Darien Sexual Assault Lawyer
Sexual assault charges in Darien carry serious legal penalties and social stigma. The best way to protect your interests after allegations are made, is with a top criminal defense attorney by your side. Call a Darien sexual assault lawyer today to learn more.
What is Sexual Assault in Darien?
In Connecticut, several different sex crimes fall under the umbrella of sexual assault, which commonly is referred to as rape. These include instances of varying degrees of unwanted sexual contact. Connecticut law spells out four explicit degrees of sexual assault.
The most serious of the sexual assault crimes is First-degree sexual assault, which occurs when a person compels someone to engage in sexual intercourse by the use of force or by the threat of the use of force against the individual. First-degree sexual assault is also charged when a person is mentally incapacitated and unable to consent to the sexual contact, or they are under the age of 13 when they engage in sex with someone who is more than two years older. As serious as this charge is, it can become even more serious when the offender commits this crime while armed with a deadly weapon and threatens the use of the weapon. This is known as aggravated sexual assault in the first degree. A lawyer in Darien could help you if you were accused of sexual assault in the first degree.
Second-degree sexual assault occurs when one engages in sexual intercourse with another person who is between the ages of 13 and 15 years old and the actor is more than three years older. This crime may also occur when someone is impaired because of mental disability or disease, and they are unable to consent to sexual intercourse. Usually, this crime happens when someone is a patient of a doctor, a psychologist, or a psychotherapist, regardless of the ages of both parties.
Third-degree sexual assault is when an individual compels someone to submit to sexual contact by the use of force or by the threat of the use of force which reasonably causes the person to fear physical injury to themselves or to a third person.
Fourth-degree sexual assault occurs when someone subjects an individual who is less than thirteen years of age to sexual contact, and the offender is more than two years older. Fourth-degree sexual assault also occurs if the alleged victim is between 13 or 15 years old, and the actor is more than three years older. Sexual contact means any contact with the intimate parts of someone for the purposes of sexual gratification of the actor or for the purpose of degrading or humiliating that person. An attorney in Darien could help you if you have been accused of sexual assault in the fourth degree.
Beware, in the above situation, risk of injury charges may also be tacked on, making contacting a lawyer even more imperative.
What Penalties Could a Sexual Assault Conviction Lead to?
Sexual assault crimes against individuals over the age of 16 may be classified as anywhere from a class A misdemeanor to a class B felony, depending on what degree of sexual assault a defendant is charged with. Fourth-degree sexual assault is the only version of this offense that is ever considered a misdemeanor, and individuals convicted of this offense may face penalties of up to a year in jail and a maximum $2,000 fine.
Sexual assault in the third degree is a class D felony punishable by a maximum five-year prison sentence and $5,000 fine, whereas sexual assault in the second degree can result in sanctions of up to ten years behind bars and a $10,000 maximum fine since it is considered a class C felony. The latter offense also carries a mandatory minimum prison sentence of one year, which means that someone convicted of this offense would have to be sentenced to at least one year of prison time without the possibility of suspension or revocation.
Sexual assault in the first degree, a class B felony, carries a mandatory minimum prison term of two years upon conviction, with maximum possible sanctions including 20 years in prison and a $15,000 fine. Finally, aggravated first-degree sexual assault is also classified as a class B felony, but the mandatory prison sentence attached to a conviction for this offense is ten years in length.
It should be noted that any sexual assault offense committed against a person under the age of 16 automatically gains one level of severity. For example, fourth-degree sexual assault would turn from a class A misdemeanor to a class D felony, third-degree sexual assault from a class D felony to a class C felony, and so on. As per Connecticut General Statutes §53a-70c, aggravated sexual assault of a minor is uniquely defined as a class A felony punishable upon conviction by a minimum prison sentence of 25 years up to a maximum 50-year sentence, as well as a $20,000 maximum fine.
What is the Statute of Limitations in Darien?
In Connecticut, like every other state, the prosecution for a crime must start within a certain amount of time. For most sex crimes in Connecticut, the prosecution has 20 years to press charges. Talking to a Darien sex assault lawyer could help you understand whether or not the prosecution waited too long to press charges.
Possible Defenses Against a Sexual Assault Allegation
No matter what degree of offense a particular defendant is accused of, proactively combatting accusations of sexual assault is always a procedurally—and often emotionally—complex process. Objective evidence that a sexual assault occurred is not always readily available, and many cases of this nature are instead built around multiple rounds of interviews with the alleged perpetrator and the person they allegedly targeted, alongside inferences drawn from witness testimonies, forensic evidence from the location of the alleged assault, results from a rape kit performed at a medical facility, and subpoenaed private communications like text message and chat logs.
The easiest and quickest way for someone accused of sexual assault to irreparably damage their defense strategy is by trying to talk their way out of those accusations without support from legal counsel. Anything a person facing this kind of charge says anywhere, to anyone, could be used as evidence against them, especially statements made in front of law enforcement officers and investigators who may insist they are just trying to get to the truth. The best course of action in response to sexual assault charges in Darien is always retaining an experienced defense lawyer to interact with law enforcement and others on a defendant’s behalf.
Why is it Important to Hire a Defense Lawyer When Facing Sexual Assault Allegations?
A person accused of this offense might not hire a defense attorney if they do not take the case seriously. This happens most typically with cases involving college students. College students may not understand the severity of the charges being brought against them.
Not hiring a defense attorney in Darien for sexual assault charges is a mistake because the charges are serious and carry hefty jail sentences. A conviction could result in a permanent felony criminal record which might prevent someone from obtaining employment in the future. A college student could be expelled from school. There are many long-term consequences that extend past jail, including steep fines and probation time.
The top three qualities an individual charged with sexual assault should look for in an attorney are:
- Experience defending these charges
- Intense knowledge of the law and the specific exemptions in the Connecticut sexual assault code
- Excellent reputation and relationships with the prosecutor and the courthouse
A defense attorney must understand the way the courthouse and the prosecutors work to get the best possible disposition for their client.
Contact a Darien Sexual Assault Attorney Today
All four degrees of sexual assault are serious offenses and courts in Connecticut are not afraid to prosecute to the fullest extent. Without a proper defense you could face incarceration and a tarnished reputation for life. The best way to defend yourself against these allegations is to retain a top defense attorney. A Darien sexual assault lawyer could fight for an optimum outcome to your case. Head over to Avvo.com to read why over 300 former clients have left 5-star reviews for the lawyers at Mark Sherman Law. Call today to get started.