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Melissa is a mother of 2, lives in Utah, and writes for a multitude of sites. She is currently the EIC of HarcourtHealth.com and writes about health, wellness, and business topics.

Sexual assault is a serious crime that covers all forms of unwanted sexual contact, from groping to rape. It doesn’t need to be physical contact, as harmful behavior like threats, harassment, and stalking can also fall under the purview of sexual assault. Whatever accusations you face, you should immediately seek out a lawyer if you face sexual assault charges. Your lawyer can inform you of your rights and make sure that you receive a vigorous defence in court.

Rape and Attempted Rape

The most serious form of sexual assault comes in the form of rape or attempted rape. This involves any forcible sex act imposed on somebody against their will. While most people imagine rape as a violent act, that isn’t always the case. Rape can also take the form of taking advantage of somebody who is not able to consent, such as a person who is drunk or passed out. It can also involve power disparities, such as an employer who forces a subordinate to perform a sexual act in exchange for job security. Rape and attempted rape almost always carries a jail sentence. If you find yourself accused of one of these crimes, you should immediately seek out proper legal representation such as Jeff Mass, criminal defence lawyer.

Unwanted Physical Contact

Sexual assault can also include unwanted physical contact that makes a person feel vulnerable or unsafe. Groping is the most common example of this-if a person touches another person in the genitals or in another area commonly associated with sexuality, such as the breasts or buttocks, the offending party could be found guilty of sexual assault. Accidental contact, such as incidental touching when a person falls or when somebody bumps into somebody else, doesn’t necessarily count as groping. Usually, a guilty party establishes a pattern of behavior which makes other people feel uncomfortable. This form of sexual assault could require the guilty party to go through counseling or serve jail time.

Harassing Behavior

A consistent pattern of predatory behavior can also lead to a sexual assault charge. This includes stalking, exhibitionism, peeping, and sexual threats. A person charged with one of these behaviors might claim that they were only joking and may even believe that, but intent matters less than the effect of this behavior on the people targeted. Somebody found guilty of harassing behavior might only receive a warning, or they might find themselves charged with criminal sexual assault and forced to register as a sex offender. As with other charges, you should take any accusations very seriously and reach out to a defence lawyer who has successfully defended similar cases in your area.

Sexual assault can happen to men or women, young and old. You might even find that your behavior falls into the categories defined by this crime without realizing that you are doing something inappropriate. No matter what your circumstances, you should make sure to reach out to a defence lawyer as soon as you are accused. That is the best way to make sure that you get a proper defence and that you maintain your rights while on trial.