Alabama sexual assault laws are designed to protect sexual assault victims and ensure that sexual assault predators are punished accordingly. Sexual assault is a severe crime in Alabama that carries harsh penalties.
In Alabama, sexual assault laws divide various types of sexual assault offenses into different categories. Penalties for sexual assault offenses will vary based on multiple factors, including age, extent of sexual act, or if there was use of a deadly weapon or firearm.
This article will go over Alabama’s sexual assault laws, including the various categories, the statute of limitations, and the consequences.
What is Sexual Assault?
Any sexual activity that happens without the consent of all parties involved is sexual assault. Sexual assault is a crime in Alabama and every other state in the United States. It is also against the law to participate in any sexual activity with someone who cannot consent.
People who are considered unable to consent to sexual activity include:
- People with mental illnesses
- People who are intoxicated or under the influence of a drug
Lack of Consent Laws in Alabama
Alabama law states that it considers there to be a lack of consent during sexual activity anytime the perpetrator uses forcible compulsion or the victim is incapable of consent, such as children or incapacitated are considered incapable of consenting.
Consent to sexual activity can happen through actions and words. Things that do not constitute automatic consent for sexual activity in Alabama include the following:
- Previous or current marital status
- Social or sexual relationship
- Request to use birth control
- Request to use protection from sexually transmitted diseases
Rape Laws in Alabama
In Alabama, rape offenses are categorized by the severity
Alabama law states that rape in the first-degree rape includes when someone engages in sexual intercourse, which is any sexual act that involves penetration, under the following circumstances:
- An individual who is incapable of consenting
- When anyone over the age of 16 has sexual intercourse with an individual younger than 12
- Uses forcible compulsion to have sexual intercourse with another individual
Rape in the first degree is a Class A felony, and the punishment is life in prison or imprisonment between 10 and 99 years and up to $60,000 in fines.
Rape in the second degree, formerly known as “statutory rape” in Alabama:
- It is when someone 16 years of age or older has sexual intercourse with anyone between 12 and 16 years of age. The accused must be at least two years older than the victim.
Rape in the second degree is a Class B felony, and the punishment is up to 20 years in prison and no less than two years and a fine of up to $30,000 in fines. If the perpetrator uses a deadly weapon or if the victim is a child younger than 12 years old, the offender will face a minimum of 10 years in jail.
Alabama’s Sexual Abuse Laws
In Alabama, when sexual abuse occurs, it is categorized by severity.
Sexual abuse in the first degree:
- It is when an offender subjects another individual to have sexual contact through forcible compulsion or the person is incapacitated.
- Is a Class C felony carries a punishment of up to 10 years in prison with a minimum of 1 year and a day and a fine of up to $15,000
Sexual abuse in the second degree:
- This is when the offender subjects an individual who is incapable of consenting for reasons other than being under 16 years old to have sexual contact
- When the offender subjects an individual between 12 and 16 years old to have sexual contact while they are 19 years old or older
- Is a Class A misdemeanor
- If the offender is older than 15 and the victim is between 12 and 16 years old, then it becomes a Class C felony.
- If the offender has a subsequent sexual abuse charge within a year, it will be a Class C felony.
- If the offender is older than 16 and the child is under 12
Secondary rape is a class B felony with a penalty of a minimum of 2 to 20 years in prison and up to $30,000. If the offender uses a deadly weapon or the child is younger than 12 years old, they will serve a minimum of a ten-year jail sentence.
Alabama’s Sodomy Laws
Any sexual act that involves anal or oral intercourse is defined as sodomy.
Sodomy in the first degree is when the offender:
- Uses forcible compulsion with another individual
- Participates in sodomy with an incapacitated individual
- Participates in sodomy with a minor ages 12 to 16 years old, when the offender is 16 years or older
Second-degree sodomy is a Class B felony, with a penalty of life in prison or between 10 and 99 years with a fine up to $60,000. If the offender uses a deadly weapon or the child is younger than 12, the punishment is 20 years in prison.
Sodomy in the second degree is when the offender:
- Participates in sodomy with someone between the ages of 12 and 16 and is at least two years younger than the offender
The penalty for sodomy in the second degree is a minimum of two years, up to 20 years in prison, and a fine of up to $30,000. If the offender uses a deadly weapon or the child is younger than 12 years old, they will face a minimum of 10 years in jail.
Alabama’s Sexual Torture Laws
Sexual torture in Alabama is defined as the following:
- When there is the penetration of the vagina, anus, or mouth of another person with an inanimate object to sexual torture, abuse, or gratify the sexual desire of either party through the use of forcible compulsion with an incapacitated person or with a child under 12 years old while being 16 years old or older.
- Anytime there is physical injury to the sex organs or Enten parts of another individual, intending to sexually abuse, torture, or gratify sexual desires of either party.
Alabama classified sexual torture as a Class A felony, punishable by life in prison or 10 to 99 years in prison and up to a $60,000 fine. If there is a deadly weapon or a child younger than 12 is involved, the minimum sentence is 20 years in prison.
Alabama’s Sexual Misconduct Laws
Sexual misconduct is defined by Alabama law as any time an offender engages in the following:
- Non-consensual sexual intercourse, including when consent is obtained through fraud, but excludes first and second-degree rape
- Non-consensual sodomy, including when consent is obtained fraud, but excluding first and second-degree sodomy
- Nonconsensual sexual activity, including when consent, is obtained through fraud, but excluding first and second-degree sexual abuse and sexual abuse of a child younger than 12 years old
In Alabama, sexual misconduct is classified as a Class A misdemeanor, which carries a penalty of up to one year in prison and up to a $6000 fine.
Statue of Limitations for Sexual Assault in Alabama
The statute of limitations is different for civil and criminal sexual abuse cases.
Civil Lawsuit for Sexual Abuse in Alabama
Civil lawsuits for sexual abuse cases in which the victim may sue for compensation and damages from their abuser in Alabama, which has some of the shortest limitations in the country. Sexual abuse cases must be filed within two years of the victim’s 19th birthday if it was a childhood sexual abuse case. If it is an adult sexual abuse case, the civil lawsuit must be filed within two years of the incident. There are no exceptions available for repressed memories or DNA analysis.
For sexual abuse in the workplace, the victim must file a complaint or charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission within 180 days of the harassment or sexual abuse incident. If the EEOC determines it is a valid claim, the victim will have 90 days to file their lawsuit.
Criminal Lawsuit for Sexual Abuse in Alabama
To file a criminal case in Alabama for sexual abuse, the victim must notify law enforcement.
There is no statute of limitations in Alabama on specific offenses, including rape, violent sexual abuse, sexual abuse that includes threats of violence, or any sexual abuse of a child who is under 16 years of age.
Other statutes of limitations include:
- Three years for other felony sexual abuse offenses
- One year for a misdemeanor sexual abuse offense
To ensure you have the most up-to-date and accurate information, consult an experienced criminal defense attorney at Brackin Law Firm in Baldwin County.
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