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Fairfield CT sex crime defense attorneyMost experts agree that a person’s brain is not fully developed until about age 25. Because children’s brains are still developing and they have not had the life experience needed to make informed choices about sex, children cannot consent to sexual activities by law. However, the “age of consent,” or age at which a person is considered old enough to consent to sex, varies from state to state. The relationship between the child and the person with whom they have a sexual relationship also affects the legality of the relationship. If you or a loved one has been accused of having sexual relations with someone under the age of consent, you may be arrested and charged with a sex crime.

Sexual Activity With Someone Under the Age of Consent

The age of consent in Connecticut is 16. This means that anyone aged 15 or below is unable to consent to sex in the eyes of the law. Any sexual activity between an adult and someone under 16 may lead to criminal charges and potential jail time. However, there are exceptions to this law. If a child is over age 13 and he or she has a sexual relationship with someone less than four years older than him or her, this may not be considered a crime. For example, a 17-year-old who has a sexual relationship with a 15-year-old is not breaking the law unless there are other unlawful factors such as the use of force. This so-called “Romeo and Juliet” exception exists to protect teenagers from criminal prosecution for having consensual sexual relationships with other teenagers. There are also situations in which having sexual relations with someone over the age of consent may be in violation of Connecticut law. For example, if a person over age 20 in a position of authority such as a coach or teacher has sex with someone under 18, he or she may be charged with statutory rape.

Statutory Rape Laws in Connecticut

Sexual activity between a child under age 13 and a person three or more years older than the child is considered first-degree sexual assault in Connecticut. This Class A felony offense is punishable by fines up to $20,000 and up to 25 years in prison. Sex between a child aged 13 to 15 and someone at least four years older than the child is considered second-degree sexual assault. This is a Class B felony punishable by a maximum fine of $15,000 and up to 20 years’ imprisonment. Non-penetrative sexual activity between a child under 13 and someone more than two years older than the child is a Class D felony punishable by up to five years in prison and $5,000 in fines. In addition to fines, imprisonment, and other criminal consequences, individuals convicted of sex crimes against children will also need to register as sex offenders.

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CT defense lawyerBeing accused of sexual assault may come as a shock, especially if you believe the accusation to be partly or completely fabricated. You may have never had sexual relations with your accuser or have believed that your encounter was consensual. Though prosecutors have the burden of proving your guilt, the mere accusation can be enough to tarnish your reputation and throw your life into turmoil. You need to fight back against false sexual assault charges and can help your defense by taking the following actions when you have been accused:

  • Find a Good Defense Lawyer: Whenever you face criminal charges, your first step should be to contact a criminal defense lawyer. What you say and do following your arrest can become evidence in a criminal trial. A criminal defense lawyer will speak on your behalf and make sure that you are treated fairly by the law.
  • Be Honest with Your Lawyer: A person accused of sexual assault may be uncomfortable discussing the history of their interaction with the accuser. It may be that they were involved in an extra-marital affair or a relationship that would have professional consequences. Your defense attorney needs to know exactly what happened between you and the accuser, even if you are embarrassed to admit it.
  • Figure Out Your Timeline: Your defense will rely on your version of the events leading up to and during the alleged assault. Depending on how long ago the alleged assault occurred, it may be difficult to recall all of the details. You need to come up with a timeline of events as you can best remember and stay consistent with that story.
  • Identify Your Evidence: Evidence in a sexual assault case often comes down to “he said, she said,” but there can be tangible evidence that backs up your testimony. Text messages, emails, and phone calls can show whether your relationship was consensual and may contradict your accuser’s testimony. If you deny having been with the person at the time of the alleged assault, a witness could testify as to your whereabouts at that time.
  • Stay Calm: Perceptions about your character may determine whether a court will believe your testimony in a sexual assault case. It is important that you refrain from public outbursts or verbal attacks against your accuser, including staying silent on social media about the case. Aggressive and emotional behavior leaves an impression on the court that you are the type of person they could imagine committing a sexual assault.

Contact a Fairfield County Criminal Defense Lawyer

It is possible to quash a false sexual assault charge against you with the right legal representation. A Stamford criminal defense attorney at the Law Offices of Daniel P. Weiner can put you in the best position to win your case. To schedule a free consultation, call 203-348-5846.

 

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CT defense lawyerSex crimes cause untold suffering for their victims, but can also cause serious trouble for those unjustly accused. Because these crimes are so serious, sometimes law enforcement will arrest and charge a defendant when they lack sufficient evidence to get a conviction. If this has happened to you, it is crucial that you seek out an attorney with the experience to help you fight this type of charge before its consequences can be visited on you.

A Variety of Charges

Sex crimes under Connecticut law are fairly wide-ranging, as the actual conduct in question may range from a single touch to the more popularly understood perception of sexual assault. However, any offense that can be shown to have a sexual or prurient component may qualify as a sex offense - for example, Connecticut law establishes that any touching of a sexual nature outside the clothing is sexual assault in the fourth degree, which can be a Class D felony or Class A misdemeanor, depending on the specific situation.

State law also allows for the possibility of “aggravated” assault, which may be charged when an alleged sex crime is perpetrated under specific circumstances. For example, a person may be charged with aggravated sexual assault in the first degree if they commit sexual assault in the first degree, but they do so with an accomplice or with a deadly weapon (or they convince the victim they have a deadly weapon they are not afraid to use).

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Posted on in Sex Crimes

CT defense lawyerBeing the victim of a sex crime is one of the most devastating events that can happen to a person. However, being accused of a sex crime that you did not commit can be a terrifying process that can essentially ruin lives. If you are in that position, it is absolutely critical to engage an experienced Stamford sex crimes defense attorney who understands the stakes of your situation.

Different Degrees

Sex crimes in Connecticut run the gamut from Class B misdemeanors to Class A felonies, and they can require varying degrees of intent. Generally, the degree charged will be higher the more evidence of force is present. For example, if someone engages in a sexual act with someone who is legally ineligible to consent, but without force, they will likely be charged with sexual assault in the fourth degree, but if they engage in sex while using force, they will be charged with third-degree assault, or possibly rape, which is sexual assault in the first degree.

Other crimes that are classified as sex crimes include prostitution, pandering, any kind of obscenity with a minor such as child pornography, and any other crime that can be shown to be sexual in nature. Sentences will vary depending on whether or not any penetrative contact happened, and also if there was any type of aggravating factor, such as a weapon or if the crime was committed against a vulnerable person such as a child or an elderly person.

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CT defense lawyerSex crimes are among the most serious and potentially damaging allegations that can be levied against a person, and even if they are untrue, the stigma can remain for years after your name is legally cleared. If you have been charged with a sex crime in Connecticut, you need an attorney who understands the law in these high-pressure situations, and who will give you the best chance to clear your name if the accusations are untrue.

Four Different Charges

Connecticut law recognizes four different degrees of sexual assault, as opposed to delineating different charges for rape, sexual assault, statutory rape, and other sex-related crimes. It is also possible to add an ‘aggravating’ factor, such as the use of a weapon, the help of accomplices who are present, or the display of “extreme indifference to human life.” It is possible to charge someone with both aggravated and non-aggravated sexual assault in the same degree, though one can only be convicted of one or the other.

It is important to understand that being accused of a lesser degree of sexual misconduct does not mean that the charge should not be taken extremely seriously. While first and second-degree sexual assaults are felonies carrying up to life and 40 years’ prison sentence respectively, even a fourth-degree misdemeanor charge of sexual assault carries a penalty of up to one year in jail. This is on top of any fines and required registry as a sex offender.

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