with discretion and tact, and work to protect your reputation in a difficult time.
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.