Apr 5

The Illinois House just passed a bill that would remove the statute of limitations for sexual assault and similar adult sex crimes, according to an article by CBS affiliate WIFR.

Co-sponsored by State Representative Maurice West II, this bill would allow state authorities to pursue criminal cases against sex crime perpetrators at any time. At present, Illinois law requires the prosecution of adult sex crimes within a period of three to 10 years. Outside of that narrow window, the authorities cannot pursue criminal cases against the perpetrators of adult sex crimes.

The present bill mirrors a similar initiative that Illinois enacted in 2017. As explained in this Prior Law Firm blog — Illinois Waves Goodbye to Statute of Limitations on Child Sex Abuse — that is when Illinois officially removed the statute of limitations for child sex crimes.

Considering the impact of the present bill, it feels appropriate to take a closer look at the Illinois laws against and penalties for two adult sex crimes potentially affected — Criminal Sexual Assault and Aggravated Criminal Sexual Assault.

Criminal Sexual Assault

720 ILCS 5/11-1.20 establishes the definition of and penalties for criminal sexual assault in Illinois. Specifically, this section prohibits any person from committing an act of sexual penetration if the perpetrator:

  • Forces or threatens the victim;
  • Knows the victim is unable to understand or provide consent;
  • Is related to the victim, who is under the age of 18; or
  • Is in a position of authority over the victim, who is between the ages of 13 and 18.

Criminal sexual assault is usually a Class 1 felony in Illinois. Although the punishment can change based on the circumstances of the offense, a conviction generally results in four to 15 years in prison, $25,000 in criminal fines, and up to 48 months of probation.

Aggravated Criminal Sexual Assault

720 ILCS 5/11-1.30 outlines the definition of and penalties for aggravated criminal sexual assault in Illinois. Under this section, criminal sexual assault becomes aggravated criminal sexual assault if:

  • The perpetrator displays, brandishes, or uses a dangerous weapon or similar object, other than a firearm;
  • The perpetrator causes serious physical harm or injury to the victim;
  • The perpetrator creates a risk of death for the victim or other people;
  • The perpetrator commits another felony at the same time;
  • The victim is at least 60 years old;
  • The victim is disabled or otherwise incapacitated;
  • The perpetrator administers a controlled substance to the victim without consent;
  • The perpetrator is in possession of a firearm; or
  • The perpetrator discharges a firearm during the offense.

Aggravated criminal sexual assault is ordinarily a Class X felony in Illinois. Even though the penalties can fluctuate based on the specific type of offense, a conviction typically results in six to 30 years in prison and $25,000 in criminal fines. Probation is not available for Class X felonies in Illinois.

Do You Need Legal Help?

No matter what the criminal offense, all charges are serious. A sound strategy and an aggressive defense are essential for a positive outcome. To protect your rights in such situations, it is highly advisable to retain legal counsel from an experienced criminal defense attorney.

The Prior Law Firm in Bloomington, Illinois, has proven experience in matters of criminal defense. If you need legal help with criminal defense, contact us today for a free consultation. You can reach The Prior Law Firm by phone at (309) 827-4300, email at johnprior@thepriorlawfirm.com or by completing an online form.

(image courtesy of Niklas Rhose)