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What are the Most Serious Sex Crimes in Illinois?

 Posted on October 13, 2023 in Criminal Defense

IL defense lawyerAs of February 2023, over 786,000 people were listed as offenders on state sex offender registries. Some of these offenders could likely have received lesser sentences if they had hired an accomplished attorney to represent their interests in court.

If you have been charged with a sex crime in Illinois, you need dedicated representation from an aggressive Chicago criminal defense attorney.

What is Classified as a Sex Crime? 

A sex crime involves any unlawful act that has a sexual element. Many crimes involve sexual violence, which refers to unwanted or coerced sexual behavior. Sex crimes may or may not involve actual penetration.

Types of Sex Crimes in Illinois

Criminal sexual abuse and criminal sexual assault are two different charges in Illinois. Most notably, criminal sexual assault is always a felony, while criminal sexual abuse may be classified as a misdemeanor, depending on the circumstances behind the crime.

The most serious sex crimes in Illinois are:

Rape or Criminal Sexual Assault

In Illinois, a criminal sexual assault charge often refers to rape. Under Illinois law, it is sexual penetration combined with any of the following:

  • Force or threat of force
  • The victim cannot understand the nature of the conduct or give consent.
  • The victim is a family member under the age of 18
  • The victim is at least 13 years old but under the age of 18, and the accused is at least 17 years old and holds a “position of authority” (a “position of authority” may include a teacher, coach, or church leader)

A first conviction for criminal sexual assault is a Class 1 Felony. There will be a mandatory incarceration of four to 15 years in jail. 

Subsequent violations are a Class X Felony, the most serious offense under Illinois law. You will have mandatory sentencing of six to 30 years in prison. You will not receive probation.

Statutory Rape

The age of consent in Illinois is 17 years old. Even if sexual conduct is taking place between two consenting individuals, a person under the age of 17 years old cannot legally consent to sexual activity. 

However, if one person has a “position of authority” over the other participant, then the age of consent is 18 years of age. 

Statutory rape is considered a Class 2 Felony. It will carry a sentence of three to seven years in prison.

Criminal Sexual Abuse

In Illinois, a person will be charged with criminal sexual abuse if they engage in sexual conduct and one of the two following situations apply:

  • The offender uses force or threat of force
  • The victim cannot understand the nature of the conduct or give consent

If either of the above situations apply, the accused will be convicted of a Class 4 Felony, with the first conviction punishable by one to three years in jail. Subsequent violations are classified as a Class 2 Felony, punishable by three to seven years in prison, with possible probation.

A person may also be charged with sexual abuse if that person engages in sexual conduct or sexual penetration and one of the two following situations apply:

  • The accused is younger than 17 years old, and the victim is at least nine years old but younger than 17 years old.
  • The accused is five years older than the victim (no older than 21 years of age), and the victim is between 13 and 17.

Violation of either of these circumstances is considered a Class A misdemeanor. For the first and subsequent convictions, the offender could potentially spend one year in prison. 

However, if you had reason to believe that the victim was at least 17 years old, a Cook County sex crimes defense attorney may be able to use this as a defense to get you a reduced sentence.

Any allegations of sexual abuse or sexual assault will remain on your criminal record forever. Sealing or removing (called “expunction”) these convictions can take several months and require the assistance of an experienced attorney.

Contact a Cook County, IL, Criminal Defense Attorney Today

If you have been accused of a sex crime, you need accomplished, aggressive, and dedicated counsel. Our Chicago, IL, sex crimes defense lawyer has been representing clients charged with serious felonies for over ten years. With a proven track record, Attorney DiQuattro will always go the extra mile to fight for your rights. Contact Law Offices of James F. DiQuattro today to schedule your free consultation by calling 312-627-9482 or sending us an online message. 

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