Hundreds of Cases Successfully Handled
Sex crimes in Iowa are not looked upon favorably by employers or society as a whole, as you can imagine. In addition to prison time, someone convicted of sex abuse can be placed on the sex offender list. This list can be viewed by anyone doing a simple Google search. Essentially, this can ruin a person's life. This is a very serious crime that can cause family and friends to distance themselves from the accused when they find out about the charge.
If you are facing sex abuse charges, turn to the trusted professional at Feld Law Firm. Our Des Moines sex abuse defense attorney has helped hundreds of Polk County residents fight their criminal charges successfully.
Defining Sexual Abuse
Sexual abuse is generally defined as performing a sex act against the will of another. It is considered against the will of another if one is under the influence of a drug-induced sleep or in a state of unconsciousness. Moreover, it is illegal if the other has a mental defect or is a child. As it should be noted, a person drinking a few beers and then having sex is legal in Iowa as long as they are conscious and consenting. This is a complicated issue in sex trials because the state will almost always argue that the alleged victim had no idea what she (or he) was doing. In other words, the state is claiming that the alleged victim was under the influence of a drug-induced sleep.
Some important factors that really need to be looked at in determining whether the person was "unconscious" are whether the person was:
- Talking coherently
- Still drinking on their own
Another important factor that gets overlooked is the fact of who initiated the sex. Sometimes the alleged victim will claim rape even though they initiated the sexual encounter. These factors are very important in determining whether it was "against the will of another."
Degrees of Sexual Abuse
There are three “levels” or degrees of sexual abuse. First-degree sexual abuse is committed when serious injury is caused during the abuse. This is a class A felony and a person will be sentenced to life in prison with no possibility of parole. There are no exceptions to the punishment if a person is convicted of first-degree sexual abuse.
Second-degree sexual abuse, which is a class B felony and punishable by up to 25 years, is committed when, during the course of the sexual abuse, any of the following circumstances happen:
- The person displays a weapon in a threatening manner or threatens serious physical injury
- The other person is under the age of 12
- The person is aided or abetted by one or more persons and the sex act is committed by force or against the will of the other person against whom the sex act is committed
Third-degree sexual abuse, which is a class C felony and punishable by up to 10 years and a fine of up to $13,660 is when a sex act occurs under any of the following circumstances:
- The act is done against the will of the other person, whether or not the person is the person’s spouse or is cohabiting with the person
- The act is between persons who are not cohabiting as husband and wife and:
- The other person is suffering a mental defect
- The other person is 12 or 13 years old
- The other person is 14 or 15 years old and the persons are members of the same household or related by blood affinity to the fourth degree; or if the person is four or more years older than the victim
- The act is performed while the other person is under the influence of a controlled substance and:
- The controlled substance prevents the person from consenting
- The person performing the act reasonably should know that the person is under the influence of the controlled substance
- The act is performed while the other person is mentally incapacitated, physically incapacitated, or physically helpless
The Impact of a Sex Crime Conviction
Being convicted of any of the above crimes can land you on the sex offender registry. This will significantly affect your ability to obtain a job. Furthermore, you may be sentenced to 10-year or lifetime parole, which means the court can confine you at any time upon a hearing.
You may also be required to go through a chemical castration process should the crime be a "serious" sex offense. For a crime to be considered a "serious" sex offense under Iowa law, the victim must be 12 years of age or younger.
On top of these penalties, a sex crime conviction will sever relationships and ruin your reputation while putting a strain your financial resources.
Call Feld Law Firm Now
Being charged with any type of sex crime should not be taken lightly. Out of all other charges a person could be accused of, this is a type of crime for which we highly suggest a person retain a sex abuse defense attorney in Des Moines. These types of cases are very difficult to handle yourself.
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