New York State does not tolerate incest at any level, but they have specific sections of the penal code that outlaw incestuous relations. Further, New York State defines incestuous relationships as one between persons whom they know to be related to each other either through marriage or blood, as an ancestor, descendant, brother or sister either by full blood or half blood, are an aunt, uncle, niece or nephew. This offense begins as a class E felony, meaning that you could be spending some time behind bars if convicted by the court. If you have been charged with incest in any degree, call now for a free consultation with one of our experienced New York criminal attorneys.
The lowest degree of this offense is charged when a person has married or has engaged in sexual conduct, either oral, anal or sexual with someone who is a relative. The law specifically states that the relative can be either by blood or by marriage, such that step-relatives are included in the overall list of family members. This degree is a class E felony and can result in up to four years in prison. This offense becomes a class D felony, meaning up to seven years, if a person commits rape in the second degree or a criminal sexual act in the second degree to a person who is related to them.
The highest degree of this offense is charged when a person has committed rape in the first degree or criminal sexual act in the first degree and the victim is a relative. This level of this offense is a class B felony, meaning substantial time could be ordered to be served by the court. To reiterate, relatives that are included under the law are anyone who the defendant knows to be a descendent, ancestor, aunt, uncle, niece or nephew or brother or sister either by blood or by marriage. This broadens the definition of relatives from the immediate family of grandparents, parents and siblings to include those who may have non-traditional families and therefore have step-relatives or half-siblings.
It is important to know that while the higher two degrees of this offense deal with non-consensual sexual acts with relatives, the lowest degree of this offense can be charged when there is a consensual relationship between two people who are related in one of the ways mentioned above. Even though both parties may agree to the relationship, they may still be charged criminally for the relationship. However, the law also states that the person committing the acts is doing so while knowing that the other person is a relative. Those who were unaware of their status as relatives prior to or while in the relationship may have more eligible defenses.
If you have been charged with incest in any degree, call now to speak with one of our experienced New York criminal attorneys to see what options you have in facing these charges. You don’t have to go to court alone, you can go with an attorney by your side who will fight for your best interests.