What is Sexual Assault in the Fourth Degree?

Stop sexual assault sign on womans hand

When it comes to sexual assault, it can be charged as either first-degree sexual assault (the most serious charge) or second-degree, third-degree, or fourth-degree sexual assault (the least serious charge).

A sexual assault in the first degree may be defined as sexual contact with another person without their consent, while using a weapon or causing serious bodily harm to the victim. 

What is Sexual Assault in the Fourth Degree? 

Fourth-degree sexual assault can be as simple as sexual contact without consent or as complex as sexual contact with consent obtained because of the offender’s position of authority over the victim, among other things. 

The level of assault that will be charged against a defendant will be determined by the prosecutor and the district attorney or an equivalent. What constitutes a crime of fourth-degree sexual assault will differ from jurisdiction to jurisdiction.

In the United States, fourth-degree sexual offenses are among the most common types of sex crimes.

It is common for this crime to involve some form of sexual contact or touching, but it can also involve sexual intercourse if the victim is under the age of majority in the state where the crime occurs.

Also included in these statutes is a provision that states that any type of sexual contact between an administrator or faculty member at a public or private school is considered unlawful under the law.

The maximum jail sentence for fourth-degree sexual offenses is significantly less severe than the maximum jail sentence for other sex crimes, but the consequences of conviction can be devastating, nonetheless.

Simply being charged with this crime can have a long-term negative impact on a person’s reputation, family life, and professional prospects.

The defendant can suffer life-altering consequences even if his or her case is ultimately dismissed in court or before it is heard.

If you are being investigated for any alleged sexual conduct, you should consult with an attorney as soon as possible. Having such representation put into motion before charges are filed or an investigation is completed can make all the difference in the world, and in many cases, it does.

It is their initial goal to prevent an arrest from ever taking place, and we will work tirelessly to achieve this goal.

The problem with this charge is that police will often rush to arrest before they have enough evidence to prove that the incident took place, which is problematic.

When it comes to cases involving school officials, this is especially true because the public pressure and scrutiny that comes with not filing a charge is something that no police department wants to deal with.

However, even though this does not constitute justice, it represents the reality of all sex crime investigations.

Authorities make arrests and file charges to protect themselves, and there is no reason why you should not have an experienced defense attorney on your side fighting for your rights.

Basic fourth-degree sexual offenses include the intentional touching of another person intimately without their consent, as well as the use of force against them.

Because it falls under a more serious crime category, this offense does not include common friendly affection or any type of penetration, which would fall under another category.

A fourth-degree offense may also be committed if a person under the age of 19 engages in consensual sexual relations or oral sex with a minor under the age of 14 or 15.

Possible Defenses for Fourth-Degree Sexual Assault

1.     Presence of Consent 

If it can be demonstrated that the victim gave consent to the sexual contact, the charge of fourth degree aggravated sexual abuse will not be pursued.

2.     Absence of Physical Helplessness 

Another defensive strategy might be to demonstrate that the victim was not physically helpless and that she was not mentally disabled or incapacitated at the time of the alleged assault.

It may be possible to demonstrate that no forcible compulsion was used during the incident and that the accuser was a willing participant as a complementary line of defense.

Therefore, the goal is to construct a compelling defensive case to tip the scales in favor of the defendant in the case.

3.     Additional Lines of Defense  

Some other possible defenses might include invoking the statute of limitations or calling into question the necessity of medical treatment.

It is reasonable to question the validity of the charge of fourth degree aggravated sexual abuse if no physical injury was sustained by the accuser.

Understanding the specifics of a situation and how they can be used to build a strong defense is beneficial in any situation.

Defendants charged with fourth degree aggravated sexual abuse benefit from the expertise of an experienced defense attorney who has honed his or her observation skills.

Possibility of a Sentence

1.      Imprisonment 

The individual convicted of fourth degree aggravated sexual abuse could face a sentence of up to four years in prison if he or she is found guilty in court.

The law, on the other hand, does not mandate a minimum sentence.

When determining the appropriate punishment for the crime, the presiding judge will take into account the specifics of the case, the individual’s character and background, and any criminal history that may be present.

A first-time offender may be punished with a more lenient sentence at the discretion of the judge.

2.     Probation 

If a person is convicted of fourth degree aggravated sexual abuse for the first time, the court may decide that ten years of probation, rather than imprisonment, is a more appropriate punishment for the offender.

For those who have committed prior felonies, the judge must sentence them to at least three years in prison as a condition of probation or parole.

3.     Registration as a Sex Offender 

According to Section 168 of the Sex Offender Registration Act of the New York Correction Law, an individual who has been found guilty of fourth degree aggravated sexual abuse must register as a sex offender.

Registration of sexual offenders must take place with the appropriate law enforcement agency.

A convicted sex offender is required to adhere to the registration requirements set forth by the court.

In addition to conducting background checks on the sex offender, the assigned law enforcement agency is also responsible for keeping the convicted person’s information current in the sex offender’s database.


Patricia Godwin

Patricia has many years of experience as a content writer on various subjects, and she is the Editor of Lifestyle Divorce. Patricia’s worked as the Practice Manager at an International Divorce and Family law firm for over 15 years. She is a qualified Counsellor, and she has had many counselling sessions with people considering or going through a divorce.

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