There are many forms of sexual assault. One form of this crime is sexual assault in the third degree. If you face this charge, it is important to educate yourself about what you are up against. You can find all of the information that you need about this crime on this page.
What is Sexual Assault in the Third Degree?
Sexual assault in the third degree is a crime that is governed by Connecticut General Statutes § 53a-72a (2019). The statute gives three different definitions of what it means to commit sexual assault in the third degree, also known as “Sex 3.” Sex 3 happens when one of these three situations occurs:
(1) A person compels another person to submit to a sexual contact by use of force, or threatens to use force against the victim or a third person which reasonably causes the victim to fear physical injury to himself or a third person.
(2) A person subjects another person to sexual contact who is mentally incapacitated or mentally disabled such that the person is unable to consent.
(3) A person engages in sexual intercourse with a person with whom he or she knows is related.
These situations contain some definitions that we need to clarify in the way that the state defines them.
“Sexual intercourse” is defined in Connecticut as; vaginal intercourse, oral sex, and anal intercourse. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 53a-65(2) (2019). Slight penetration is enough to count as vaginal or anal intercourse. In addition, penetration can be done with an object or a body part.
“Sexual contact” is defined as contact with any intimate parts of either two people participating in the sexual act. Furthermore, this sexual contact takes place either for the sexual enjoyment of the aggressor, or humiliation/degradation of the unwilling other participant. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 53a-65(3) (2019).
Connecticut defines “intimate parts” as the genital area, bodily fluids that come from the genitals, groin, anus, inner thighs, buttocks, and breasts. Conn. Gen, Stat. § 53a-65(8) (2019).
“Mentally incapacitated” is defined as a person who is temporarily incapable of controlling their own actions due to the influence of a drug or intoxicating substance administered to such person without his or her consent or owning to any other act committed against such person without his or her consent. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 53a-65(5) (2019).
Finally, Connecticut defines “impaired because of mental disability of disease” as a person who suffers from a mental disability that renders the person incapable of understanding the consequences of decisions. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 53a-65(4) (2019).
What are the Consequences?
Sexual assault in the third degree is normally classified as a Class D felony, unless the victim is under 16 years old, in which case it is classified as a Class C felony. If the charge is classified as a Class C felony, the penalties are:
- A prison sentence of at least one year but no more than 10 years.
- A fine of no more than $10,000.
These penalties are defined in Conn. Gen. Stat. § 53a-35a (2019); Conn. Gen. Stat. § 53a-41 (2019).
If the charge is classified as a Class D felony then the penalties are:
- A prison sentence up to five years.
- A fine of up to $5,000.
If a person is convicted of sexual assault in the third degree and the victim at the time of the crime was ten years old or younger the court will order additional penalties. The court will require that the actor undergo psychological counseling. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 53a-40c (2019).
Also keep in mind that after a person has been convicted of Sex 3 and they are released into the general public, they need to register as a sex offender. If the offense is a first offense, registration is for 10 years. For a second or subsequent sexual offense, registration is for life. Conn. Gen. Stat. § § 54-251, 54-252.
What Defenses Can I Make?
If charged with Sex 3 under subsection (2), a defendant can allege an affirmative defense that if the victim was mentally incapacitated at the time of the crime, the defendant may give evidence that at the time of the sexual intercourse the defendant did not know the condition of the victim. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 53a-67 (2019).
Hiring a lawyer can put you in the best position to establish the best possible defense for your specific situation. Contact us to discuss your situation with a lawyer.