DC Criminal Defense Lawyer

Sex Offenses


There are many criminal charges classified as sexual offenses under DC law. If convicted, you could face serious, lifelong repercussions. While some carry lengthy prison terms, nearly all require you to register as a sex offender. This means you can carry the stigma of a sex offense for the rest of your life.

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Facing such charges is likely the hardest thing you’ll ever encounter. You may lose friends and the support of family depending on the specifics of the case. It’s easy to feel as if no one is on your side when up against something like this.

A DC criminal defense lawyer can be critical to the success of your case and your future.

Sex Offenses Overview

Most sex offenses like sexual assault and rape are classified under the law as sex abuse. The penalties under DC law depend on the circumstances, the harm caused, and the state of the victim.

First Degree Sex Abuse

This offense is a serious felony which carries up to life in prison and a fine of $250,000. You may be convicted of this crime if the prosecution can prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that you:

  1. Engaged in a forcible sexual act with another person,
  2. Engaged in a sexual act with another by threatening or putting someone in fear of their life, injury, or kidnapping,
  3. Engaged in a sexual act after rendering the other person unconscious, or
  4. Engaged in sexual act after drugging another person.

Second Degree Sexual Abuse

This felony offense carries a potential 20 years in prison and fines reaching $200,000. You could face this charge if it’s believed you did any of the following:

  1. Engaged in a sexual act by threatening another or putting them in reasonable fear, or
  2. Engaging in a sexual act when the other person is:
    1. incapable of understanding the conduct,
    2. incapable of declining participation, or
    3. incapable of communicating unwillingness to engage in the act.

Third Degree Sexual Abuse

This serious felony charge carries up to 10 years in prison and $100,000 in fines. You could be convicted of this offense if the prosecutor can prove to the judge or jury that you caused sexual contact with another person by threat, by force, after rendering them unconscious, or after drugging them.

Fourth Degree Sexual Abuse

This sexual offense carries a potential 5 year prison sentence and $50,000 fine. It applies when you are alleged to have made sexual contact with another person by threatening them or in a situation where they are unable to decline participation or to understand the gravity of the act.

Misdemeanor Sexual Abuse

This charge is applied in cases where an alleged sexual abuse has occurred but it does not fulfill the requirements of any other sexual charge. The law defines it as a sexual act or contact with someone when you should know that it was committed without the other person’s permission or consent. It carries a maximum 180 days in jail and fines reaching $1,000.

Sexual Offenses Against Children

There are numerous sex crimes where the victim is specifically a child. Those include

  • First degree sexual abuse of a minor
  • Second degree sexual abuse of a minor
  • First degree child sexual abuse
  • Second degree child sexual abuse
  • First degree sexual abuse of a secondary education student
  • Second degree sexual abuse of a secondary education student
  • Enticing a minor
  • Misdemeanor sexual abuse of a child or minor

Each one of these offenses is slightly different than the next though they are all very serious charges. To understand the specific charge you are facing and the potential penalties it may carry, a consultation with a local defense attorney is warranted.

Ref: DC Code 22-3002 through 22-3010.01

Facing the DC criminal courts alone is not recommended, particularly when facing charges as serious as these. Call us today for a free consultation on your case today.

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