Sexual Assault Defense Attorney in Utah
Sexual assault, usually called “aggravated sexual assault” in Utah, is a secondary charge. That means it’s tied to another charge, such as rape, attempted rape, or some other sexual crime. As a secondary charge, most people tend to ignore it as being less important than the primary charge—whatever crime allegedly provided the source of the sexual assault—but that can be a fatal mistake.
While every form of sexual crime can result in a prison sentence, sexual assault raises the stakes substantially by adding 5 years or more to the minimum sentence for the crime. Especially for crimes where there is no minimum sentence, sexual assault establishes a minimum – and it can never be less than 6 years. Making things worse is that not every crime sexual assault is tied to is considered a first degree felony, but sexual assault is always first degree.
Don’t take any chances. We have 100+ years of experience aggressively defending our clients with a high level of personal attention to make sure you know exactly what’s happening every step of the way.
Contact us today for a free consultation at 801.980.9965.
What is Sexual Assault?
The definition of sexual assault is if, while committing or attempting to commit a sexual crime, the accused:
- Seriously injures the victim
- Uses or threatens to use a weapon
- Threatens to hurt, kidnap, or kill the victim
- Is aided or abetted by one or more other people
Punishment for Sexual Assault
Any form of sexual assault is considered a first degree felony. Any sexual crime that’s considered a first degree felony is grounds for a lifetime spent on Utah’s sex offender registry. That means that you can beat or reduce the primary charges, but still end up being labeled a sex offender—for life.
Furthermore, sexual assault charges carry minimum prison sentences of up to six years and include the possibility of a life sentence or even (unless you were a minor at the time) of life without parole. While six years is the minimum, 10 to 15 years are more common and that’s just as a starting point.
Combined, these punishments make sexual assault an incredibly serious charge. If your defense gets mismanaged even slightly, a mistake that took only seconds to make could end up costing you decades.
Why You Need a Sexual Assault Defense Lawyer
This is your life we’re talking about. With a first degree felony and a permanent place on the sex offender registry, your quality of life is doomed – that is, only if you go it alone.
At Wasatch Defense Attorneys, our highly qualified sentencing experts know exactly what you need to do to avoid these harsh penalties. Each of our highly responsive and caring lawyers is among the best of Salt Lake City’s defense attorneys – we’re always ready to answer any questions you have. We specialize in aggressively protecting your quality of life and we’ll go the extra mile for you. Nobody is better qualified to make sure the whole process is handled quickly and efficiently and you can be sure that no one else will care more about you or your needs.
Call Wasatch Defense Lawyers at 801.980.9965 today for a no-obligation case review.
Frequently Asked Questions About Sexual Assault
Can sexual assault be a civil case?
Yes, the courts prosecute on a criminal level, however, a person may file a civil suit for injury due to another person’s actions. In Utah, a sexual assault victim has four years from the incident date to file a civil lawsuit. However, children who are victims of sexual abuse can file a case at any time. We can charge the perpetrator against emotional and physical harm, assault, and battery.
Can sexual assault be expunged?
Utah laws allow for expungement if your sexual offense case was dismissed or no charges were filed. People who are registered sex offenders or child abusers do not qualify to have their case expunged unless the Utah Board of Pardons and Parole acquits them. Having a criminal record has negative consequences on the perpetrator. For instance, they may face social stigma long after they have served their term or paid their debt to society. Potential employers may hesitate to take them on due to their criminal history. Also, their housing options may also be limited depending on what they were convicted for.
Can sexual assault charges be dropped by the victim?
In Utah and most of the other states, criminal law is a type of public law. This implies that it is impossible for a sexual assault victim to drop charges. Once the police present the case, the prosecutor is the only one mandated to decide on whether to proceed or not. However, the prosecutor may respect the victim’s wishes if there is insufficient evidence to support the case without their testimony. If the victim wants to drop the charges on the grounds that they lied on what happened, he or she may be charged. Contacting us right from when you are charged with the sexual offense will give us enough time to explore your case and come up with possible defenses.
Can a sexual assault victim be forced to testify?
A victim may receive a subpoena to appear before the court and give an account of the event if they are considered competent or qualified. A competent witness must:
- Be able to communicate effectively
- Have the ability to recall the events accurately
- Understand the significance of giving an honest account of what happened
A child may also be required to testify against the perpetrator if they are competent. Normally, a judge interviews the child in a closed courtroom or the judge’s chambers. To further protect the minor, a judge may close the courtroom as the child testifies or allow a videotaped deposition.
What is sexual assault in the 1st degree?
Utah classifies sex crimes into different categories depending on how serious the charge is. When the victim is 13 years old and younger, this is considered rape which is a first-degree felony, as is sodomy
What is sexual assault in the 2nd degree?
A sexual offense where the defendant is 18 years or older and the victim is below 14 years, this is treated as a second-degree felony unless the court rules that there are aggravating circumstances.
What is sexual assault in the 3rd degree?
Unlawful sexual conduct is considered a third-degree felony if the offender is four years older than the minor
What is sexual assault in the 4th degree?
A sexual offense is classified in this category if the offender, who is is 20 years or older engages in sexual activity with a person who is less than 16 years.
Guard Your Rights
Do NOT Waive Your Right to Legal Counsel! Authorities will try get you to incriminate yourself and suggest there is no need for an attorney. Stay calm and call us immediately: 801.980.9965
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We have represented thousands of clients, with countless difficulties and challenges, for more than 100 years. Less than 1% of our clients have ever been incarcerated.
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