Sexual Assault is a heinous crime and creates a staggering amount of emotional, mental and physical damage that can take years for a victim to heal. While we believe that people committing such crimes should be held responsible, if you have been wrongly accused of sexual assault, you have the right to the presumption of innocence until proven guilty, and the right to defend yourself properly against the charges you are facing.
At The Upton Law Firm, we understand the seriousness of sex crime allegations, and we also understand that bad circumstances happen to good people. Maybe you misunderstood the intentions of your accuser. Maybe you made a poor decision in the heat of the moment. Or maybe your accuser made the whole thing up out of spite or the desire for revenge. Whatever the case, our experienced criminal defense attorneys are ready to go to work for you and advocate aggressively for your legal rights and interests.
We are a veteran owned and operated firm with over 50 years of combined experience successfully defending clients accused of sexual assault and all other types of criminal violations in Connecticut. We are honest, straightforward, down to earth, and we know what it means to “serve.” We can provide a thorough assessment of your case and advise you of all of your legal options. And if you retain our services, we will go to work immediately to investigate the facts and evidence of the case and develop the most effective defense strategy to minimize the negative consequences as much as possible.
Sexual Assault Charges in Connecticut
There are several different categories of sexual assault that an individual may be charged with in Connecticut:
- First-Degree Sexual Assault (Connecticut Code – Sec. § 53a-70): Commonly known as “rape”, sexual assault in the first degree occurs when an individual engages in sexual intercourse that is compelled by the use of force or the threat of force that caused reasonable fear to the victim, or when an individual engages in sexual intercourse with a person who is mentally incapacitated and unable to consent. This offense can also be charged statutorily if the victim is under the age of consent. First-degree sexual assault can be charged as a Class A felony if the victim is under 16 and the perpetrator uses force or threatens to use force, or if the victim is under 13 and the perpetrator is at least 2 years older than the victim. Otherwise, it is charged as a Class B felony.
- Aggravated First-Degree Sexual Assault (Connecticut Code – Sec. § 53a-70a): An individual can be charged with aggravated sexual assault in the first degree if they commit first-degree sexual assault with aggravated circumstances. Examples may include the use of a deadly weapon, causing intentional serious or permanent disfiguring or disabling injuries, displaying extreme recklessness that results in serious injury or death to the victim, and committing sexual assault with the aid of two or more additional individuals. Aggravated first-degree sexual assault may be charged as a Class A felony if the victim is under the age of 16. Otherwise, it is charged as a Class B felony.
- Second-Degree Sexual Assault (Connecticut Code – Sec. § 53a-71): Sexual assault in the second degree occurs when an individual takes advantage of his or her position of power over the victim to engage in sexual relations with them. There are a variety of situations in which this could occur, such as when the accused is a psychotherapist, the victim is a patient, and the intercourse occurs during a therapy session. Other examples may include a teacher having sex with an enrolled student, a coach with a player on the team he or she is coaching, and any situation in which the victim is between the ages of 13 and 16 and the accused is more than 3 years older than the victim. Second-degree sexual assault may be charged as a Class B felony if the victim is under the age of 16. Otherwise, it is charged as a Class C felony.
- Third-Degree Sexual Assault (Connecticut Code – Sec. § 53a-72a): Sexual assault in the third degree occurs when an individual engages in sexual conduct (other than intercourse) with another individual through the use of force or threats. Sexual conduct may include acts like groping, touching, fondling, and other unwanted sexual contact. Third-degree sexual assault may be charged as a Class C felony if the victim is under the age of 16 and/or a firearm was used to commit the assault. Otherwise, it is charged as a Class D felony.
- Fourth-Degree Sexual Assault (Connecticut Code – Sec. § 53a-73a): Sexual assault in the fourth degree occurs when an individual engages in any type of purposeful and unwanted sexual contact with another person. Fourth-degree sexual assault is sometimes charged as a Class A misdemeanor, or it may also be charged as a Class D felony.
Penalties for sexual assault convictions can be very harsh. For a Class A felony conviction, you may be facing fines of up to $20,000 and 25 to 60 years in prison. A Class B felony is punishable with fines of up to $15,000 and one to 20 years in prison. For a Class C felony, the fines can be as high as $10,000 and you may be facing up to 10 years in prison. A Class D felony may include fines of up to $5000 and up to 5 years in prison. For a Class A misdemeanor, the maximum jail time is one year, and the maximum fine is $2000. In addition to these penalties, those who are convicted of sex crimes in Connecticut must register as a sex offender, which is information that is available to the public.
Defending a Sexual Assault Charge
Many who are accused of a sex crime are already convicted in the court of public opinion before they ever get a chance to tell their side of the story in a court of law. But regardless of how other people view you, you are still innocent until proven guilty under our Constitution. Our lawyers will thoroughly analyze the facts and evidence and identify any and all weaknesses in the prosecution’s case against you. Some possible defenses may include consent (i.e., the victim consented to the sexual activity), alibi (i.e., you have proof that you were somewhere else at the time of the alleged incident and could not have committed the offense), and insufficient evidence to prove the charges.
Speak with an Experienced Connecticut Criminal Defense Attorney
If you have been charged with sexual assault or any other type of sex crime in Connecticut, this is a very serious matter. The consequences for a conviction are extremely harsh, and you could be facing the loss of your freedom as well as many other penalties. With so much on the line, you need strong legal counsel in your corner fighting hard to protect your future.
For a confidential and discrete consultation with one of our skilled criminal defense lawyers, call The Upton Law Firm, today at 860-893-0558, or send us a message through our online contact form. You may also stop by our office in West Hartford at your convenience.