If you are looking to learn about your legal rights and options after having been sexually assaulted or abused, Thomas Law Offices is here for you. We understand these cases are difficult legally and personally, which is why you will benefit from working with a Columbia, MO sexual assault lawyer.
Sex crimes in Missouri are punishable by law, but victims can face challenges in proving fault or guilt. When you work with our attorneys, they will help you build a strong claim that upholds your rights and gets you the financial recovery you need to begin moving forward and taking control of your life.
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Rape and Sexual Assault Crime Definitions in Missouri
Missouri law separates sex crimes into different categories with different penalties that apply to criminal cases. In the event you are looking to pursue a civil case against someone for assault, your lawyer will work to define the sex crime you need to prove.
- First Degree Rape. A person commits first-degree rape if they have sexual intercourse with another person who is incapacitated, incapable of consent, or is forced via compulsion. The perpetrator could face five years to life in prison if convicted.
- Statutory Rape in the First Degree. A person commits statutory rape in the first degree if they have intercourse with another person who is less than 14 years of age. Punishment if convicted is five years to life.
- Second Degree Rape. Second-degree rape happens if a person has sexual intercourse with another person knowing they do not have consent. The maximum imprisonment and fine for this crime is seven years and $10,000.
- Statutory Rape in the Second Degree. Statutory rape in the second degree happens if a person is 21 years of age or older and has sexual intercourse with someone under 17. There is a maximum prison sentence of seven years and $10,000 in fines.
- Sodomy. This involves a person having deviate sexual intercourse without consent. If found guilty of a first-degree felony, the perpetrator could face five years to life in prison. A second-degree felony warrants up to seven years in prison and $10,000 in fines.
- Child Molestation. A person commits child molestation if they subject a person who is less than 14 to sexual contact, and the offense is an aggravated sexual offense. Imprisonment is possible for ten years and not to exceed 30 years.
- Sexual Misconduct Involving a Child. Sexual misconduct of a minor involves exposing genitals to someone under 15 and knowingly coercing someone under 15 to expose their genitals. Punishment involves up to seven years in prison with fines up to $10,000.
- Sexual Contact With a Student. Any time a teacher is found guilty of having sexual contact with a student, they could face up to four years in prison and $10,000 in fines.
- Sexual Misconduct. Sexual misconduct is when an adult exposes themselves to another adult without consent or tries to coerce engaging in sexual conduct. The maximum prison sentence is one year with up to $2,000 in fines.
- Statutory Sodomy. Statutory sodomy is committed anytime a person has sexual intercourse with a person who is less than 14 years old. Punishments include five years to life in prison.
- Sexual Abuse. A person commits sexual abuse when they subject another person to sexual contact when they are incapacitated. The perpetrator could face three to ten years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines.
We recognize that defining the types of sex crimes in Missouri does not necessarily help you recover from what you’ve been through, but determining what you’ve experienced is an important part of your claim.
Criminal vs. Civil Cases for Sexual Assault
If you’re considering taking legal action for a sexual assault incident, it’s important to understand your rights and legal options. Sexual assault is a crime across the United States, which means the local prosecutor can bring charges against the alleged attacker with a criminal case. If you are the victim of that person, you do not have to participate in the criminal justice process, but you can. Doing so may increase the chances of getting a conviction.
As a sexual assault victim, you have the right to pursue your own claim in civil court. You can sue the attacker for their wrongdoing and seek restitution for your losses—which can help manage any related medical expenses, lost wages, etc. Depending on where and when the attack happened, you may also be able to file a civil claim against an entity like a school, store, hotel, or hospital.
If you choose to file a sexual assault claim in civil court, you will have more control over the proceedings, and you’ll be able to hold multiple parties accountable at once. If you want to get a claim started, our Missouri sex crime attorneys can help.
Resources for Victims of Sexual Assault in Columbia
In Columbia, there are a number of places you can go to seek counsel and guidance when dealing with the aftermath of an assault. A few of the resources include the following:
- RAINN: National Sexual Assault Hotline
- Sexual Assault Support Group
- University of Missouri-Columbia Women’s Center
- Women’s Shelter Support Groups
- True North of Columbia
No matter what you’re going through, the resources above can help you after a sexual assault incident, and our attorneys are standing by, ready to fight for you.
Contact Thomas Law Offices
At Thomas Law Offices, we believe victims of sexual assault deserve to have their voices heard. If you or someone you know is considering taking legal action, a Columbia, MO sexual assault lawyer can help. We understand how challenging it can be to take a stand for yourself. We’ll be by you, supporting you, every step of the way.
The sooner you get in touch with us, the better we will be able to serve you. Contact us today for more information.