What Makes a Sexual Assault “Aggravated” in Chicago?

gavelBeing charged with sexual assault in Illinois is serious, and if you are convicted of sexual assault, you face some of the heaviest penalties levied for any crime in the state. There are several categories of criminal sexual assault in Illinois, and although they all carry the potential for severe penalties, some are worse than others.

What is Criminal Sexual Assault?

Criminal sexual assault in Illinois, or rape, is charged when an individual commits an act of sexual penetration against another person without their consent. Criminal sexual assault is also charged in cases where the victim is not able to give consent, such as when the victim is intoxicated, mentally disabled, underage, or otherwise legally unable to give consent to have sex.

Illinois law allows sexual assault charges to be prosecuted as either a Class 1 or a Class X felony, depending on a variety of elements. The penalties for criminal sexual assault vary, again depending on the circumstances of the case and a variety of elements, but range from a sentence of four years in prison to life in prison.

You can be charged with criminal sexual assault any time there is sexual penetration and either force or the threat of force is used, you know that the victim cannot give consent to the act or that the victim does not have the mental capacity to understand the act, when the victim is a family member under the age of 18, or if you are over the age of 17 and in a position of trust or authority and the alleged victim is between the age of 13 and 18.

A first criminal sexual assault charge will usually be prosecuted as a Class 1 felony, but if you have a previous sexual assault conviction on your record, you may be charged with a Class X felony.

When Does Criminal Sexual Assault Become Aggravated?

If aggravating factors are present, your criminal sexual assault charge can become an aggravated sexual assault charge. Aggravating factors include displaying, using, or threatening to use a weapon or gun on the victim, or lead the victim to believe you had a weapon; if you caused bodily harm to the victim; if you conducted yourself in a manner that threatened the life of the alleged victim or another person; if you commit the sexual assault during the commission or commission of another felony; if the victim is over 60 years old or is physically disabled; if you give the victim a controlled substance without their knowledge; if you are armed or if you fire a gun; if you kill or severely injure another person with a gun or other weapon; if the victim is under nine years old, or between the ages of nine and 13, but force or the threat of force is used; or if the victim is profoundly mentally disabled.

Penalties for Aggravated Sexual Assault

Being convicted of aggravated sexual assault is a Class X felony, even for the first offense, and carries a sentence of four to 30 years in prison, with possible extensions of the sentence up to life in prison. A second aggravated sexual assault conviction results in a life sentence.

The Law Offices of David Freidberg Defend Against These Claims

We are here 24 hours a day, seven days a week, ready to vigorously defend any person being charged with aggravated sexual assault and facing a potential life sentence. There are a number of defense strategies Mr. Freidberg may advance to have the charges against you lowered or dropped. If you are facing criminal sexual assault charges or charges of aggravated rape, it is important to seek experienced legal representation from an Cook County sex crimes attorney.  Contact us today at 312-560-7100 or email us, for a complimentary consultation to learn how we can fight for you.