Illinois Sex Crimes: All You Need To Know
Sex crimes have the ability to majorly derail the lives of all involved. Those convicted of sex crimes face not only jail time and other penalties, but also must face public scrutiny long after the conviction.
That is why someone facing allegations of sex crimes must thoroughly understand the charges against them as well as the steps that should be taken to protect themselves during criminal proceedings.
Here’s what everyone should know about sex crimes in Illinois, including how they’re investigated, charged, and ultimately what penalties can result if someone is found guilty.
What Is a Sex Crime in Illinois?
In Illinois, certain crimes are considered sex crimes. They include but are not limited to:
- Sexual Assault
- Aggravated sexual assault
- Sexual Assault of a Child
Investigation of Sex Crimes
Many different methods are used by Illinois police to investigate sex crimes in the state. In some scenarios, victims may alert law enforcement to the crime by reporting the incident. In others, law enforcement may play a more active role in the investigation, with officers specially trained in sex crimes who take on the cases and conduct investigations.
What If You’re Convicted of a Sex Crime in Illinois?
What may be faced as a potential penalty for those found guilty of sex crimes varies, depending on the circumstances of the case, as well as any prior criminal history on the defendant’s part. All sex crimes are serious and treated harshly by the state In the event of a conviction, you’re likely to face jail time as well as other penalties.
One penalty that most people want to avoid if convicted of sex crimes is registering as a sex offender. However, you may not have much choice.
Many different crimes in Illinois require registration as a sex offender if found guilty, such as:
- Sexual assault
- Aggravated sexual abuse
- Public indecency after three or more convictions
- Solicitation of an adult
Each crime is further defined by sex crime laws in the state.
Sexual assault, for example, occurs when someone sexually penetrates:
- Another person with the threat of force or use of force
- Someone who is unable to give consent
- Someone under the age of 18 who is a family member
A person can also be charged with sexual assault if they hold authority over the victim or are in a position of trust, if the victim is between the ages of 13 and 18.
A few of the crimes require registration as a sex offender. Once a person is convicted of certain sex crimes, they must register as a sex offender – and failing to do so is itself a felony. That is in addition to other penalties as well, such as time in prison.
For example, someone convicted of sexual assault for the first time faces as many as 15 years of incarceration. For a second offense, it’s a Class X felony, which can send someone to prison 60 years to life.
For some very serious sex crimes, a person may be labeled by the state as a sexually violent person, increasing any penalties they may receive. This could include longer sentences, placement in correctional facilities, and confinement if they are deemed an offender who is likely to re-offend.
Registration As a Sex Offender
If someone is required to register as a sex offender, it means that, after they are released from prison, they must register for a certain number of years depending on the crime. Sometimes the mandatory registration time period encompasses the rest of their life.
Sex offenders must report their address and other personal information to law enforcement. They pay any fees that are associated with the registration process. Sex offenders are required to pay a portion of their monitoring costs, too.
If a person must register as a sex offender, they also will be restricted as to where they can live and work. They cannot be close to parks or schools, nor can they work at them. Being a sex offender is something that can change a person’s life forever.
How To Defend Yourself
If you’re accused of a sex crime in Illinois, there’s a lot on the line. That’s why you need an experienced attorney to help guide you through the process – and be on your side to ensure you’re treated fairly and that your full rights are honored.
You must understand your rights in any situation involving the law. Take advantage of your right to defend yourself against charges so serious that they have the potential to change your life forever.
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. His work has been recognized by Avvo, Expertise, National Trial Lawyers, and others, and he has been featured on countless news outlets for his experience and knowledge in criminal law.