Predatory criminal sexual assault of a child is one of the most serious crimes a person can commit under Illinois law. It involves forced or illegal sexual conduct against a child below 13 years old by a person who is 17 years of age or older.
Those guilty of this sex crime face the most severe penalties under Illinois law, including life imprisonment (in certain cases) upon conviction.
If you are facing such charges, getting aggressive legal representation immediately is paramount. It might just be the difference between your conviction and your freedom.
The fierce criminal defense attorneys at Hirsch Law Group can help. But in the meantime, this guide explains the intricacies of your predatory sexual assault of a child charge and the penalties you may face to help you adequately understand what you are up against and prepare for your case.
Keep reading to learn more.
The law on predatory criminal sexual assault of a child is meant to protect children who are under 13 from sexual predators who are much older than them. A charge for this offense basically alleges the following:
The defendant is 17 years or older.
The victim is below 13 years old.
There was contact between the sex organ or anus of one party and any part of the other party’s body, no matter how slight.
The contact was made for the sexual gratification of either party.
The prosecution must prove all these elements beyond reasonable doubt to secure a conviction for this offense. You, on the other hand, would need to disprove the prosecution’s evidence against you. Being able to establish that one or more of these elements are absent in your case is a step in the right direction.
Sometimes, the prosecution may include additional charges for similar felony offenses, such as aggravated criminal sexual assault, to make things more difficult for a defendant. If that happens in your case, you’ll need to also understand the elements of the other charges and build your defense accordingly.
In such instances, an experienced Chicago Felony Lawyer can help you understand the complex elements of your case and how to fight your charges on all fronts.
Predatory criminal assault is a Class X felony. Individuals convicted of offenses in that class are not eligible for probation. They must also serve a mandatory minimum prison sentence of six years.
For predatory criminal assault of a child, the law prescribes a specific prison sentence of between six to 60 years for anyone found guilty. However, the sentence may be extended if;
The defendant was armed with a firearm or personally discharged a firearm when the crime was committed.
The defendant caused great bodily harm (serious injury) to the victim that was life-threatening or led to a permanent disability.
The defendant administered a controlled substance or illegal drugs to the victim without the victim’s consent unless the drugs were administered for a medical purpose.
In cases where any of these aggravating factors are present, the law prescribes an extra prison sentence to be served in addition to any sentence the judge may impose.
The stakes are higher for a defendant who is over 18 and has a previous criminal sexual assault conviction. They could be sentenced to life imprisonment if convicted.
This underscores the need to avoid a criminal conviction in the first place. Your previous record could be used against you if you ever get in trouble with the law in the future.
If you are convicted of predatory criminal sexual assault of a child, you’ll be required to register as a sex offender with the state’s sex offender registry.
As a registered sex offender, your activities will be restricted, and it will be illegal for you to be present in a public park or within 500 feet of a school. This could make securing a job or a place to live difficult even after serving your sentence.
Because of the sensitive nature of the offense, those convicted are classified as sexual predators and must renew their sex offender registration annually for the rest of their lives.
The registry is public, meaning anyone can get details about your conviction even after you have served your prison sentence. You and your loved ones may have to live with the stigma for the rest of your lives.
The penalties for predatory criminal sexual assault are harsh. But the only way to avoid them is to utilize the opportunity you have been given to defend yourself diligently.
Remember, you are not just defending yourself against the allegations against you. You are fighting for your life, your reputation, your freedom, and the dignity of your loved ones. So you need all the help you can get to succeed.
If you are facing such charges, you can count on the experienced team of Illinois Criminal Defense Lawyers at Hirsch Law Group to help you understand the complex elements of your case and defend you aggressively. Our lawyers can provide strong legal advice tailored to your unique circumstances and do all they can to ensure you emerge from your trial unscathed or with as minimal criminal liability as your case allows.
Sometimes, predatory criminal sexual assault charges are accompanied by other charges, such as criminal sexual abuse or domestic violence. If that is your case, you can trust our competent criminal and Domestic Violence Defense Lawyers to provide an all-around defense that addresses the elements of each charge and steer your case toward the desired outcome.
Contact us immediately to learn more about your case. Let us help you determine a suitable strategy for your defense.