Being accused of a sex crime is not something that anyone wants to go through. Though there are serious criminal penalties attached to these kinds of crimes, often they pale in comparison to the negative impact that accusations like this can have on a person’s career, family life, and ability to live normally.
Joliet attorney Neil Adams knows this and has helped many people to fight charges of sexual misconduct and win their case. If you or someone that you love is facing an Illinois sex crimes charge, your first instinct might be to bury your head in the sand and try to stay away from prying eyes. After all, in this day and age of instantaneous news, where the mugshots of suspects are frequently shown on the local news, public opinion may have you “convicted” before you even go to court.
But doing this is a big mistake. Experience has taught Neil Adams that sex crimes charges tend to be difficult to prove, and that it’s almost always in the defendant’s best interests to plead not guilty and fight against them.
Illinois state laws list a number of crimes that are considered to be of a sexual nature, and they vary greatly in description and severity. It is important that you understand the definitions and attached penalties that you will face, so below are explanations of some of the most serious sex crimes on the books in our state:
Criminal Sexual Abuse. This is the only Class A misdemeanor that exists in the law books of Illinois. It involves engaging in sexual conduct with a minor, but don’t let the fact that it’s a misdemeanor fool you – the attached penalties are very serious, and the language of the law is written in such a way that criminal sexual abuse can easily be bumped up to a class 2 or even a class 4 felony in many cases. And even if it “just” stays as a misdemeanor, you’ll still have to register as a sex offender, which for many people is the worst part of any sex crime.
The maximum penalty for an Illinois misdemeanor is one year in jail, which can be reduced by half for good behavior.
Class 4 felonies come with a penalty of 1 to 3 years in the Illinois Department of Corrections, but because the offense is probationable, a judge can decide that probation would be a more fitting punishment than time spent in jail or prison.
If someone commits a second offense of this nature, they will be charged with a class 2 felony. These carry with them a potential penaltiy of 3 to 7 years in the Illinois Department of Corrections, which is also probationable.
Aggravated Criminal Sexual Abuse. At its most basic, this is criminal sexual abuse that involves one of the following: a dangerous weapon, bodily harm done to the victim, a victim with a physical handicap, a victim aged 60 years or older, the defendant making a threat to the life of the victim or someone else, the defendant using a controlled substance on the victim, a separate felony committed by the defendant. In addition to this, it has to include one of the below scenarios:
Criminal Sexual Assault. Make no mistake, this is rape under a different term. As defined by the state of Illinois, criminal sexual assault involves sexual penetration in combination with threats, the use of force, an inability by the victim to give consent or understand the act, a family member under 18, or when the accused is 17 or older and holds a position of trust or authority over the victim (aged 13 to 17).
Aggravated Criminal Sexual Assault. This crime involves criminal sexual assault that also includes a dangerous weapon, physical harm to the victim, threats to the life of the victim or someone else, a victim aged 60 or older, a physically handicapped victim, a victim drugged by the defendant, a firearm discharged during the offense, committing another felony, when the victim is 8 or younger and the defendant is 16 or older, if threats or force are used to sexually penetrate a victim aged 9 to 12, or if the victim is profoundly mentally retarded.
Predatory Criminal Sexual Assault. This crime carries with it almost the exact same penalties as aggravated criminal sexual assault. The only difference is that it is possible to add an extended sentence of 50 years if the defendant discharges a firearm during the offense. What is predatory criminal sexual assault? It’s where the defendant is 17 or older and the victim is 12 or younger. Sometimes this charge is levied because the perpetrator caused a life threatening injury or permanent disability to the victim, but those things aren’t necessary.
Remember, there are no “minor” sex crimes, and conviction for any of them involves sex offender registration. You don’t have to resign yourself to that, though. There are a number of possible defenses that an experienced Joliet Sex Crimes Lawyer like Neil Adams can use to help you win your case and clear your name. To learn more, contact our offices immediately to schedule a free consultation. Mr. Adams prides himself on returning all phone calls promptly. He can be reached at 815.529.7000.