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What Is Felony Sexual Assault?

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  • Written By: G. Wiesen
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 10 December 2014
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Felony sexual assault refers to any form of sexual assault that constitutes a felony charge rather than a misdemeanor charge. Most forms of sexual assault are felonies though. The distinction between these different forms of sexual assault is typically established by the laws of a particular country, or state in the US. Felony sexual assault usually involves situations of assault on children, the use of a weapon to threaten or attack someone during the commission of a sexual assault, and sexual assault against those who cannot give consent.

The exact way in which felony sexual assault is defined in a given country or state will depend on its specific laws. There are general guidelines that tend to be consistent among areas, however, and the majority of sexual assaults are felonies in many areas. Anyone with particular concerns about the distinction between felony sexual assault and a misdemeanor charge should consult a lawyer or attorney knowledgeable about the laws of a specific country or state for more information.

Felony sexual assault, in general, refers to those forms of sexual assault seen as the most serious and offensive in nature. Aggravated sexual assault is typically a felony, and this usually refers to any type of sexual assault in which a deadly weapon is used to inflict life threatening or permanent injuries. The use of a deadly weapon to intimidate or threaten a victim can also indicate that a sexual assault will be considered a felony. Sexual assault against children, especially those under age 12, is also typically a felony sexual assault.

In many areas, felony sexual assault also applies to any type of sexual assault made against someone who cannot legally give consent, such as someone with a mental impairment or who is unconscious. Someone who uses a position of authority, such as a teacher or doctor, to convince a victim into allowing him or her to commit a sexual assault is typically guilty of a felony. Felony sexual assault can also involve someone helping another person commit sexual assault, as well as a sexual assault that occurs during the commission of another felony. There are a few types of sexual assault that are not typically felonies, and these include voyeurism, exhibitionism, and making obscene phone calls; though if the victim of such actions is a child then it may become a felony.

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