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DC Sexual Abuse Penalties 

Sexual abuse is considered one of the most serious offenses under DC law. Even allegations of misdemeanor sexual abuse are treated very seriously and DC sexual abuse penalties can be severe.

Misdemeanor sexual abuse can cover a wide variety of allegations and can include conduct such as groping, and contact can go all the way up to first-degree sexual abuse where the allegations could be considered forcible penetration. Call a seasoned DC sex crimes attorney for legal counseling if you are facing potential penalties.

Treatment of Sexual Abuse Charges

Regardless of whether a person is charged with misdemeanor sexual abuse, fourth-degree sexual abuse, second degree or even all the way up to first degree, these allegations are taken very seriously by prosecutors in DC. DC sexual abuse penalties can subject an individual to weeks or months of jail time, and to a life sentence in a first-degree sexual abuse case.

Aside from those kinds of potentially lengthy sexual abuse prison penalties, an individual might be subject to sex offender registration, treatment as a sex offender, and the possibility of a lengthy probation or parole period that can place significant limitations on where an individual can live, where an individual can work, and make an individual’s life extremely difficult.

A charged individual should retain an experienced defense attorney immediately in order to challenge the allegations and attempt to minimize any DC sexual abuse penalties that they may face.

Potential DC Sexual Abuse Penalties

If an individual is convicted of misdemeanor sexual abuse, they face possible penalties up to 180 days in jail and fines of up to $1,000, or both. If the individual is convicted of fourth-degree sexual abuse, they face up to five years in prison and fines up to $12,500. If an individual is convicted of third-degree sexual abuse, they face up to 10 years in prison and fines up to $25,000. An individual convicted of third-degree sexual abuse faces up to 20 years in prison and fines up to $50,000, and an individual convicted of first-degree sexual abuse can face up to life in prison and fines up to $125,000.

An individual convicted of third-degree sexual abuse faces up to 20 years in prison and fines up to $50,000, and an individual convicted of first-degree sexual abuse can face up to life in prison and fines up to $125,000.

Even though an individual faces these maximum DC sexual abuse penalties, it does not mean that the person convicted of fourth-degree sexual abuse would necessarily receive the maximum five-year penalty.

Voluntary Sentencing Guidelines

DC is subject to Voluntary Sentencing Guidelines that create non-binding recommendations to judges to help them determine appropriate sentences based on the severity of the crime that the defendant was convicted of and the defendant’s prior criminal history. As an example, if an individual has no criminal history and is convicted of fourth-degree sexual abuse, the maximum prison sentence would be up to five years in prison.

The Sentencing Guidelines will give a Judge a recommended range and suggest whether that individual should have the opportunity for probation, or possibly complete the sentence as part of the jail time and have the remaining sentence suspended. Instead of serving the remaining sentence, the person would be placed on probation, return to work, and return to living in the community instead of serving the full DC sexual abuse penalty.

Aggravating Factors of a Sexual Abuse Charge

Sexual abuse, because of its multiple levels of severity, is often charged by prosecutors based on aggravating factors. The touching of another person without their consent or without their permission in a sexual manner can be charged as a misdemeanor sexual abuse offense. But the exact same action, that sexual contact alleged to have been committed on a person who was incapacitated or incapable of consenting to the sexual contact, can change the severity level from a misdemeanor up to a felony and potentially subject the person to registration as a sex offender.

From there, the commission of that same sexual contact by force or by threat of force, or after administering an intoxicant to the other person, changes the severity of that sexual contact from fourth degree up to third degree, which would then subject a person to the possibility of a lengthier jail sentence or prison consequences, higher fines, and other more serious consequences.

From there, the allegations of penetration can raise the severity level from third degree up to a second or first degree offense, thereby aggravating an individual’s penalty to the possibilities of lengthy prison sentences, and the possibility of lifetime sex offender registration.

Aside from these aggravating factors, other aggravating factors can include the use of a weapon during the commission of sexual abuse which, in any situation, can significantly increase the individual’s possible prison penalties.

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