Sex crimes are some of the worst criminal offenses you can commit in Illinois. No sex crime is small; any and all types of sex crimes carry heavy penalties and result in the person being registered as a sex offender for life. This can have a dramatic impact on their life; being on the sex offender’s list disqualifies them from holding certain jobs, visiting a certain area, and living in certain places.
The reason that sex crimes are particularly some of the worst to be charged with is the social stigma around accused sex criminals. Even if you are falsely accused, and the court acquits you of all such charges, people become tagged as outcasts. Nobody wants to be associated with a sex offender!
Being charged with any felony is bad enough, but you generally pay the price and get back to normal life. A sex offense conviction, however, stays with you for life and continues to precede your reputation wherever you go.
What are sex Crimes?
A variety of crimes and offenses fall under the umbrella of sex crimes, but they all generally involve the illegal coercion of or performing sexual acts without the consent of the other party. Sex crimes are not taken lightly; even if the person manages to escape jail time or other punitive measures, they get registered as a sex offender, which is a stain and record impossible to be rid of.
Types of Sex Crimes
Though there are multiple types of sex crimes that are recognized and acknowledged by the courts of law, the definitions, boundaries, and punishments vary significantly across the US. In Chicago, most sex offenses fall under either of the following categories.
Rape is defined as the non-consensual act of sexual intercourse, where either of the parties is forced by the other to engage in the act. Being accused of rape can carry severe penalties and long-term punishments. Rape can be of different types as well, such as statutory rape, aggravated rape, date rape, or marital rape, amongst other types.
Any party that did not give consent, or is not ABLE to give consent, is considered rape. This includes forced sexual acts with a minor, a person with impaired mental capacity, or people that have been drugged and coerced into the act.
Sexual abuse is a broad term and includes everything from inappropriate touching to suggestive comments, molestation to rape. The one accused of sexual abuse will
As heinous as it sounds, child molestation and statutory rape are a reality. Child molestation entails touching a minor, grooming them, manipulating them into engaging any type of sexual activity or raping them. In Chicago, any sexual activity with a child, specifically under the age of 14, counts as child molestation and is punished very strictly. Consent is not valid in such a case as a child’s consent holds no grounds in the eyes of the law.
The production, distribution, or possession of child pornography is unacceptable and a huge crime. If you are merely even found to be in possession of such illicit material, you qualify as a sex offender and will be punished accordingly.
Prostitution is the illegal exchange of money for sex. Most states across the US have outlawed the practice, but it is very hard to weed it out. Though it is considered a sex crime, many across the US continue to sell their services for money, and others who continue to engage in it.
In Chicago, the crime is only applicable to the one who is selling or offering the sex act for money. Other sex crimes related to prostitution include pandering or pimping.
Indecent exposure is a somewhat milder sex crime that involves flashing or displaying of private body parts and genitalia in public or private property, with the intention to shock, overpower, or harass the victim. Though it is considered a less serious crime than the others, it might still require the individual to be registered as a sex offender.
Internet Sex Crimes
The use of the internet is growing in every sphere of life, and sadly that includes sexual exploitation and crimes too. The internet is used to blackmail people into performing non-consensual sex acts on camera or groom minors for sexual exploitation. The laws involving digital sex crimes are tightening to counter these unconventional crimes.
Consequences of Sex Crimes
The consequences of being proven a sex offender are not pretty. Sex crimes are taken very seriously in Illinois’s law. Even with the mildest conviction, the accused may still be registered as a sex offender, and that is a huge punishment in itself. Here are other legal penalties faced by proven sex offenders
Registration as a Sex Offender
Considering the long-term impacts and consequences of having your name listed in the sex offender’s list, it is safe to say that this is perhaps one of the worst punishments for a culprit as is. Once you are on that list, there is no getting out of it.
Being a listed sex offender prohibits you from holding certain jobs, living in certain neighborhoods, and even as far as being in close proximity to schools and playgrounds. An accused sex offender will forever have that on his record, and it will forever influence all major life decisions for him.
Most sex crimes are punished by mandatory jail time. The years of the sentence can vary in each unique case, but generally, in Illinois, the sexual offense is classified and punished in the following way.
First Conviction - The first conviction of a sex crime is generally classified as a Class 1 felony, which is punishable by 4-15 years in prison.
Second Conviction - A repeat offense will drastically aggravate the consequences too. Second convictions are classified as Class X felonies, which hold 30-60 years of prison time.
Aggravated Sexual Assault - If the sexual assault was accompanied by violence, death threats, or involved statutory rape, the offense is also clubbed under Class X felonies and can earn the offender 6-30 years of mandatory prison time, which can be reviewed and extended to life in prison.
Heavy fines could also be imposed, along with other punishments, such as jail time or registration as a sex offender. Fines are more common for milder sexual offenses such as indecent exposure. The punitive fines can range from $10000 to $100,000 depending on the specifics of the case and damage done.
How A Sex Crime Lawyer Can Help You
If you have been wrongfully accused of committing a sex crime, you have the right to have a fair trial and an attorney. The consequences of being proven a sex offender are ugly, and you must do all that you can to protect yourself from a lifetime of pain and inconvenience because of a wrongful accusation.
If you have been charged with a sex crime, it is strongly advised that you lawyer up, discuss the situation with a knowledgeable sex crime lawyer in Chicago and explore what options you have. The nature of such crimes puts the law enforcement agencies and judges under a lot of stress to gain a sentence; thus, professional defense and representation are of utmost importance.
The lawyer will assist the accused in gathering evidence and documentation that could prove your innocence, represent you in court, and strive to rid you of the unfair sentence. Ktenas Law has an experienced Criminal Defense Lawyer that you can count on to handle your case. Contact us today to schedule your FREE consultation.