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Understanding Criminal Sexual Assault Charges in New York


Sexual assault is a very serious crime that carries some strict penalties upon being found guilty. It is important to understand where the line is drawn between sexual abuse and the four degrees of aggravated sexual abuse, as defined by New York State law, so that you understand when one type of behavior turns into an even more serious crime.

In New York, the crime of sexual abuse begins with the act of subjecting someone else to sexual contact without their consent. The specific circumstances of the case can then turn it into an elevated offense. For example:

First-degree sexual abuse

First degree sexual abuse is defined as subjecting someone else to sexual contact:

  • By force;
  • When the other person is incapable of consent (due to being physically helpless);
  • When the other person is under the age of eleven; or
  • When the other person is under the age of thirteen and the defendant is twenty-one or older.

Aggravated Sexual Abuse

First degree aggravated sexual abuse is the most serious offense and can be found if the defendant inserts a foreign object in someone else’s genitals, rectum, or anus, causing physical injury:

  • By force;
  • When the other person is incapable of consent (due to being physically helpless);
  • When the other person is under the age of eleven.

A first-degree aggravated sexual abuse charge carries a prison sentence of five to 25 years.

Protect Yourself

If you have been arrested for a sexual assault crime, or even interviewed by the police, the most important thing to do is to remain silent and insist on speaking with your attorney before you answer any questions. Under no circumstances should you voluntarily submit to any DNA testing or provide law enforcement with any evidence before speaking with your attorney. You and your attorney will need to gather any physical evidence and documents that prove where you were at the time of the incident, as well as make a list of possible witnesses who could be helpful to your defense.

It can be confusing trying to figure out whether you have been officially arrested for a crime yet, and if not, whether you are free to leave without answering law enforcement’s question. Regardless of the circumstances, it is a good idea to speak with an attorney before you discuss anything.

Experienced Criminal Defense Representation

If you or a loved one has been charged with assault, speaking with an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible is crucial in order to ensure that your rights are protected. New York attorney Phillip J. Murphy has been zealously defending criminal defendants in New Jersey, Connecticut, and New York for over 25 years. When it comes to your future—and your record—it is important that you have the very best defense there is. Convictions for sexual abuse can affect your life forever—difficulties with employment, registration in sex offender registries, etc. Contact us today for a free consultation and we’ll get started helping you.



Contact Our Firm

Phillip J. Murphy,
Attorney At Law
Free Consultations Calls Answered and returned 24/7 Phone: (845) 639-6600 Fax: (845) 639-6620

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10 Esquire Road, Suite 10
New City, New York 10956

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Phillip J. Murphy, Attorney At Law is located in New City, New York and serves clients in and around New York, New Jersey & Connecticut. Contact our experienced criminal defense law firm.
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