Chicago Sexual Assault Lawyer

Sexual assault is a heinous crime, but the truth is that many cases regarding this allegation aren’t black and white. Accusations of sex crimes are often based on one person’s word against another’s. Physical evidence may be limited or entirely unavailable. While there might only be a slight amount of evidence against the defendant, he or she still suffers from the stigma of these allegations. An accusation of sexual assault can cause a rift in someone’s family and make it difficult to attend school or work. If you’ve been charged with sexual assault, contact the Chicago sex crimes defense attorneys of O’Meara Law at to learn about your rights.

Criminal Sexual Assault

To be convicted of criminal sexual assault in Illinois you must fulfill two elements. The act of sexual penetration is always necessary for this crime. The second element can be one of the four listed in the statute. Illinois statute 720 ILCS 5/11-1.20 states a person is guilty of criminal sexual assault if that person sexually penetrates the victim and:

  • Uses force or threat of force,
  • Knows the victim is unable to understand the nature of the act or is unable to give consent,
  • Is a family member of the victim and the victim is younger than 18 years old, or
  • The person is 17 years old or older and has a position of trust, supervision, or authority over the victim and the victim is between the ages of 13 and 18 years old.

It’s important to note that the threat of force is enough for this crime. The person does not have to be physically violent in addition to the sexual penetration to be guilty.

A victim who is unable to understand the nature of the sexual act may be young or have a cognitive or developmental disability. A victim who is intoxicated or unconscious is not able to give consent. If a victim has been drinking or taking drugs, he or she may be unable to agree to sexual activity.

A person in a position of trust could be a number of adults, such as a babysitter, a teacher, a tutor, a person within a religious organization, or a coach.

Penalties for Criminal Sexual Assault

A first conviction for criminal sexual assault is a Class 1 Felony in Illinois. The minimum mandatory prison sentence is 4 years, but a defendant can be sentenced to up to 15 years. The person cannot be given probation in place of time in prison.

A second conviction for criminal sexual assault is a Class X Felony, punishable by 6 to 30 years in prison, 30 to 60 years in prison, or for life.

Aggravated Criminal Sexual Assault

There are a number of ways a person can be charged and convicted of aggravated sexual assault. This crime includes criminal sexual assault as well as another circumstance that the law deems worse and punishes more severely. Under Illinois statute 720 ILCS 5/11-1.30, a person commits aggravated criminal sexual assault if he or she commits criminal sexual assault and one of the following aggravated circumstances exists during the crime or during the course of conduct related to the crime,

  • The person uses, displays, or threatens the victim with a dangerous weapon other than a gun, and the victim has reasonable belief that the person will use the weapon,
  • The person causes bodily harm to the victim,
  • The person threatens or endangers the victim’s or another person’s life,
  • The person commits criminal sexual assault during the commission of another felony,
  • The victim is over 60 years old,
  • The victim is physically disabled,
  • The person gives the victim a controlled substances without the victim’s consent or by threat or deception,
  • The person has a gun,
  • The person discharges a gun during the commission of the offense,
  • The person discharges a gun during the offense and causes great bodily harm, permanent disability, permanent disfigurement, or the death of another person.

A person is also guilty of aggravated criminal sexual assault if that person is under the age of 17 and:

  • Commits an act of sexual penetration with a victim younger than 9 years old, or
  • Commits an act of sexual penetration with a victim between the ages of 9 and 13, and the person uses force or the threat of force.

A person also commits aggravated sexual assault if that person commits an act of sexual penetration with a victim who is severely or profoundly intellectually disabled person.

Penalties for Aggravated Criminal Sexual Assault

The statutory consequences for aggravated criminal sexual assault very depending on the specific elements of the case. It is generally a Class X Felony, which calls for mandatory imprisonment for 6 to 30 years. However, the specific elements can add 10, 15, 20, 25 years or life imprisonment.

A second conviction of aggravated criminal sexual assault is a Class X Felony punishable by life in prison.

Required Sex Offender Registration

Individuals found guilty of criminal sexual assault or aggravated criminal sexual assault are required to register as sex offenders in Illinois. Many offenders must register annually for 10 years. If the crime was sexually dangerous or violent, the offender will register every 90 days for life.

Contact a Chicago Sexual Assault Lawyer

The consequences of being convicted of sexual assault or aggravated sexual assault in Illinois are severe. Not only will you face mandatory prison time, which can’t be replaced by probation, you will also have to register as a sex offender. Your private information will be made public. Where you can live and go will be greatly restricted and will impact your ability to be part of your children and other family member’s lives.

Don’t hesitate to seek legal advice when you’re facing this accusation. There are ways to defend yourself in court. Call attorney Michael O’Meara at for a consultation and to learn what you can do next.