Although the definition varies from state to state, sexual assault is generally defined as any type of conduct which is considered indecent or sexual in nature toward another individual and accompanied by actual force or the threat of force. The crime of sexual assault will also induce shame, fear, or mental trauma to the alleged victim. In most states the penalties for sexual assault have increased significantly as a result of public pressure. Those who have been charged with sexual assault should immediately hire the most experienced, knowledgeable criminal defense attorney in order to minimize the adverse consequences to their future.
More specifically, sexual assault is a felony offense and generally includes the intent to commit rape, sodomy or oral copulation against the will of another. Even if the act is not actually committed, sexual assault can be charged if it can be proven the intent was present. The most common type of sexual assault is rape which is the act of sexual intercourse with a person who made it clear they were unwilling or a person who lacked the ability to consent. In some instances, even if consent was given, that consent is not considered legal if the alleged victim is less than sixteen years of age, has been diagnosed with a mental illness, was inebriated at the time of the assault or was unconscious.
A conviction for sexual assault can lead to extremely severe consequences including: