Sexual assault is an incredibly serious crime. Those accused of it can face serious consequences. But is sexual assault a federal crime?
The answer depends on the specifics of the case, including where the alleged assault took place and who was involved. Here’s what you need to know.
State vs. Federal Jurisdiction in Sexual Assault Cases
Whether or not an act of sexual assault is considered a federal crime depends on several factors. This includes where it occurred and the people involved.
Generally speaking, most cases of sexual assault are charged as state crimes because they involve two people who are citizens of the same state. In these cases, local law enforcement handles all aspects of the investigation and prosecution.
However, in certain situations, the federal government may become involved.
One example would be if someone committed acts of sexual violence against another person on tribal land or military bases. In these instances, the perpetrator could face charges from both state and federal prosecutors.
The same is true if either person accused of committing an act of sexual violence is an employee or representative of the US government. In this case, they could be prosecuted by both state and federal authorities depending on where the incident occurred.
Finally, if someone claims to have been sexually assaulted while crossing state lines they could potentially file charges at both the state and federal level. An example of this would be if someone is assaulted during an airplane flight. Assaults that occur on airplanes are always considered federal crimes.
Federal Penalties for Sexual Assault Convictions
If convicted at the federal level for an act of sexual violence, penalties will depend largely on what type of charge has been filed against you.
For instance, aggravated sexual abuse carries more severe penalties than criminal sexual abuse does. Whether or not you have a prior criminal record also affects the situation.
Sentences can range from several years in prison to life in prison without parole. Fines can range anywhere from $250 to $250,000 or more. Individuals found guilty may also need to register with their local sex offender registry upon their release from incarceration.
It’s easy to see why anyone accused of committing acts of sexual violence should seek out legal counsel right away. Penalties for a successful conviction of sexual assault are hefty and can affect you for the rest of your life.
Sexual assault is a serious crime that carries significant penalties regardless of whether it’s charged at the state or federal level. If you’re facing charges for sexual assault it’s wise to hire an attorney. They understand how to navigate through the legal system and will ensure you receive fair treatment under the law no matter which court has jurisdiction over your case.
For more information or to discuss your situation with an experienced legal professional, contact David Lindsey.