Stamford Sexual Assault Lawyer
When facing any kind of sexually-based crime, help from a Stamford sexual assault lawyer is critical to building a comprehensive defense and preserving your best interests. With a qualified defense attorney by your side, you stand a much better chance of mitigating the penalties you might face in court and minimizing the impact this accusation has on your personal and professional life.
How is Sexual Assault Defined in Stamford?
Like many states, Connecticut state law has replaced the term “rape” with the term “sexual assault,” allowing for a broader definition of nonconsensual sexual activity that is meant to protect victims and allow for easier prosecution of perpetrators. In addition to several unique variants of sexual assault, Connecticut General Statutes §§53a-70 through 53a-73a define four specific degrees of this offense.
Sexual assault charges vary from fourth degree to first degree, with the severity growing from fourth to first. Sexual assaults in the third- and first-degrees involve the perpetrator using force to compel a sexual encounter, while sexual assaults in the fourth- and second-degree cover statutory rape and other sexual encounters in which one party materially cannot consent. Likewise, fourth- and third-degree sexual assaults criminalize nonconsensual sexual contact, while second- and first-degree sexual assault criminalize nonconsensual sexual intercourse. A lawyer in Stamford could help someone accused of a sex crime analyze the facts and allegations in their case.
What Consequences Could a Sexual Assault Conviction Have?
The only degree of sexual assault offense that is ever classified as a misdemeanor in Connecticut is sexual assault in the fourth degree against a person 16 years of age or older, which is considered a class A misdemeanor. This means that a conviction for this offense is punishable by up to a year in jail, a maximum of $2,000 in fines, or a combination of both. Sexual assault in the third degree is a class D felony offense, meaning a conviction could carry a maximum prison term of five years as well as a maximum $5,000 fine.
Sexual assault in the second and first degrees are respectively class C and class B felony offenses, both of which carry mandatory minimum prison sentences upon a conviction that cannot be suspended or reduced by any court hearing the case. The former offense is punishable by a minimum of one year up to a maximum of ten years imprisonment and $10,000 in fines, and the latter is punishable by two to 20 years’ imprisonment and $15,000 in fines.
Finally, aggravated sexual assault as defined by C.G.S. §53a-70a is still considered a class B felony, but the mandatory minimum prison term attached to this offense is ten years, five of which may not be reduced or suspended for any reason. A Stamford sexual assault defense attorney could provide crucial assistance with minimizing the sanctions associated with a particular variant of this offense.
What Are the Penalties of Sexual Assault Involving Minors?
Each degree of sexual assault may be prosecuted more severely it involves a victim under the age of 16. For example, a person accused of fourth-degree sexual assault—nonconsensual sexual contact with someone who cannot consent— typically will be charged with a Class A Misdemeanor, but if the alleged victim is under 16, the charges will be elevated to a Class D Felony.
What Are the Other Types of Sex-Related Criminal Offenses in Stamford?
In addition to the four degrees of sexual assault, there are a slew of other miscellaneous sex offenses such as:
- Risk of injury to the intimate parts of a minor, under C.G.S. §53-21(a)(2)
- Promoting prostitution in the first degree if the person being prostituted is under 18 years of age, under C.G.S. §53a-86(a)(2)
- Enticing a minor online to engage in sexual activity, under C.G.S. §53a-90a
- Voyeurism for sexual purposes, under C.G.S. §53a-189a
- Paying for or promoting an obscene performance involving a minor, under C.G.S. §§53a-196a and 53a-196b
- Possessing or distributing child pornography, under C.G.S. §§53a-196c through 53a-196f
A lawyer in Stamford could provide further clarification about what any of these sex crimes entail and how best to go about fighting them in court.
What to Do Immediately After a Sexual Assault Accusation
No matter how an allegation of sexual assault arises or even whether it results in immediate criminal charges, the last thing anyone accused of such an offense should do is try to resolve the matter themselves. From the moment an accusation comes out to the moment any eventual criminal proceedings conclude, everything the accused party says and does could be used as evidence against them, including well-intentioned attempts to clear the air that may result in them phrasing something poorly and further incriminating themselves.
Instead, the number one priority of a prospective sexual assault defendant should always be contacting legal counsel to discuss the next steps. Even if no charges have been brought forward yet, retaining legal representation never constitutes an admission or even a legally actionable implication of guilt, and it could be crucial to handling law enforcement investigations proactively and productively.
Effectively Contesting Sexual Assault Charges in Stamford
Building a comprehensive defense strategy against a sexual assault accusation can be as much a matter of maintaining consistency with statements and testimonies as it is a matter of collecting and presenting exculpatory evidence. Investigations of this nature almost always involve multiple rounds of interviews with every person allegedly involved, and saying different things in different meetings with investigators can be far more damaging than lacking objective evidence that nothing illegal happened. Among other things, assistance from a sexual assault lawyer in Stamford could be essential to effectively preparing for and progressing through these potentially uncomfortable conversations.
What Are the Benefits of Hiring a Stamford Sexual Offenses Attorney?
Sex offenses are unique in that they often require mandatory registration as a sex offender and upon release from jail you may face special sex offender probation. Avoiding a conviction can help keep your name off of that list. Even before that, a skilled Stamford attorney could work diligently to gather evidence to show the prosecutor why the sex crime charges against you should be dropped. The goal of a dedicated attorney is to help make this part of your life as painless as possible and to be an advocate for you at every step of the way.
Consider Working with a Stamford Sexual Assault Attorney
In order to effectively preserve both your legal defense and your personal prospects outside of court for a sex crime, you may need help from an experienced professional who has handled cases like yours before. Head over to Avvo.com today to learn more about our firm’s dedication, then give our Stamford sex crime lawyers a call to set up a consultation.