If you have been accused of aggravated criminal sexual abuse in the state of Illinois, your normal way of life--along with your freedom--is in jeopardy. After an arrest for such a charge, it's critical to seek representation from a skilled criminal defense attorney who has experience in defending against sex crimes. This should be done sooner rather than later, as a charge as serious as aggravated criminal sexual abuse takes time and preparation to defend against. The team of criminal defense attorneys at Dolci & Weiland are dedicated to providing quality representation--all you need to do is call.
Elements of Aggravated Criminal Sexual Abuse in Illinois
Aggravated criminal sexual abuse is prohibited by Illinois law and laid out in 710 ILCS 5/12-16. The statute dictates that an individual commits aggravated criminal sexual abuse if the person commits criminal sexual abuse while any of the following aggravating circumstances exist during the course of the criminal conduct:
- The person displays, threatens to use, or uses a dangerous weapon in a manner that leads the victim to believe that under the circumstances the object is a dangerous weapon;
- The person causes bodily harm to the victim;
- The victim is a person with a physical disability;
- The victim has a severe or profound intellectual disability;
- The person committing the crime acts in a manner that threatens the life of the victim or any other person;
- The person commits the sexual abuse while committing or attempting to commit any other felony, such as robbery or kidnapping; or
- The person delivers any controlled substance to the victim without the victim's consent, by threatening the victim, or by deceiving the victim.
Aggravated Criminal Sexual Abuse Based on Victim's Age
Several cases of sexual abuse rise to the level of aggravated based on the age of the victim or the person charged with the crime. A person can be charged with aggravated criminal sexual abuse, for example, if the victim is 60 years of age or older.
The statute further states that a person commits aggravated criminal sexual abuse if that person commits an act of sexual conduct with someone who is:
- Under the age of 18 and a member of the person's family; or
- 13 to 17 years of age and is trusted, under the authority of, or supervised by the perpetrator.
A person can 17 years of age or older can be charged with aggravated criminal sexual abuse if the person:
- Commits an act of sexual conduct with a victim under the age of 13; or
- Commits an act of sexual conduct with a victim who is between 13 and 17 years of age by force or threat of force.
Charges of aggravated criminal sexual abuse aren't just charges that adults can face--juveniles under the age of 17 can be charged with aggravated criminal sexual abuse if the person:
- Commits an act of sexual conduct with a victim who is under 9 years of age; or
- Commits an act of sexual conduct with a victim who is between 9 and 17 years of age by force or threat of force.
Finally, a person can be charged with aggravated criminal sexual abuse if the person commits an act of sexual penetration with a person who is between 13 and 17 years of age and the person charged is at least five years older than the minor.
Penalties of an Aggravated Criminal Sexual Abuse Conviction
Aggravated criminal sexual abuse is a Class 2 felony charge, and thus should not be taken lightly due to the severe penalties that a person can face upon conviction. Those who are charged with aggravated criminal sexual assault face the possibility of:
- Imprisonment between 3 and 7 years; and
- A fine of up to $25,000.
The Illinois Sex Offender Registry
Hefty fines and years of prison time aren't the only penalties that a person convicted of aggravated criminal sexual abuse can face; someone found guilty of such a charge can also be forced to register on the Illinois Sex Offender Registry, rendering them a "sexual predator."
This registry is also public for anyone who wishes to see and includes a great deal of identifying information about the person, which can subject a person placed on the registry to a social stigma that never disappears.
This punishment can arguably be more devastating to a person's way of life than prison time, as it continues to affect your life long after you have been released from prison. Registration on the sex offender registry places limits on when and where you are able to spend time with children and minors, and bars you from entering public parks or school grounds. Moving to a new state doesn't eliminate the person's title as a sex offender, either, as the offender will likely be required to register as a sex offender in the new state.
Potential Defenses to Aggravated Criminal Sexual Abuse Charges
If you have been charged with aggravated criminal sexual abuse, it's critical to seek the help of an attorney to defend against your charge. A seasoned attorney may be able to assert a legal defense to your charge, which can mitigate the severity of your charge or even eliminate the charge altogether. Such defenses include:
- Mistaken identity;
- An honest and reasonable belief that a person was over the age of consent; and
- The victim--if over the age of 17--consented to the sexual conduct.
Facing a Charge of Aggravated Criminal Sexual Abuse in DuPage? We Can Help
If you were arrested and charged with aggravated criminal sexual abuse in Illinois, the time to seek legal representation to defend against your charge is now. A conviction of such a charge can have a devastating impact which can follow you throughout your life. Don't try to take on a charge as serious as aggravated criminal sexual abuse on your own--let the team of criminal defense attorneys at Dolci & Weiland do the work for you and provide the competent defense you deserve.
To speak with a member of our legal team about your charge, fill out an online case evaluation form or call the office nearest to you today--for our DuPage location, call (630) 261-9098, or for our downtown Chicago office, call (312) 238-9007.