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New Illinois Law Affects Statute of Limitations on Sex Crimes

 Posted on January 16, 2020 in Criminal Defense

Joliet criminal defense attorneysThe start of the new decade saw many changes to Illinois laws. The amendments and new legislation cover a wide variety of issues, from traffic violations to sexual crimes to the financial exploitation of the elderly, as well as the use of recreational marijuana. One of the most far-reaching laws removes the statute of limitations for criminal sexual assault, aggravated criminal sexual assault, and aggravated criminal sexual abuse for victims of any age, not just those 18 and under. This means a victim can file charges against his or her offender within any timeframe, not just within a certain number of years after the alleged crime took place. 

Previously, a sexual assault victim had to take legal action within 10 years of the offense if the victim reported the offense to police within three years after the commission of the crime. A large number of people may be facing criminal charges because of this change, and that is why it is important to understand what acts constitute these crimes and the legal ramifications if you are ever charged with them. 

How Are Sexual Assault and Abuse Defined?

The consequences for sexual crimes can be significant, resulting in felony charges that are punishable by hefty fines and jail time. Criminal sexual assault occurs when a person commits an act of sexual penetration and one of the following is true:

  • The perpetrator uses force or threatens violence.
  • The perpetrator knows the victim is incapable of giving consent.
  • The perpetrator is a family member of the victim and the victim is under the age of 18.
  • The perpetrator is 17 or older and holds authority over the victim.
  • The victim is between 13 and 18 years old.

For a sexual assault offense to be elevated to aggravated, it generally involves maiming, wounding, or disfiguring the victim, or a victim who is mentally or physically incapacitated.

Criminal sexual abuse is committed when a person: 

  • Perpetrates a sexual act by the use of force or threat of force
  • Perpetrates a sexual act and knows the victim does not understand the nature of the act or is unable to give consent

Aggravated sexual abuse refers to criminal sexual abuse that occurs with aggravating circumstances, such as the use of a deadly weapon; a victim age 60 or older or who is physically handicapped; sexual conduct with a family member who is under 18; and more.

Furthermore, the 2020 amendment to the Rights of Crime Victims and Witnesses Act allows victims of crimes the right to register with the Prisoner Review Board’s victim registry. They can also submit a victim impact statement to the Board to be read at hearings or executive clemency proceedings. This could affect the outcome of a case if the comments sway the finder of fact, (e.g., the judge, jury, or hearing officer) in a given case. 

Contact a Will County Criminal Defense Lawyer

Sexual offenses are taken seriously in the state of Illinois. With new laws in effect, victims of abuse or assault do not have to worry about a timeline for bringing charges against an alleged perpetrator. The experienced law firm of McNamara Phelan McSteen, LLC is skilled at building a strong defense on behalf of their clients. If you or someone you know is facing criminal charges of any kind, our diligent Joliet assault and battery defense attorneys will carefully examine the details of your case to make sure your rights were not violated at any time during your arrest. Call us today at 815-727-0100 to schedule a free initial consultation. 







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