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What Are the Penalties for Sexual Assault and Abuse in Illinois?

 Posted on December 13, 2019 in Sexual Offenses

Joliet, IL sexual assault defense attorney

Any type of sex crime is taken seriously throughout the United States. The Illinois Criminal Sexual Assault Act addresses multiple types of crimes, including sexual assault and sexual abuse. While the terms may seem similar in nature, assault and abuse are considered separate crimes in Illinois based on the circumstances of the offense. Both crimes can result in felony charges as well as mandatory inclusion on the sex offender registry. However, the details of the alleged crime will determine what further punishments -- such as the length of a prison sentence -- will be given out.

Sexual Assault Versus Sexual Abuse

The crime of sexual abuse results in less severe punishments than sexual assault because the crime is considered less extreme. Sexual abuse can be alleged if there is any unwelcome sexual behavior by a person against a victim. Typically, there does not need to be actual sexual penetration for the crime to be charged.

Illinois law states that sexual abuse occurs when there is a threat of harm or if the victim cannot give proper consent to any sexual conduct. The charges can be elevated to sexual assault if penetration occurs. Sexual abuse is typically charged as a Class 4 felony. Punishments include a prison term of one to three years for first offenders. Second and subsequent offenses may be charged as Class 2 felonies, punishable with a prison term of three to seven years.

Illinois law views sexual assault as the act of sexual penetration:

  • With force or threat

  • Against a victim who is unable to give proper consent

  • Between a victim under 18 years of age and a family member

  • Between a victim between the ages of 13 and 18, and an adult over the age of 17 who is related to the victim or in a position of authority over the victim

First-time sexual assault offenders will be charged with a Class 1 felony, punishable with a prison term of 4 to 15 years. Second and subsequent offenses are elevated to a Class X felony, punishable with a prison term of 30 to 60 years.

Both sexual abuse and sexual assault can be elevated to “aggravated” crimes if:

  • The accused used a deadly weapon during the criminal act.

  • The accused caused great bodily harm or death to the victim.

  • The victim was over 60 years of age.

  • The victim was physically handicapped.

  • The accused possessed or discharged a firearm during the criminal act.

Sexual assault can also be elevated to predatory sexual assault if the accused is over 17 years of age and the victim is 12 years old or younger. All aggravated sexual assault charges will be prosecuted as Class X felonies, which will typically result in a prison sentence of 6 to 30 years. However, depending on the circumstances of the case, an additional 10 to 20 years may be added to the sentence. Predatory sexual assault may result in a sentence of 6 to 60 years in prison.

Defenses for Sexual Abuse and Sexual Assault

After being charged, an alleged sexual offender should seek the help of an attorney who will carefully review the circumstances of the crime. The most common defense for sexual abuse is to prove that the accused believed the victim was over 17 years of age and that no force was used. Sexual assault defenses may include proving that consent was given by the victim. An alleged offender can also deny that the event took place, and the prosecution will have the burden of proof to show that the incident occurred, and the alleged victim did not give consent.

Contact a Joliet, IL Criminal Defense Attorney

Criminal charges for any type of sexual offense can be life-altering for both the victim and the accused. In some cases, an alleged victim may make false allegations. If you or someone you know is facing sexual assault or sexual abuse charges, you need skilled legal counsel on your side. The knowledgeable attorneys at the Law Offices of Tedone & Morton, P.C. will defend you against false accusations and help you understand the best defense strategy for avoiding a conviction and minimizing the consequences you may face. To schedule a free consultation with a Will County sexual offenses lawyer, call our office today at 815-666-1285.



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