Greenwich Sexual Assault Charges
Receiving criminal charges can be daunting, especially if you have little experience navigating the legal system. Sexual assault charges are especially stressful with the possibility of lengthy prison sentences and felony charges. As a result, anyone charged with sexual assault in Greenwich Connecticut should familiarize themselves with Connecticut law.
This knowledge could come in handy both before and during trial. One of the best ways to protect yourself is to be aware of your rights. Knowing about Greenwich sexual assault charges may also help you select a dedicated criminal defense lawyer and begin the process of building toward a positive outcome.
Types of Sexual Assault Charges in Greenwich
Connecticut General Statutes §53a-65 defines sexual assault as any kind of unwanted sexual contact involving an individual’s genital areas to achieve sexual gratification or to degrade or humiliate. This includes, but is not limited to, sexual intercourse. Sexual assault is divided into four categories by the state, with penalties associated with the severity of each classification.
Fourth-Degree Sexual Assault
Generally, C.G.S. § 53a-73a defines fourth-degree sexual assault as unwanted sexual contact—but not intercourse—with individuals who cannot consent for a variety of reasons. This includes:
- Mentally impaired persons
- Physically helpless individuals
- Minors between the age of 13 and 15 years of age
- Between a therapist and patient, or legal guardian and ward
Fourth-degree assault in Connecticut is usually prosecuted as a misdemeanor and could carry a punishment of one year in prison. However, depending on the circumstances surrounding the alleged assault, it could be prosecuted as a felony and potentially receive different sentencing as a result.
Third-Degree Sexual Assault
Under C.G.S. § 53a-72a, third-degree sexual assault occurs when an individual is forced to engage in unwanted sexual contact. This includes the use of force that causes fear of physical harm.
Second-Degree Sexual Assault
Similar to fourth-degree assault, Connecticut second-degree assault refers to unwanted sexual intercourse perpetuated against an individual who is unable to consent. Under C.G.S. §53a-71, any person convicted of a second-degree sexual assault must serve a prison sentence of length determined by the court, of which 9 months must be served without suspension of reduction.
First-Degree Sexual Assault
According to C.G.S. §53a-70, Connecticut first-degree sexual assault charges refer to someone using force, or the threat to force, to engage in sexual intercourse with someone else. Additionally, first-degree sexual assault occurs if two or more other people assist the perpetrator in committing second-degree assault. A first-degree assault conviction in Greenwich carries a minimum sentence of ten years.
Defenses to Sexual Assault Charges
C.G.S. § 53a-67 sets forth various possible defenses to sexual assault charges. First, a defendant may claim they had no knowledge of the following conditions of the other individual:
- Their physical helplessness
- Their mental impairment
- Their mental incapacity, including lack of capacity to consent
There are also provisions in the Connecticut general code for those who are living together in a consensual relationship. A lawyer well-versed in sexual assault charges in Greenwich may be able to provide better insight.
Be Aware of Greenwich Law on Sexual Assault Charges
Being charged with any kind of sexual assault can be overwhelming. One of the most important things to do when facing such charges, though, is to evaluate your legal options calmly and without panicking. In many cases, choosing a qualified lawyer may be key to preserving your rights.
You may also benefit from learning more about Connecticut laws on sexual assault. This knowledge may help you or your lawyer plan your defense. It may also make the legal process more understandable and less overwhelming.
If you are facing Greenwich sexual assault charges, be sure you know the applicable law as much as possible. Then, make sure you call a top Greenwich Connecticut criminal sex assault lawyer to go over your options and protect yourself as much as possible.