Sexual assault in Las Vegas is subjecting another person to sexual penetration against their will. Sexual Assault can occur through the use of force, whether physical or by threat. Sexual Assault can also occur without the use of force, when the perpetrator is aware that the victim is physically or mentally unable to give consent or resist the actions being committed. Criminal sexual assault in Las Vegas is also known as rape, and these crimes will come with felony charges as well as very long prison sentences.
Being charged with sexual assault is a serious situation, and if a person finds themselves being accused of this crime they should always hire a skilled Las Vegas area criminal defense attorney to handle their case. Sexual assault convictions will come with consequences that can follow a person for their entire lives, as well as a social stigma that may make it hard for them to ever move past their conviction, so these cases need to be handled by a Las Vegas criminal defense attorney who has the specialized set of skills required to deal effectively with this type of charge.
Criminal Sexual Assault Penalties
Because sexual assault is considered to be a category A felony, it will come with some of the harshest penalties of any felony crime. The penalties given for sexual assault will vary depending on the age of the victim, prior convictions, and if any substantial bodily harm was experienced, with the harshest punishments given to those who commit a crime on a minor, have past convictions, or cause excessive bodily harm.
The penalties found in NRS 200.366 that a person can expect after being convicted of criminal sexual assault are:
• Victims aged 16 years old or older – The basic sentence for a sexual assault in Nevada is a life sentence with the possibility of parole after 10 years. If the jury finds that the perpetrator caused serious bodily harm to the victim over and above the harm created by the sexual assault, the sentence can be life without the possibility of parole or a life sentence with the possibility of parole after 15 years.
• Victims 14 or 15 years of age – If the jury finds that the perpetrator caused substantial bodily harm to the victim over and above the harm created by the sexual assault, the sentence shall be life without the possibility of parole. If no substantial bodily harm occurred, the sentence shall be a life sentence with the possibility of parole after 25 years.
• Victims 13 years old or younger – If the victim is found to be 13 years old or younger, and the jury finds that the perpetrator caused substantial bodily harm to the victim over and above the harm created by the sexual assault, the sentence shall be life without the possibility of parole. If no substantial bodily harm occurred, the sentence shall be a life sentence with the possibility of parole after 35 years.
• Repeat Offenders – If a person is found to have a previous criminal sexual assault conviction they may face life in prison without the possibility for parole no matter the age of the victim.
Criminal Sexual Assault Defenses
One of several defenses may be used by an attorney to save their client from facing serious criminal sexual assault charges. In cases of sexual assault, a victim must be able to prove that they were in fact raped, and if the case lacks proof, the defendant may face lesser charges or have their charges dropped altogether. The most commonly used defenses in criminal sexual assault cases are:
• Consent – In cases of sexual assault, no consent may be given, and the act must be forcibly pressed upon the victim. The alleged victim’s consent to the sexual act is a complete defense to sexual assault. However, if the victim is a child under 16, or considered mentally incapable of forming consent, consent, no matter how “real,” is not a defense.
• False allegations – Sometimes, innocent people are accused of committing sexual assault, and this can happen for any number of reasons. Whatever the reason for the filing of sexual assault charges against an innocent person, it must be understood that the very act of filing the charge removes the DA from the group of people who accept that the defendant is innocent. At this point the DA is not your friend! This may sound obvious, but at this stage a skilled Las Vegas criminal attorney is more necessary than ever.
• Lack of proof – Sexual assault must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt to lead to a conviction. An experienced and skilled Las Vegas criminal defense attorney can analyze a case for each and every proof issue and obtain a successful result when issues of proof arise.
Plea Bargains for Criminal Sexual Assault
• When the provable facts are such that an acquittal or dismissal are considered impossible or very risky, a plea bargain may allow a person charged with sexual assault to serve a lesser sentence or even probation. The most important part of the plea bargaining process is the “art” of plea bargaining. Hiring the right Las Vegas criminal defense attorney is crucial not only because expert trial skills may be required, but also in case a plea bargain must be struck. Plea bargaining is all about negotiation, reputation, and personality, as well as the ability for the defense attorney to draw from a very real reserve of good will with the office of the District Attorney. Attack dog defense attorneys may look good on TV shows, but in real life such attorney tactics, although sometimes necessary, can destroy any chances of success.
The Importance of an Attorney
Because these cases can be very complicated, and because these crimes come with such harsh penalties, it is always important that any person facing sexual assault charges hire an attorney immediately to handle their case. Even when a person thinks they may be under investigation, the hiring of a Las Vegas defense attorney is crucial to a positive outcome. Gabriel L. Grasso has over 25 years of experience defending against sexual assault charges and an unparalleled track record of not guilty verdicts in trials for sexual assault. Make the right call 702-868-8866.