Sexual Assault: When Is It Aggravated in IL?
Sexual assault charges are serious, and sex crimes in general are some of the harshest offenses to face in a court of law.
Sexual assault is an underreported crime in Illinois, but the reported cases of it are still very high across the country and in the state of Illinois. And while sexual assault is itself a serious crime that can lead to time behind bars and steep fines, the consequences can get even worse.
There are some factors that can elevate a sexual assault case to the even more serious felony of aggravated sexual assault. Read on to find out how this happens and what can be faced if found guilty.
Sexual Assault: What Is It?
Under the law in Illinois, if there is sexual penetration with the threat of force or actual use of force, or the victim is unable to give consent, then sexual assault is committed. This is usually a Class 1 felony in the state, which can lead to a sentence in prison of up to 15 years and require the payment of fines of $25,000.
Aggravated Sexual Assault: What Is It?
Aggravated criminal charges, including sexual assault, are simply more severe charges that can be added to a case when the circumstances warrant it. In order for aggravated sexual assault to be charged, sexual assault must occur in conjunction with at least one of the following acts:
- The threat of the use of a dangerous weapon or a display of a dangerous weapon other than a firearm
- Bodily harm is done to the victim
- The victim’s life, or the life of another, was threatened
- Sexual assault was attempted or committed during the commission of another felony crime
- The victim is over the age of 60
- The victim has a physical disability
- The person who committed the sexual assault gave the victim a controlled substance without their knowledge or consent
- A firearm was in possession of the perpetrator
- A firearm was discharged during the crime
Aggravated sexual assault is considered a Class X felony in Illinois, which is the most serious type of felony a person can face. If convicted of sexual assault that is aggravated in the state, a person can face up to 30 years behind bars and be ordered to pay as much as $25,000 in fines.
However, mandatory prison sentencing can come into play if there are other circumstances present in the case, such as threatening the victim with a dangerous weapon. In that case, an additional 10 years is added automatically to the prison sentence imposed by the court.
Felony aggravated sexual assault is a very serious crime accusation, but any person accused of this crime does have rights. Not only do they have the right to remain silent to not incriminate themselves, but they also have the right to an attorney to help represent their interests in court.
That’s why it’s a good idea to get an attorney involved in your case as soon as possible. They’ll help you to understand the enormity of the charges against you, giving you a fair shot to defend yourself from them. After all, if you don’t understand why you’ve been charged with a crime, then it is impossible to mount the defense you deserve and to which you are entitled.
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.