Being arrested for a sexual crime carries additional considerations than other serious crimes. In addition to the devastating penalties that could result from a sex crime conviction, there are significant reputational and social consequences of being charged with, let alone convicted of, a sexual offense. The social stigma of being accused of committing a sex crime has only heightened since the advent of the #MeToo movement, which can also impact the legal proceedings.
Criminal Sexual Assault, in particular, is an offense that presents unique challenges, as the case will often be hinged upon putting the accused's version of events against the alleged victim's version of events. Once a case comes down to a "he said, she said" situation, a jury will be tasked with establishing the credibility of each party. Given the aforementioned social disdain for those accused of sexual assault, it is strongly advised to retain the services of a top defense lawyer in order to present the best case at trial or avoid going to trial altogether when possible.
DuPage County sex crime defense lawyers Dominick Dolci and Pat Weiland are former prosecutors and seasoned criminal trial lawyers with a combined experience of over 45 years handling sex crimes cases in Naperville, Wheaton, Chicago, Hinsdale, and countless cities throughout northern Illinois. In addition to their esteemed reputation in the local legal community as tough, dedicated defense attorneys, Dominick Dolci and Pat Weiland have both been recognized as Top 100 National Trial Lawyers by the National Trial Lawyers Association.
Criminal Sexual Assault in Illinois
In Illinois, Criminal Sexual Assault is the legal term for rape and takes place when an individual performs sexual penetration on another individual with force, with threat of force, or commits said sexual penetration knowing the other person lacks the capacity to consent. The inability to consent includes instances where the victim is a family member under 18, or where the offender is 17 or over and holds a position of authority over a victim between 13 and 18 years old.
Consequences of a Criminal Sexual Assault Conviction in Illinois
The consequences of a criminal sexual assault conviction can have long-reaching, negative effects on an individual's life, beyond the mandatory jail time. The stigma attached to sex crimes can alienate a convicted individual from their community, and being a registered sex offender in Illinois comes with many limitations and restrictions, specifically with regard to employment and travel.
A first conviction is considered a Class 1 felony and a nonprobation-able offense. It is punishable by 4-15 years in prison, and a convicted individual cannot be sentenced any probation. A second conviction is considered a Class X felony and punishable by 30-60 years in prison.
A second conviction can include situations where the accused's first conviction was made pursuant to an offense other than an Illinois Criminal Sexual Assault or 720 ILCS 5/11-1.20. For example, the accused's first conviction could have been for the offense of exploitation of a child or for an offense from another state that is substantially equivalent to the offense of criminal sexual assault or to the offense of exploitation of a child.
Illinois Sex Offender Registry
Convicted sex offenders in Illinois are required to register with the Illinois Sex Offender Registry, which makes their status as a convicted sex offender available to the public.
As stated in 730 ILCS 150/2 (B), those convicted of a “sex offense” in Illinois are defined as sex offenders and are required by law to register in Illinois as a sex offender. The length of time sex offenders are required to register varies based on the type of conviction, but those convicted of Criminal Sexual Assault are labeled as “sexual predators” by the state of Illinois and are required to register on the Illinois Sex Offender Registry for life.
Anyone required to register as a sex offender in Illinois must register at their local police department within 3 days of being sentenced by the court or risk committing additional felonies. Additionally, sex offenders must renew their registration annually.
Registered sex offenders also face significant restrictions on their ability to travel within the country and internationally.
If a sex offender is going to leave their residence for a period of three days or longer, they must register at the local police department of the place they will be staying. If the sex offender is going to be leaving the state of Illinois, they must learn and follow the registration requirements of the state in which they will be staying.
It will also be difficult for a registered sex offender to travel internationally. Countries like Canada are also especially strict and will require that you obtain permission from the Government of Canada before entering the country.
Becoming a registered sex offender will preclude many different career paths and professional endeavors. In addition to facing similar barriers to entering certain professions as any other candidates with criminal histories, sex offenders face additional restriction. The most notable limitation is being unable to work around children or even be present in any school building or property unless you either receive special permission or are a parent of a child attending school and are attending a conference regarding your child.
Potential Defenses for Criminal Sexual Assault Conviction
The two main defenses against a sexual assault charge are to argue that either the act itself never occurred or that the act was consensual. Choosing which defense to argue will depend on the facts of the case as well as the evidence involved.
Facing a criminal sexual assault charge is never easy, but it becomes more manageable when guided by an experienced defense attorney. Quality legal representation can make the difference between a life-altering conviction or walking free. The attorneys at Dolci & Weiland are former felony prosecutors who have been defending those accused of committing sex crimes in Chicago and DuPage County for over 20 years. We understand how sex crimes are prosecuted in Illinois, and we know how to best defend you in a criminal sexual assault case. Contact us today at 630.261.9098 to speak with an experienced sex crimes lawyer and schedule a consultation.