First-Degree Sexual Assault is a Class B felony and is the most severe sexual assault charge in Wisconsin. It carries a maximum penalty of up to 60 years in prison if convicted, except for the situation of having sexual contact and/or intercourse with a child under the age of 13 years that results in great bodily harm to that child, which is a Class A Felony with a maximum penalty of up to life imprisonment. Additional possible consequences can include being placed on the Sex Offender Registry for either 15 years or for one’s lifetime; wearing a GPS monitoring device; and being subject to extremely serious rules while supervised in the community by a probation and parole agent.
In order to be found guilty of First-Degree Sexual Assault, the State must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you had either sexual contact or intercourse with another person who had not given you consent under certain circumstances that make the specific behavior extremely serious. Some examples include if the State claims you caused either pregnancy or great bodily harm to the non-consenting person; used or threatened to use a dangerous weapon to force someone to have sex against that person’s will; or had sexual contact or intercourse with a child under the age of 12 (who by law cannot consent to sexual contact or intercourse and therefore any such behavior is presumed to be illegal, or “statutory rape”).
There are many defenses to First-Degree Sexual Assault for the simple reason that there has been reported to be a high number of individuals who have been wrongfully convicted of sexual assault and later exonerated due to DNA evidence. These cases have allowed lawyers and forensic scientists to identify common reasons why individuals are falsely accused of sexual assault. Oftentimes, those reasons are entirely innocent. For example, eyewitnesses often mistake the identity of their attacker, particularly when they are not familiar with that person. Additionally, there are other factors that can affect a child or adult’s memory, sometimes due to the accuser being under the influence of mind-altering substances. Unfortunately, there are cases where individuals lie about being sexually assaulted, oftentimes in the case of an impressionable child pressured by a parent in a child custody dispute. Each case requires careful attention to all the facts and details to fully understand the strength of possible defenses. Depending on whether there is a delayed report of sexual assault, there may no longer be DNA or other physical evidence necessary to prove one’s innocence. Nonetheless, our firm collaborates with leading experts and trained investigators to thoroughly investigate claims of sexual assault to ensure our clients are not wrongfully convicted of a false allegation of sexual assault. Please contact an attorney at our firm for a consultation and we look forward to discussing your case in further detail.