Lexington Sexual Assault/Battery

Have you been charged with sexual assault or sexual battery in Lexington, KY? Sex crimes are punished very harshly in Kentucky. When you are facing the social stigma of a sexual assault accusation and your freedom is on the line, you deserve a legal advocate in your corner. 

Suhre & Associates, LLC has represented clients in Lexington for more than 20 years against sex offenses and other serious criminal charges. Call our law firm today for a free consultation with a Lexington sexual assault/battery lawyer. We will help you fight the charges you are facing.

How Suhre & Associates, LLC Can Help if You’re Arrested for Sexual Assault in Lexington

Sex offenses are among the most serious crimes in Kentucky due to harsh prosecution, social stigma, and unique penalties. When you are facing rape allegations, it’s crucial to consult with an experienced Lexington criminal defense attorney as soon as possible to protect your future.

Suhre & Associates, LLC puts over 100 years of combined experience to work on your behalf. Our team of award-winning defense attorneys includes a former prosecutor and police officer who will offer valuable insight into the strategies the state will use against you.

When you choose Suhre & Associates, LLC to defend you, you can trust us to:

  • Offer insightful legal advice and protect your rights
  • Build a defense that combines positive evidence, expert testimony, strategic cross-examination, and undermining of the evidence against you
  • Negotiate for a reduced charge or, if an acquittal or dismissed charges are unlikely, present a case for lenient sentencing 
  • Present a compelling case in court to raise reasonable doubt

Facing rape charges can be overwhelming, but Suhre & Associates, LLC is here to help you. Contact our Lexington, Kentucky law firm for a free consultation with a Lexington sexual assault defense lawyer who will be the legal advocate you deserve.

Overview of Sexual Assault and Battery in Kentucky

Under Kentucky law, there are many forms of criminal sexual conduct. Two of the most common serious sexual offenses are sexual assault and sex abuse. In many states, “rape” charges have been replaced with “sexual assault” or “sexual abuse.” These terms may all refer to what is traditionally viewed as rape and cover other types of sexual acts that apply to both genders.  

Sexual offenses in Kentucky are covered under Kentucky Revised Statutes Chapter 510.

Rape

Rape is classified according to three different degrees of seriousness depending on the circumstances of the offense. Kentucky law specifically includes “penetration of the sex organs by a foreign object manipulated by someone else” in the legal definition of rape. The definition also notes that “any penetration, however slight” with or without “emission” can be considered rape.

Note that Kentucky does not have a law referring to “statutory rape.” This offense is instead covered by rape in the first, second, or third degree. The degree is determined by the age of the alleged victim, physical condition, and the type of force used.

First-degree rape is the most serious type of rape offense in Lexington. 

It may be charged when:

  • Someone engages in sexual intercourse with another through forcible compulsion, or
  • Someone engages in sexual intercourse with another who is incapable of giving consent due to physical helplessness or if they are under 12 years old.

First-degree rape is a Class B felony. It can be upgraded to a Class A felony if the victim suffers serious bodily harm or is under 12.

Second-degree rape is a lesser offense that occurs when:

  • Someone 18 or older engages in sexual intercourse with someone under 14, or
  • Someone 18 or older engages in sexual intercourse with someone mentally incapacitated 

Second-degree rape is a Class C felony.

Third-degree rape may be charged in a number of scenarios:

  • A victim cannot consent due to an intellectual disability,
  • The defendant is 21 or older and the victim is under 16,
  • The defendant is at least 21 and the victim is under 18 and part of the defendant’s foster family,
  • The defendant has a position of special trust or authority over the victim, the victim is under 18, and the victim met the defendant through the position, or
  • The defendant is associated with the Kentucky Department of Corrections and aware that the victim is treated, evaluated, supervised, or incarcerated by the department. 

Third-degree rape is a Class D felony in Kentucky.

Sexual Abuse

Under Kentucky law, sexual abuse is a lesser included offense of rape. This means it is an offense contained within the more serious offense of rape. While sexual abuse is a lesser offense, it is still punished harshly in Kentucky.

Sexual abuse may also be charged in three degrees.

Sexual abuse in the first degree occurs when:

  • Someone subjects another to sexual contact by forcible compulsion, or
  • The defendant is in a position of authority or special trust over the victim and subjects someone under 18 to sexual contact or masturbates while communicating with a victim under 16 via phone, internet, or other electronic device, or
  • Someone subjects another to sexual contact who is incapable of giving consent. 

Under this statute, someone cannot consent if they are physically helpless, under 12, have an intellectual disability, or are mentally incapacitated.

First-degree sexual abuse is a Class D felony. It is upgraded to a Class C felony if the victim is under 12.

Sexual abuse in the second degree occurs when:

  • Someone 18 or older but under 21 subjects someone under 16 to sexual contact, or
  • Someone associated with the Department of Corrections or a detention facility subjects someone at least 18 they know is incarcerated, treated, or supervised by the department to sexual contact.

Second-degree sexual abuse is a Class A misdemeanor.

Third-degree sexual abuse occurs when someone subjects another to sexual contact without their consent. This is a Class B misdemeanor.

What Are the Penalties for Sexual Assault in Lexington, KY?

The penalties for sexual assault in Lexington are very serious. As soon as you are accused and arrested, you face punishing consequences including job loss, divorce and child custody complications, and significant stigma. You may be facing not only prison or jail time but sex offender registration that may follow you for life. Rape and sexual abuse are also crimes of moral turpitude with possible ramifications. 

The penalties for sexual assault in Kentucky depend on the type of offense, the degree, and if you have a prior criminal record.

  • First-degree rape is punishable by 10 to 20 years in prison (or 20-50 years to life if the charge is upgraded to a Class A felony).
  • Second-degree rape is punishable by 5 to 10 years in prison.
  • Third-degree rape is punishable by 1 to 5 years in prison. 

If you are convicted of a felony with prior felonies, you can be classified a “persistent felony offender.” This can subject you to a longer prison term than someone without a felony record.

The penalties for sexual abuse also depend on the degree:

  • First-degree sexual abuse is punishable by 1 to 5 years in prison. The sentence may be 5 to 10 years if upgraded to a Class C felony.
  • Second-degree sexual abuse is punishable by 90 days to 12 months in jail.
  • Third-degree sexual abuse is punishable by up to 90 days in jail. 

Under KRS §510.015, someone who commits a third or subsequent sexual offense under Chapter 510 can be convicted of a Class D felony. The only exception is second-degree indecent exposure.

Protective Orders for Sexual Assault or Rape

Under KRS §510.037, conviction for rape, sexual abuse, or sodomy in Kentucky triggers an application for an interpersonal protective order. This application will occur automatically unless the victim requests otherwise. The other can last for up to 10 years and be renewed in 10-year increments.

Sex Offender Registration in Lexington, KY

In addition to jail or prison time, conviction for sexual abuse or rape requires sex offender registration in Kentucky. Certain convictions require lifelong sex offender registration. This includes first-degree rape, sex crime convictions with certain prior convictions, and offenders with two or more felony offenses against minor victims.

All other sex crime convictions require registration for 20 years.

Being a registered sex offender can have wide and long-lasting consequences. In addition to the stigma, you may be limited in where you live and work. It can also affect child custody and visitation.

Violating sex offender registration requirements can result in additional misdemeanor or felony charges.

What Defenses Can Be Raised if I’m Accused of Sexual Assault in Lexington, Kentucky?

There are many possible defense strategies to a charge of sexual assault or abuse. The best legal defense will depend on the circumstances of your case and the allegations. 

Sexual abuse has several statutory defenses. For second-degree sexual abuse, for example, it is a defense of the other person was at least 14, the actor was not more than 5 years older, and the lack of consent was due only to being under the age of consent. A similar defense is available for third-degree sexual abuse.

One of the most common defenses to a rape charge is that the sexual relations were consensual. Note that consent is not a defense in cases involving alleged victims under a certain age or those who cannot otherwise give consent.

Innocence is another key defense in a rape case. We will work to gather positive evidence that supports your assertion that you did not commit the offense. You may have an alibi. You may also be the victim of mistaken identity or false allegations.

We will carefully investigate the circumstances of your arrest and how your case was investigated. If your constitutional rights were violated, we will fight to have evidence excluded so it cannot be used against you.

We will challenge everything the prosecution attempts to use against you, including evidence, medical evaluations, and police findings. We will also cross-examine any witnesses who are called. We may raise reasonable doubt in your case by addressing any issues of credibility.

Contact a Lexington Sexual Assault/Battery Lawyer for a Free Consultation

When you are accused of a serious sex offense, you face extremely harsh penalties. Prosecutors and judges in Lexington are more likely to take a harsh approach when dealing with people accused of sexual assault compared to other offenses. You deserve the best possible legal defense to fight for your future and protect your reputation.

At Suhre & Associates, LLC, we will put our decades of experience to work for you. Call our law office today to schedule a free case review with an experienced Lexington sexual assault/battery lawyer to discuss your case.