Many people in the New York area are often faced with the burden of protecting loved ones from criminal charges. Similarly, New Yorker’s can also experience difficulties when they do not properly understand the state’s laws regarding certain charges. If you or a loved one is experiencing legal difficulties surrounding criminal sexual act in the first degree, here are 10 of the most common questions about the charge and tips on how to handle the legal process.
Is this charge a serious one?
Yes. Criminal sexual act in the first degree is one of the most serious sexual crimes in the criminal justice system. This charge can be included in a group of other charges or can be presented alone. Rape, aggravated sexual abuse, and sexual misconduct can all be included with this charge, but charges will vary depending on the specific situation. If successfully prosecuted, a criminal will receive a Class B felony conviction.
What kind of actions can receive this charge?
New York law dictates that criminals be charged with criminal sexual act in the first degree for actions up to and including rape (non consensual sex), sex with a minor under 13 years of age, sex with individuals incapable of consenting, forced oral or anal sex, sexual abuse, oral or anal sex with a minor less than 13 years of age, and forcible compulsion.
What are the sentences associated with this charge?
Because this charge is a Class B Felony, those found guilty of criminal sexual act in the first degree face up to 25 years in prison when convicted. This is considered a violent crime, so mandatory sentences will include a minimum of 5 years of prison time. If the person charged with criminal sexual act in the first degree is a repeat offender the mandatory minimum sentence is 10 years in prison.
Should I get an attorney for this charge?
You should obtain legal representation immediately when charged with any crime. If you cannot afford a defense attorney, one will be assigned to you following your arrest. These attorneys work very closely with prosecutors to make deals, so it is in your best interest to obtain private counsel.
Why is the prosecutor saying I did not have consent?
Even if you have technical consent from the person involved in the sexual act, the following situations can still result in a non-consensual status.
- Anal or oral sex by forcible compulsion
- anal, oral, or traditional sex with a person who is physically helpless
- Anal or oral sex with a person under 11 years old
These actions all result in a non-consensual charge regardless of whether consent was orally or otherwise granted.
Why do certain situations result in automatic lack of consent?
Certain sexual situations result in an automatic lack of consent according to legal standards because not every person is considered able to give consent. Adult consensual sexual relationships are usually respected legally. Children, mentally challenged, and otherwise disabled persons are not able to give sexual consent.
What happens after the arrest?
After an arrest is made in a criminal sexual act in the first degree case, the criminal is taken into local custody and booked until the arraignment. This process can last up to 3 days but can also be completed within hours of the initial arrest. The arrested person then faces an arraignment hearing where bail is issued and they are made aware of the any additional charges the prosecutor may have added.
What happens after the arraignment?
During the arraignment, bail is set and you are generally allowed to be released after paying the fine to await trial.
It can be psychologically and financially burdensome to face criminal sex charges but hiring a good attorney can ease some of the burden. Understanding the process can be vital in surviving this process.