If the sexual abuse involves children, there are additional misdemeanor charges and other charges that would be based on the level of sexual abuse and physical violence. The most important thing to note is that sexual abuse is a serious crime and is not taken lightly by the court system in Washington DC.
What is a Sexual Act? In the District of Columbia, the Code states that a sexual act has taken place if the following events occur: There is penetration, even minor, of the vulva or anus of another individual, by a penis.
If there is contact between the penis and mouth, the vulva and the mouth or the anus and the mouth. There is penetration, even minor, of the vulva or the anus by the finger or a hand or any inanimate object, with intent to humiliate, abuse, degrade, harass, gratify or arouse the sexual desire of any individual.
Of the four categories of sexual abuse, the first-degree charge is the most serious and the fourth degree is the least serious. First Degree Sexual Abuse: In Washington, DC there are two key factors that help determine whether a particular sexual offense can be classified as first-degree sexual abuse. The first factor is the requirement that the individual either engages another individual in a sexual act or somehow causes the other individual to participate in or engage in a sexual act.
The second-factor address exactly how this sexual act transpires. It could be that the offender used actual physical force against the other individual. This reasoning also covers broader threats — for example, if the offender threatens to harm, hurt or kill a family member if the victim does not submit to the sex act. First-degree sexual abuse also includes date rape.
In many cases, if the victim suffered serious bodily harm, your sexual abuse lawyer may request for a life sentence. Second Degree Sexual Abuse: When determining whether a particular act of sexual abuse was second degree, the first factor is similar to the first factor when determining first degree sexual abuse which is that the offender either engages another individual in a sexual act or somehow causes the other individual to engage in or submit to a sexual act.
However, in second degree sexual abuse, the prosecution has the burden to prove that the offender threatened or induced unreasonable fear or that the offender knew or should have known that the other individual was incapable of either declining participation in the sexual act, was not able to appraise the nature of the conduct or did state that he or she did not wish to engage in the act.
With the first and second-degree sexual abuse cases there is usually a sexual act i. When classifying third and fourth degree sexual offenses, the difference lies in determining how the sexual contact was made and if there were any threats or use of force, Again, with third degree sexual abuse there is an actual threat or physical force used to induce fear of bodily injury, kidnapping, death or rendering the individual unconscious.
With a fourth degree sexual offense, this usually involves inducing reasonable fear of any type of bodily harm or the victim is already unconscious. A classic example is a teacher engaging with his or her underage students in sexual acts. Consent Consent is an important component when classifying sexual abuse. The DC Code defines consent as any indication — through words or actions — that indicates an agreement to the sexual act or sexual contact in question.
If the victim is forced to submit to sexual abuse through the use of force, threats or coercion, this does not fall under the definition of consent.
If this is not the case, then it is not consent. In addition, if the person is deemed incapable of giving consent, then such consent cannot be assumed or implied. The time limits apply to both the offender and the victim. If you are a victim and plan to sue, you should to it promptly. In addition, sexual abuse lawyers also have to file charges in a reasonable amount of time.
An important thing to keep in mind is that laws often change and any criminal statute of limitations that apply to your case will be based on the time the actual sexual abuse took place and not when you decide to take legal action.
This means that even though the legislation may have changed during that time-frame, the old rules will apply to an old offense. One cannot apply new legislation retroactively to old cases. Once this time limitation has run out, the proceedings cannot be started again, meaning that the offender can no longer be prosecuted.
As far as minors are concerned, the statute of limitations for criminal prosecution for sexual abuse in DC is 15 years for first or second-degree abuse of a child.
This does not begin to run until the victim is 21 years of age. It is important to know that this statute of limitations does vary in civil litigation depending on circumstances see below. Whether you want to press charges for a sexual offense committed against you or if you have been charged with an old sexual abuse case, it is best to consult a sexual abuse attorney to determine the best possible plan of action.
Civil Lawsuit for Sexual Abuse If you are accused of sexual abuse, these are serious charges which must be handled with care. Even if you are found not guilty in court, the victim in question may decide to sue you in civil court.
The burden of proof is much less in civilian cases. The victim may sue you for any damages physical and emotional , but the victim also has the onus of filing the claim within an appropriate time interval.
In DC there is a civic statute of limitations which states that the: A judge could also believe that the victim may have suffered post traumatic disorder and suppressed his or her memory resulting in a delay in filing the civil suit and this factor may be considered when making a ruling.
Therefore, it is possible that a judge may factor in this time delay and offer the victim additional time for filing a civilian lawsuit. Moreover, if the victim is a ward or a parent of the abuser, the statute of limitations may not even start, regardless of age, until the victim no longer has any relationship with the abuser.
In such cases, it is possible that the statute of limitations becomes applicable only after the crime is complete. If the sexual abuse is deemed to be continuing, this gives the victim additional time to come forward and file a claim.
When To Consult a Sexual Abuse Attorney Whether you are a victim of sexual abuse or you have been accused of the crime, you need to consult a sexual abuse attorney immediately. If you are a victim, you need external support and experience to determine what you should do next.
Remember, any delays can result in the person who abused you to get away with it and find their next victim. Find out your options. Get the help and support you need. Everything you discuss with your attorney is private and confidential. The most important thing to understand is that time is critical if you want to win the case. If you have been accused of sexual abuse, you cannot possibly deal with the legal consequences on your own. This is a serious crime for which penalties are harsh. Not only will you lose your professional status license but you will also be registered as a sexual offender.
Unlike other crimes, sexual abuse cases can often benefit from the statute of limitations. Many times, the victims of abuse are too embarrassed or ashamed to testify, and then when they finally get the courage to file charges, it is often too late.
Consult a sexual abuse lawyer and find out where your case stands. You can be assured we will do our best to fight for justice. Call us now at for a free consultation or simply fill out the form available on our website, and one of our representatives will be sure to call you back as soon as possible.
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