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New York Penal Code %c2%a7 130 20 Sexual Misconduct

By Spodek Law Group | July 17, 2023
(Last Updated On: July 27, 2023)

Last Updated on: 27th July 2023, 04:34 pm


Navigating New York’s Complex Sexual Misconduct Laws

New York’s laws regarding sexual misconduct and sex crimes are complex and carry severe penalties if violated. One such law is New York Penal Code § 130.20 which covers the crime of sexual misconduct. This statute makes it illegal to engage in sexual intercourse, oral sexual conduct, anal sexual conduct, or sexual contact without a person’s consent. Violating this law can lead to up to 1 year in jail, so it’s critical to understand what constitutes consent, the scope of the law, and potential defenses if accused.

A key component of any sexual misconduct or sex crime allegation in New York is the issue of consent. Under Penal Code § 130.05, consent is defined as the following:

  • Freely given agreement between participants to engage in sexual activity
  • Communicated through words or actions that a reasonable person would understand
  • Cannot be given by someone who is asleep, unconscious, physically helpless, or under 17 years old

The burden is on the accused to show by a preponderance of the evidence that clear consent was given. Silence, lack of resistance, or absence of the word “no” does not constitute consent. Additionally, consent to one sexual act does not imply consent to other acts.

It’s also important to note that if someone is mentally incapacitated or impaired by drugs or alcohol, they cannot legally give consent under New York law. This means that having sex with someone who is very intoxicated could potentially be charged as sexual misconduct.

Scope of Sexual Misconduct Charges

Penal Code § 130.20 is broad in scope and prohibits the following acts without consent:

  • Sexual intercourse – This includes vaginal, oral, or anal penetration by the penis, finger, or foreign object.
  • Oral sexual conduct – Contact between the mouth and genitals.
  • Anal sexual conduct – Contact between the penis, finger, or foreign object and anus.
  • Sexual contact – Touching or fondling of the sexual or intimate parts of another person.

The law applies regardless of the sex, sexual orientation, or relationship between the individuals. It is illegal in New York for a spouse to have sex with their partner while they are unconscious or sleeping, for example, as consent cannot be given.

Notably, the victim does not have to say “no” or physically resist for it to be considered sexual misconduct. The key is whether consent was affirmatively and freely given.

Potential Defenses

Fighting a sexual misconduct charge will often come down to arguing that clear consent was provided. Some potential defenses include:

  • The alleged victim consented verbally or through affirmative actions/participation.
  • Reasonable mistake as to consent – The accused had an honest and reasonable belief that consent existed.
  • False accusations – The alleged victim is fabricating the charges.

An experienced New York sex crimes lawyer can evaluate the evidence and determine if any viable defenses exist. They may also be able to negotiate with prosecutors to get charges reduced or dismissed.

Penalties Under § 130.20

Sexual misconduct is classified as a Class A misdemeanor under New York law. Conviction carries penalties of:

  • Up to 1 year in jail
  • Up to 3 years probation
  • Up to $1,000 in fines

Additionally, those convicted will be placed on the sex offender registry and subjected to community supervision. The stigma and restrictions imposed on registered sex offenders can have lifelong implications.

Any charge for an offense under § 130.20 should be taken very seriously. An arrest alone can trigger devastating personal and professional consequences.

Experienced NY Sex Crimes Defense Attorney

Facing allegations of sexual misconduct or any sex crime in New York can be frightening. But the experienced attorneys at Spodek Law Group have successfully defended clients just like you for over 45 years. We understand how to build a strong defense against charges under § 130.20 and can aggressively protect your freedom and future.

Don’t leave your defense to chance. Reach out for dedicated legal help. Call 212-300-5196 or contact us online to set up a free consultation.

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