The Law Offices of John Ferrara

How Are Sex Crimes Defined In New York?


New York State lists its sex crimes in Article 130 of the penal law. Each offense has its own definition. Some of the common terms are more specifically defined in section 130.00 of the Penal Law. For example, the legislature defines sexual contact, a term used repeatedly in many of the crimes, as any touching of the sexual or other intimate parts of a person for the purpose of gratifying sexual desire of either party. It includes the touching of the actor by the victim, as well as the touching of the victim by the actor, whether directly or through clothing, as well as the emission of ejaculate by the actor upon any part of the victim, clothed or unclothed.

Additionally, the legislature defines forcible compulsion as: “Forcible compulsion” means to compel by either:

  1. Use of physical force; or
  2. A threat, express or implied, which places a person in fear of immediate death or physical injury to himself, herself or another person, or in fear that he, she or another person will immediately be kidnapped.

Depending upon the seriousness of the conduct, the ages of the parties, special vulnerabilities of the “victim,” some of these offenses are misdemeanors while others are felonies of different levels of seriousness.

What Are The Types Of Sex Crime Cases That Your Firm Handles?

Over the years, I have handled all types of sex crimes, both at the trial level and the appellate level. These cases have varied from brutal attacks that have left the victim dead, to claims of date rape that may not have been a rape at all. I have also handled child pornography and many cases involving child victims.

How Is A Sex Crime Determined To Be Either A Misdemeanor Or a Felony?

The more serious offenses, as found by the legislature, are felonies. The legislature often (but not always) defines sex crimes committed by forcible compulsion as more serious than crimes that involve a lack of consent only. The legislature also considers the age of both the victim and defendant and other characteristics of the victim, such as ability to consent. (Some victims cannot consent because of their age or mental capacity). The legislature usually considers crimes with penetration more seriously than crimes without penetration. The legislature sometimes elevates the grade of crime if one has previously been convicted of that offense. The legislature also elevates crimes that are repeatedly performed against children. The use of foreign objects can elevate some crimes to the felony level.

What Are The Differences Between State And Federal Sex Crime Charges?

While much of what the federal and state governments outlaw overlap, the federal government puts greater emphasis on crimes that cross state and international lines. Thus, federal prosecutors emphasize human trafficking, child pornography, and organized enterprises that sexually exploit victims. State prosecutors tend to emphasize crimes against an identifiable victim who will tend to reside inside this state. This is an oversimplification because state prosecutors clearly do prosecute child pornography, but the emphasis is different.

What Is The Automatic Stigma That Accompanies A Sex Crime Charge In New York?

These crimes are different than other crimes. If the client cannot post bail, he faces more security risks than client’s charges with any other crime. If the client posts bail, and if the matter has been reported in the media, he will have more difficulty maintaining employment and living in his community.

Though he is presumed innocent, the client may experience greater scrutiny caring for his own children, and may even need to defend attempts to separate him from his own children.

The trial itself can differ from other types of charges. When the judge reads the indictment to the prospective jurors for the first time, one can see (and sometimes hear) the juror’s initial reaction. Jury selection in these cases is both crucial and far more difficult than in other types of cases.

For more information on Sex Crimes In New York, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (845) 794-1303 today.

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(845) 794-1303

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