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What is the difference between rape and sexual assault?

Sexual violence takes many forms, and the different forms of it have different elements and different penalties. Understanding the elements of a crime is an important first step in defending oneself against criminal charges.

Sexual assault includes a number of behaviors that are unwanted by the other person, up to but not including penetration. "Sexual assault" means the other person has not consented to these behaviors or cannot consent because of age, disability or alcohol consumption. Sexual assault can include threatening behavior or actual physical force and includes intentional touching among other actions. New York residents may be aware that sexual assaults are considered felonies, which means they are considered very serious crimes.

The definition of rape varies from state to state, but there are a few elements that remain common-it involves the nonconsensual penetration of the other person by either the accused's own body or objects. Considered a violent crime, rape can also include either the threat or use of force.

Considered especially heinous by society, the crimes of rape and sexual assault are frowned upon strongly. This means that even though a person is constitutionally considered innocent until proven guilty, when it comes to sexual offenses, people often assume the accused is guilty. This can affect their reputation even after they have successfully defended themselves. Seeking proper representation can allow individuals in such situations to move forward in positive manner. Having an experienced attorney create a criminal defense that attacks the prosecution's case aggressively can be one way to defend one's rights.

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