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Nassau County Sexual Abuse

N.Y. Pen. Law §§ 130.55, 130.60, 130.65

While most people are familiar with the term rape, there are other sex crimes in addition to rape. Once such crime is sexual abuse. Sexual abuse involves subjecting another person to sexual contact without that person's consent. It is the crime you will face if the sexual activity involved is not sexual intercourse or anal or oral sex. Although the penalty for being convicted of sexual abuse is not as severe as the penalties for other sex crimes such as rape which involves sexual intercourse and criminal sexual act which involves anal or oral sex, prosecutors still aggressively prosecute those accused of sexual abuse. Depending on the circumstances of the sexual contact, there are three different degrees of seriousness of sexual abuse. A conviction of any sexual abuse crime may result in your being sent to prison, and will definitely result in you being added to the list of registered sex offenders. Because of the grave consequences of being accused of a sex crime, as soon as you learn that you are suspected of sexual abuse, it is crucial that you or someone close to you contact an experienced Nassau County Sexual Abuse Lawyer who will review the facts of your case and aggressively defend you against the charges.

What is the definition of sexual abuse?

Sexual abuse means subjecting another person to "sexual contact." Sexual contact is defined as touching of the sexual or intimate parts of another person for sexual gratification. N.Y. Pen. Law § 130.00(3). Sexual or intimate parts are not specifically defined, but include the vagina, penis, anus, rectum, buttocks, breasts, lips and mouth. Included in sexual contact is ejaculation onto another person. For the purpose of the sex crimes statute, sexual abuse is not the same as sexual intercourse. Sexual intercourse means penetration of the vagina with the penis. N.Y. Pen. Law § 130.00(1)

To face a charge of sexual abuse, you must have subjected the other person to sexual contact without that person's consent. Lack of consent means that the other person was not a willing participant in the sexual contact. There are a number of factors that could indicate that there was no consent to the sexual contact. For example, if the victim is a minor, was physically helpless, suffered from a mental disability, or suffered from a mental incapacity, then that person would not have had the capacity to consent to the sex. Furthermore, if you use force or threats, then there was no consent to the sexual contact.

There are three sexual abuse offenses in New York's criminal code: sexual abuse in the third degree, second degree, and first degree.

Sexual abuse in the third degree is the least severe sexual abuse charge. You will be charged with sexual abuse in the third degree if you subject another to sexual contact without that person's consent. It is a Class B misdemeanor. N.Y. Pen. Law § 130.55

Sexual abuse in the second degree is the charge you will face if you subject another person to sexual contact and that person is incapable of consenting for any reason other than being less than 17 years old, or that person is less than 14 years old. It is a Class A misdemeanor. N.Y. Pen. Law § 130.60

Sexual abuse in the first degree is the charge you will face if you subject another person to sexual contact by forcible compulsion. You will also face this charge if the other person is physically helpless, less than eleven years old, or if you are at least 21 years old and the other person is less than 11 years old. It is a Class D felony. N.Y. Pen. Law § 130.65

What is the process if I am arrested for sexual abuse?

The first step in the criminal process after arrest is that you will be taken to the local police precinct for fingerprinting and photographing. After that you will be arraigned. If you are accused of sexual abuse in the third degree or the second degree, because they are misdemeanors the arresting officer has the option of having you processed though Central Booking or issuing a Desk Appearance Ticket (DAT). If you are issued a DAT the ticket will list the offense as well as the date and time of your arraignment. If you are not given a DAT after you are processed at the local police precinct, you will be transferred to Central Booking. Because sexual abuse in the first degree is a felony, after initial process you will likely be sent to Central Booking and not given a DAT. Central Booking is located in the criminal court building in the county where you were arrested. For example, if you arrested for rape in the first degree in Nassau County, you will eventually be taken to Central Booking at 99 Main Street in Hempstead. You will remain in Central Booking until you are called for your arraignment hearing.

The arraignment is the first time that you will appear before the judge. It is a court proceeding during which the prosecutor will formally advised you of the charges against you. You may learn that you are being charged with a single count of sexual abuse in the first, second or third degree, or you may learn that you will face not only a sexual abuse charge, but other charges. You will have the opportunity to enter a plea of guilty or not guilty.

The next step in the arraignment hearing is the issue of bail. The judge will decide if bail is required. The judge may release you on your own recognizance, set bail or require that you be held without bail. The judge's decision will be based on his or her assessment of whether or not you are a flight risk based on both the allegations against you and your background. You will then learn when you must next appear in court. If you are released on your own recognizance or after posting bail, it is important to know that you must attend every court hearing, otherwise the judge will issue a bench warrant for your arrest.

What is the possible sentence for a sexual abuse conviction?

The sentence you will face for a sexual abuse conviction varies depending on the sexual abuse charge.

Sexual abuse in the third degree. As a Class B misdemeanor, if convicted the possible sentence is up to 3 months in jail.

Sexual abuse in the second degree. As a Class A misdemeanor, if convicted the possible sentence is up to 1 year in jail.

Sexual abuse in the first degree. As a Class D felony, if convicted the possible sentence is up to 7 years in prison.

In addition to being sentenced to jail or prison, you may also be sentenced to probation. For a misdemeanor sex crime conviction the probation is 6 years. For a felony sex crime conviction the mandatory probation sentence is 10 years. With probation comes detailed rules that restrict certain aspects of your life. For example, you may have a curfew. You may be required to stay away from certain people and places. You will be required to have a job or diligently seek one. You will be assigned a probation officer to whom you must regularly report. If you do not follow the rules, you may end up in jail.

As a result of being convicted of sexual abuse, you will have a criminal record and you will have to register as a sex offender. N.Y. Cor. Law § 168. This is the case even though sexual abuse in the third degree and sexual abuse in the second degree are misdemeanors. However, sexual abuse in the third degree is only a registrable offense if the victim is minor, or you have a prior conviction for committing a sex crime. Having a criminal record with a sex crime conviction and being a registered sex offender will make many aspects of your life more challenging. As a sex offender, you will be required to register with law enforcement regularly for at least 20 years. If you move, you will have to let law enforcement in your new jurisdiction that you are a sex offender. Your status as a sex offender may be made public so that anyone will be able to go online and find your name and address on the sex offender list. You may have a difficult time finding a job.

If you are facing a sex abuse charge, you should immediately consult an experienced Nassau County Sex Abuse Lawyer. The laws related to sex crimes are complicated, as is New York criminal procedure. The staff at Stephen Bilkis & Associates, PLLC has years of experience successfully defending clients in New York criminal courts who are accused of sexual abuse as well as other sex crimes such as rape, forcible touching, and criminal sexual act. Contact us at 800.696.9529 to schedule a free, no obligation consultation regarding your case. We serve those accused of sex crimes in the following locations:

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