Sexual Assault Lawyer

Summerville · Moncks Corner · Goose Creek · Charleston

Sexual assault, formally known as criminal sexual conduct, charges come with harsh penalties and an even harsher stigma. Your reputation and relationships with friends and family can be permanently damaged.

We Are Passionate About Fighting Your Sexual Assault Charges.

Just because you’ve been charged with sexual assault does not mean you are guilty!

It does mean that you need a defense lawyer who can work diligently to uncover and examine all of the facts and details surrounding your case.

The attorneys at Seaton & Duncan understand that there are few criminal charges that are more devastating to one’s career and reputation than sexual assault charges.

Understanding Sexual Assault Charges

In general, sexual assault is essentally an assault and battery with a sexual element associated with the charges.

Confusion often occurs because “sexual assault” is legally charged as Criminal Sexual Conduct (CSC), and also commonly referred to as rape.

The major defining requirement of all Criminal sexual conduct (CSC) charges is that penetration must have occurred in some form, however slight.

If the CSC was only attempted, meaning there was no actual penetration only an attempt to, the accused can be punished as if the attempted CSC was completed.

Sound harsh?

For example, if a 1st degree rape was attempted but no penetration occurred, the defendant may still be facing up to 30 years in jail!

There are 3 degrees of CSC, each with its own set of requirements and penalties. We will look at each of them briefly next.

Criminal Sexual Conduct 1st Degree

First degree CSC requires sexual battery, plus an aggravating circumstance:

  • Aggravated force was used to accomplish the act
  • Victim was also a victim of kidnapping, trafficking in persons, robbery, or a similar crime at the same time as the sexual battery
  • Victim was mentally incapacitated or physically helpless due to the actor drugging him/her

A conviction for 1st degree CSC is a felony and can get you up to 30 years in jail.

Criminal Sexual Conduct 2nd Degree

Second degree CSC requires sexual battery accomplished with the use of aggravated coercion.

A conviction for 2nd degree CSC is a felony and you could be facing up to 20 years in jail.

Criminal Sexual Conduct 3rd Degree

Third degree CSC requires a sexual battery accomplished by means of force or coercion OR the actor knew the victim was mentally defective, physically helpless, or the like, and aggravated force or coercion WASN’T used.

A conviction for 3rd degree CSC is a felony and can land you in jail for up to 10 years.

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1. Contact an Attorney

Contact an attorney: Knowledgeable criminal defense counsel can make you aware of your rights and prevent mistakes from occurring. Having a lawyer by your side can stop law enforcement from bullying you during interrogations.

2. Do Not Talk to Police

Do not discuss your case with the police: Talking to the police about seemingly innocuous case details without an attorney can damage your defense. The police may take what you say out of context and use your words against you in the courtroom. Trying to convince the police of your innocence after your arrest can only hurt your case.

3. Do Not Talk to Friends or Family

Do not discuss your case with friends or family: Anything that you say to anyone about your case can be used against you. Do not post about your case on social media or send messages about your charges.

4. Do Not Lose Hope

Do not lose hope about your case: No matter the details of your case, no prosecutor has a guaranteed conviction. There are so many things that can go wrong with a prosecutor’s case. Our lawyer can investigate the evidence and show why there may be problems. Do not accept a plea deal without talking to our attorney.

Ready To Speak With An Attorney?

Let’s discuss the details of your case and see if we can help.

Common Questions About Sexual Assault Charges in SC

What is a charge for attempted rape?

The charge for attempted rape/CSC/sexual assault is the exact same as if rape/CSC/sexual assault were actually committed in South Carolina. Put another way, there is no difference between “attempted” or “committed” with respect to the charges.

While this may sound harsh, SC Code 16-3-656 clearly states that assaults with the intent of committing criminal sexual conduct are punished exactly as CSC convictions would be.

Will I go to jail if convicted of CSC?

If you are convicted of criminal sexual conduct it is very likely that you will face jail time. All degrees of CSC are felonies and the potential penalties for a conviction are serious.

The exact consequences you could be facing depend on the facts and circumstances of your case. Your defense attorney will also have the opportunity to advocate for you in court during sentencing, meaning they can highlight all the positive things about you in hopes of a more lenient sentence.

What if I am accused of sexually assaulting a minor?

Criminal sexual conduct with a minor is a completely separate charge from regular CSC charges.

When the alleged victim of sexual assault is a minor, South Carolina definitely does not go easy. This is a very serious charge, and you should contact an experienced defense attorney as soon as possible.

A conviction for CSC with a minor can carry a sentence up to life in prison.