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New York Penal Law § 130.55 – Sexual Abuse in the Third Degree

Respected Criminal Defense Attorneys Representing Clients Throughout New York Who Are Charged with Serious Felony Crimes

Sexual Abuse in the Third Degree is a crime that prohibits individuals from subjecting others to sexual contact without their consent. Sexual Abuse in the 3rd Degree is a class B misdemeanor. Unlike both Sexual Abuse in the First and Second Degree, Sexual Abuse in the Third Degree is not considered a “sex offense,” and thus, defendants who are convicted of this crime are not subject to mandatory sex offender registration.

The Elements of Sexual Abuse in the Third Degree

Every defendant, regardless of their history or the charges they face, is presumed innocent, and it’s up to the prosecution to prove them guilty. This requires the prosecution to prove each element of the offense beyond a reasonable doubt. The elements of Sexual Abuse in the Third Degree are:

  1. The defendant subjected the alleged victim to sexual contact; and
  2. The alleged victim did not consent to the sexual contact, either expressly or impliedly.

For the purposes of sexual abuse cases, “sexual contact” refers to touching another’s sexual organs or intimate body parts for the purpose of sexual gratification of either party. Touching another person’s intimate areas over the clothes is considered sexual contact.

Examples of Sexual Abuse in the Third Degree

Sexual Abuse in the Third Degree is the least serious sex abuse crime in New York, so many examples that one might expect to give rise to these charges are instead charged as Sexual Abuse in the First Degree or Sexual Abuse in the Second Degree. However, the following are examples of Sexual Abuse in the Third Degree:

  • Touching the breasts of a fellow passenger while riding on public transportation;
  • Touching the penis of a co-worker without their consent; and
  • Grabbing a person’s buttocks as they walk down the street.

Notably, if the sexual contact involved a minor under 14 or a person who was incapable of providing consent, it will likely be charged as Sexual Assault in the First or Second Degree.

Related Offenses to NY Penal Law § 130.55

Depending on the situation, prosecutors may bring Sexual Abuse in the Third Degree charges in addition to similar charges, such as:

  • Forcible Touching – NY Penal Law § 130.52
  • Sexual Misconduct – NY Penal Law § 130.20
  • Sexual Abuse in the Second Degree – NY Penal Law § 130.60
  • Sexual Abuse in the First Degree – NY Penal Law § 130.65
  • Criminal Sexual Act in the Third Degree - NY Penal Law § 130.40
  • Criminal Sexual Act in the Second Degree - NY Penal Law § 130.45
What Are the Defenses to Sexual Abuse in the Third Degree?

The defenses to Sexual Abuse in the Third Degree include:

  • The alleged victim consented to the sexual contact;
  • The alleged victim fabricated the incident; and
  • The defendant’s contact with the alleged victim was not made for the purposes of sexual gratification.

Additionally, § 130.55 contains an affirmative defense when the alleged victim was 14 or older, their lack of consent was based solely on the fact that they were under 17, and the defendant was less than five years older than the alleged victim at the time.

What Are the Penalties for Violating NY Penal Law § 130.55?

Sexual Abuse in the Third Degree is a class B misdemeanor. In New York, class B misdemeanors are punishable by a term of up to three months in jail and a fine of $500. Because Sex Abuse in the 3rd Degree is not a registerable sex offense, defendants who are convicted will not be required to register as a sex offender.

Are You Facing Sexual Abuse Charges in New York?

If you were recently arrested and charged with Sexual Abuse in the Third Degree, the most important decision you make regarding your case is which lawyer you select to represent you. At the New York criminal defense law firm of Tilem & Associates, P.C., our skilled attorneys have been providing an aggressive defense to those who need it most for more than 25 years. We understand what’s at stake in these cases and how to obtain the best possible result, regardless of what the prosecution says happened. We are immediately available to meet with you to get started working on a compelling defense to the charges you face. To learn more, and to schedule a free consultation today, call 877-377-8666. You can also reach us through our online contact form.

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