Washington DC Sexual Battery Lawyer

Sex crimes in DC are some of the most heavily penalized in the district, and allegations of sexual battery or similar offenses are taken very seriously by law enforcement officials. Even if a charge is reduced, a conviction for any sexual abuse crime creates a criminal record that can haunt someone far into the future.

It may be wise contact a Washington DC sexual battery lawyer to take action as soon as possible and begin laying the groundwork for a solid defense by collecting evidence and soliciting advice before making statements to others. An experienced sex crimes attorney could prove to be a valuable ally for those facing any charges involving sexual abuse.

Sexual Battery is Defined Differently in DC

Every jurisdiction refers to sex crimes such as rape and sexual battery in slightly different terms. In Washington, these crimes are known as sexual abuse offenses. The DC code defines four different degrees of felony sexual abuse as well as a misdemeanor version of the crime. Some sexual abuse crimes involve sexual acts while others involve sexual contact.

Both of these terms are defined very specifically in section 22-3001 of the code. Essentially, a sexual act involves penetration or contact commonly referred to as “oral sex.” Sexual contact, by contrast, is defined in as the touching of certain intimate body parts of another “with an intent to abuse, humiliate, harass, degrade, or arouse or gratify the sexual desire of any person.” Such contact may be made through clothing.

Penalties May Vary Depending on the Circumstances

The facts of a situation may determine whether a sexual abuse offense is found to be an extremely serious felony, a moderately severe felony, or a misdemeanor. The most serious offenses, first and second-degree sexual abuse, could be punishable by 20 or more years in prison and fines of $50,000 or more. Those convicted of third-degree sexual abuse face up to ten years of imprisonment and a fine of up to $25,000 while those found guilty of fourth-degree sexual abuse may be sentenced to five years in prison and a fine as high as $12,500.

Someone convicted of misdemeanor sexual abuse may be incarcerated for up to six months and required to pay a fine of up to $1,000. A Washington DC sexual battery lawyer could mitigate the penalties a person may face.

How Sexual Abuse Crimes are Defined

The way first-degree and second-degree sexual abuse is defined would cause them to be considered rape crimes in many jurisdictions. These offenses involve sexual acts committed without consent. Where force is involved, or someone is threatened with bodily injury, the crime is penalized more severely. The crime is also aggravated if children are involved.

Third and fourth-degree sexual abuse involve sexual contact rather than a sexual act and would be known as sexual battery or sexual assault under other statutory definitions. In DC, a third-degree sexual abuse offense occurs when someone makes sexual contact with another person:

  • By use of force
  • By threat or fear of injury, death or kidnapping
  • Whom they have caused to lose consciousness
  • Whom they have given a drug or other substance that impairs their ability to understand or control conduct (when such drug is given without knowledge or permission) (D.C. Code §22-3004)

A fourth-degree sexual abuse situation involves sexual contact made under threat of some action other than bodily harm (such as a threat of financial harm) or contact made with someone incapable of consenting to or understanding the contact. (D.C. Code §22-3005.)

Misdemeanor sexual abuse occurs when a person engages in a sexual act or sexual contact when they know or should know that the other person has not given permission. (D.C. Code §22-3006.)

Speaking with a Washington DC Sexual Battery Attorney

If you are facing charges involving sexual battery or another sexual abuse crime, time is of the essence. It is important to collect evidence and gain advice promptly in order to work toward the best possible disposition of the case.

A knowledgeable Washington DC sexual battery lawyer could guide you through the process and advocate on your behalf at all stages. For a free consultation, call our office now.