Three Times an IL Sex Crime Is Aggravated without a Weapon Involved
By itself, sexual assault is a serious crime with grave consequences. In Colorado, criminal sexual assault is defined as sexual penetration when any of the following elements exist:
- You used force or the threat of force
- You had knowledge that the victim did not understand the nature of sex or was not able to consent (they were unconscious, sleeping, intoxicated, etc.)
- The victim was under the age of 18 and you and the victim are family members
- The victim was between the ages of 13-18, you are over the age of 17, and you held a position of authority over the victim (teacher, law enforcement officer, coach, etc.)
Note that to qualify as criminal sexual assault, the crime must include penetration. Penetration is defined as any contact between the sex organ or anus of one person and another sex organ, mouth, object, or anus of another person.
In our state, sexual assault is charged as a Class 1 felony and punishable by up to 15 years imprisonment.
Still, as serious as criminal sexual assault is, it can be elevated to an even graver crime when “aggravating factors exist”. We’ll talk more about what an aggravated criminal assault in Colorado means below.
What Is Aggravated Criminal Assault?
In Colorado, aggravated criminal assault is a sexual assault crime when any one of the following aggravating factors are present:
- You used, threatened to use, or displayed a dangerous weapon, including firearms, during the act
- You used, threatened to use, or displayed an object that the victim believed was a dangerous weapon
- You were armed with a firearm
- You caused bodily harm
- You endangered or threatened to endanger the life of the victim or another person
- You committed or attempted to commit a felony during the act
- The victim was over the age of 60 or had a disability
- You administered controlled substances to the victim (such as “date-rape” drugs)
Aggravating Factors that Do Not Involve Weapons
In most cases, “aggravating factors” involve weapons. However, there five situations when you can be charged with aggravated sexual assault without using weapons. We’ll review these below.
You caused bodily harm
A sexual assault crime is considered aggravated if you cause bodily harm to the victim.
You endangered or threatened to endanger someone
If you endanger or threaten to endanger the life of another person while committing sexual assault, it will be considered aggravated.
You committed a felony
Committing a felony — such as burglary or robbery — while committing sexual assault, it is considered aggravated.
The act involved an elderly or disabled victim
When a sexual assault involves a victim who is over the age of 60 or has a disability, it is considered aggravated sexual assault.
You give the victim drugs
If you administered a date rape drug or another controlled substance to the victim, a sexual assault crime is considered aggravated.
It’s important to know that regardless of whether the aggravated sexual assault involves a weapon, the crime carries serious consequences. In Colorado, aggravated criminal assault is a Class X felony and punishable by 30 years to life in prison.
Other Potential Influencing Factors in Sexual Crimes
Below, we’ve discussed two other factors that could influence a sex crim charge:
- The victim’s age. In some circumstances, a criminal assault crime can be elevated to the crime of predatory criminal assault of a child. Our state defines predatory criminal sexual assault of a child as any type of “any type of contact, however slight, between the sex organ or anus of one person and the part of the body of another for the purpose of sexual gratification or arousal.” In order to qualify, the victim must be under the age of 13 and the perpetrator has to be over the age of 17.
Note that unlike the prior types of criminal assault, predatory criminal assault of a child does not require sexual penetration to have occurred.
In Illinois, predatory criminal sexual assault of a child is considered a Class X felony, and punishable by 60 years to life in prison.
- Whether penetration occurred. Unless the victim is under the age of 13, penetration must occur in order for the crime to be considered sexual criminal assault. If no penetration occurred, the crime is considered criminal sexual abuse.
Typically, sexual abuse is considered a Class 4 felony and punishable by one to three years in prison.
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.