Tilem & Associates, PC vigorously represents individuals accused of forcible touching and sexual abuse in White Plains and surrounding areas. Due to the nature of these charges, defendants in these cases are strongly encouraged to retain legal counsel to protect their rights, preserve their freedom and increase their odds of beating these charges or getting them reduced.
Sexual abuse offenses can be charged as minor offenses or serious violent felonies, depending on the circumstances. Apart from jail or prison, registering as a sex offender is one part of criminal sentencing individuals would rather avoid, which is another reason hiring an attorney would be in your best interests.Understanding Sexual Abuse Offenses in New York
Penal Code Sections 130.52 - 130.70 is the framework for forcible touching and sexual abuse, and is referenced when defendants are arraigned. To be charged under the above sections, an individual must subject another to unwarranted sexual contact by “forcible compulsion”, and:
- The defendant must be sure the victim will not consent;
- The defendant has reason to believe the victim will not understand the nature of the contact;
- The victim is helpless, which the defendant exploits;
- The defendant cause another to touch their intimate parts without their consent;
- The defendant entices a minor child to expose themselves or have intercourse with a third party for their own sexual gratification;
- The defendant is in a position of authority, such as a penal institution or mental health facility, and recklessly exerts that authority to touch the victim without consent; and
- The defendant works in a medical capacity and engages in sexual abuse offenses in any manner other than what is medically necessary.
“Consent”, as demarcated by The Laws of New York, means cooperating as an exercise of free will. It requires familiarity with, and approval of, an underlying activity. Submission under the influence of fear, or prior relationship with the defendant, does not constitute consent.
The lowest form of sexual contact is a Class B misdemeanor in New York; the most egregious cases are Class B violent felonies.Felony Sexual Contact and Violent Crime Enhancement
Sex abuse in New York could be enhanced if an individual performs an act as described above, and:
- Drugs the victim;
- Exerts force during sexual contact;
- Intimidates the victim into allowing sexual contact; or
- Makes threats to get another to allow sexual contact.
Rape and sexual assault, along with other forms of sexual misconduct, could have serious consequence if enough aggravating circumstances exist, including a particularly lengthy jail sentence and minimum period of sex offender registration.Penalties for Sex Abuse in New York
The penalties for Class B misdemeanor sexual abuse may include:
- 3 months in jail (probation may be ordered in place of jail time);
- Fines up to $500; and
- Required entry into the New York Division of Criminal Justice Services sex offender registry.
If convicted of forcible touching, a Class A misdemeanor, the sentence may include:
- 1 year in prison
- Fine of up to $1,000; and
- Registration as a sex offender.
If convicted of the highest level of violent sexual abuse, you could face:
- 5 to 25 years in prison (probation may be ordered to replace all or some prison time);
- Fines to be determined by court; and
- Mandatory sex offender registration in CJS database.
The seriousness of sex abuse crimes should compel defendants to seek competent criminal defense help.Defenses to Sexual Abuse in New York
Having described what constitutes sexual abuse offenses above, the following defenses may be raised to protect the freedom, innocence and integrity of the defendant:
- All sexual contact was consensual;
- You were given no indication the victim would refute your sexual advances;
- There was no sexual gratification involved when two others were having consensual sex;
- Sexual contact was not done on purpose;
- Some or all of the arrest was unlawful;
- Contact was necessary to check the welfare of a minor child, such as seeing if they were sick or inspecting an area of discomfort indicated by the child;
- The introduction between another adult and a minor was done innocently; or
- The victim has identified you as their assailant, but you weren’t near the individual during the alleged time.
Each case is formed on its own merits; therefore, the defenses used to raise reasonable doubt will vary. Video, photographs, social media posts, witnesses and police reports will help an attorney fight allegations against you.Removal From Sex Offender Registry
If you’ve been included in the sex offender registry, you may petition the court under certain circumstances to have your name removed. To qualify, you must:
- Be classified a Level 2 risk;
- Not have been designated a sexual violent offender, predicate sex offender or sexual predator; and
- Have been registered for thirty (30) years minimum
Failing to register as a sex offender in New York is a Class E felony for first offenses, and Class D for a subsequent offense. As each individual’s circumstances may differ, it’s best to consult with an attorney if you’re contemplating removal from the registry to see if your case qualifies.Hire an Experienced Sexual Abuse Attorney
To defend allegations of sexual abuse offenses in New York, you need an attorney that is committed to client excellence and knows how to defend the constitutional rights of the accused. Exemplifying these traits, and many others, is Tilem & Associates, PC. Time and time again, the firm has represented clients in high-stakes criminal trials with an unwavering commitment to defending the accused who have been charged with sexual contact crimes.
Serious charges require equally serious defense counsel to preserve the reputation of the accused. If you have sexual abuse offenses charges pending, or you’ve been arrested and recently posted bond for that charge, contact our office today to schedule your consultation.