Aggravated sexual assault is a first degree felony, a crime just as serious as murder. A person who is convicted of aggravated sexual assault can be fined thousands of dollars, will be required to permanently register as a sex offender, and may be sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
These are devastating consequences. You need to move quickly to begin assessing your options and preparing a defense. But you don’t have to do it alone. Get personalized legal support from a trusted Salt Lake City criminal defense lawyer.
Call a Knowledgeable Utah Criminal Defense Lawyer for a Your Consultation
Criminal attorney Darwin Overson has over 16 years of experience representing defendants charged with rape, aggravated sexual assault, and other felony sex crimes in Utah. Darwin is passionately dedicated to defending his clients’ Constitutional rights and will work tirelessly to protect your best interests at every stage of your case, no matter how complex or challenging the legal circumstances. Darwin understands how emotionally grueling these cases can be, and will always treat you and your loved ones with the dignity and sensitivity you deserve.
If a loved one is already in custody, there’s no time to lose evaluating your next steps. Call the law offices of Overson Law at (801) 758-2287 right away for a free, completely confidential legal consultation. We take calls around the clock, including late nights, weekends, and holidays. Darwin is available to make emergency attorney jail visits.
What is the Difference Between Being Charged with Sexual Assault and Rape?
The terms rape and sexual assault are sometimes used interchangeably, which can create confusion about the meaning of the charge. As a defendant, or the loved one of a defendant, it is vital that you have a clear understand of the actions you are being accused of committing.
Aggravated sexual assault is broader in meaning than rape. Likewise, there are more reasons a person can be charged with aggravated sexual assault. Rape is charged strictly for non-consensual sexual intercourse. Aggravated sexual assault, defined under Utah Code § 76-5-405, can be charged when the defendant — in addition to allegedly committing or attempting to commit rape, object rape, forcible sexual abuse, or forcible sodomy — either:
- Uses or threatens to use a dangerous weapon.
- Is helped by other people.
- Threatens to kill, kidnap, or seriously injure the victim in order to make the victim submit to the sexual act.
Fines and Prison: Penalties for Felonies in Utah
Minor crimes are classified as misdemeanors, while serious offenses like aggravated sexual assault are felonies. While both felonies and misdemeanors can lead to costly fines, imprisonment, and a criminal record, felonies are subject to greater fines and longer prison terms. It can also be very difficult to overcome the stigma of having a felony record, which can create obstacles against employment and education opportunities.
In Utah, felonies are divided into groups by “degrees”: third, second, and first degree felonies. Aggravated sexual assault is a first degree felony, regardless of the circumstances under which the act allegedly occurs.
The sentence for a first degree felony in Utah generally ranges from five years to life in prison without the possibility of parole, which is early release from prison. However, Utah Code § 76-5-405 provides a minimum sentence of six, 10, or 15 years for aggravated sexual assault, depending on the situation. In all cases, life in prison without parole is a sentencing possibility at the other end of the spectrum.
A defendant who is convicted must serve a minimum sentence. Sentence reductions, suspension of sentences, and probation are not possible for aggravated sexual assault, being prohibited under Utah Code § 76-3-406. This also applies to many other sex crimes, including object rape, object rape of a child, forcible sodomy, sodomy on a child, and other offenses.
In addition to facing a long prison sentence, the defendant can also receive a criminal fine of up to $10,000.
Will I Have to Register as a Sex Offender in Utah?
While devastating, fines and incarceration are not the only consequences of a conviction. Aggravated sexual assault is a registerable offense, which means a convicted defendant must also register as a sex offender.
Due to the severity of the offense, those convicted must remain registered permanently, for the rest of their lives. While you are on the registry, individuals with internet access will be able to view your photograph, name, address, license plate number, conviction, date of conviction, and other information. If you fail to register, re-register, or update your information, you could be criminally prosecuted and face additional consequences.
Sex offender status can make it incredibly difficult to successfully reintegrate back into the community. Despite laws designed to prevent this from happening, registered offenders sometimes become the victim of threats, harassment, and vandalism. In addition to facing violence and social isolation, registered offenders are also heavily restricted in their daily activities by court-ordered rules and requirements.
When everything you value is at risk, you need to counter the allegations aggressively and strategically. The criminal justice system can be overwhelming, but you don’t have to figure it out alone. Utah criminal defense lawyer Darwin Overson will be by your side to provide personalized, innovative legal support at every step of your case. Call Darwin right away at (801) 758-2287 to set up a free consultation. Your information will be kept absolutely confidential.