What are the differences between criminal sexual assault and sexual abuse lawyers?

In the following article we will first outline what a criminal sexual assault case entails in comparison to a sexual abuse case. The second section will further compare the different procedures that are common among criminal sexual assault lawyers and sexual abuse lawyers in a court of law. What is sexual abuse? There are two main categories of sexual abuse, which include sexual-related activity such as forceful touching that was halted just before penetration (oral, anal, vaginal) and any sexual activity involving a minor (defendant) and a minor (victim).

Often times sexual abuse among two minors is consensual however, concerned parties such as parents, teachers or citizens deem the behaviour to be inappropriate. The associated penalties for sexual abuse with a minor can consist of one year in jail and a fine of $2,500 or more (these penalties are general and one should consult their specific location to determine the most accurate penalties).

The minor must also register their name as a sex offender for a minimum of 10 years. Sexual abuse among adults (i.e. forceful touching without penetration) possesses more stringent penalties, which include 1-6 years in prison and a $25,000 fine (one should consult their local legal representative for accurate penalties for their specific location).

If the accused also used a weapon that resulted in bodily harm or threatened the life of the victim then the charge will become aggravated sexual abuse, which holds more severe penalties. In contrast, what is criminal sexual assault? Criminal sexual assault occurs when penetration by force is committed without receiving proper consent. There are three accompanying types of sexual assault, which include criminal sexual assault (i.e. forceful penetration), aggravated criminal sexual assault (i.e. a weapon is used) and predatory criminal sexual assault (i.e. defendant is an adult while the victim is a minor).

We have established what criminal sexual assault and sexual abuse encapsulates however, what are the various procedures for lawyers within the two separate categories of sexual misconduct? A criminal sexual assault case is brought to trial by the state rather than by the victim. This means that the victim may only serve as a witness but ultimately the lawyers will determine if the suspect is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt or otherwise not guilty (without the decision of the victim).

Moreover, if the final verdict is innocence for the accused then they cannot be tried a second time in court for the same sexual assault charge. In contrast, a sexual abuse case may result in the suing of those responsible and the accumulation of monetary damages. In this case, the lawyer must abide by a balance of probabilities. This boils down to the notion that if your side as the plaintiff is more persuasive with a stronger argument than the opposing side then you have proven your case and will receive damages.

Essentially, the sexual abuse lawyer in the civil case must prove the notion of liability, in which the damage you faced was a direct result of the sexual abuse. In conclusion, we now have a general understanding of the differences between a criminal sexual assault and a sexual abuse case. It is important to research the corresponding penalties associated with each in a local context as the above penalties are more general in nature.


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