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Forcible Touching

What is considered a “sex crime” in New York? Are all sex offenses felonies or are any sex crimes misdemeanors? The NYPD arrested me for Forcible Touching. Is this the type of crime that fits the more serious SORA and felony prosecutions in New York? For that matter, what is New York Penal Law 130.52 and do I need a sex crimes lawyer to defend me against these allegations?

New York Penal Law 130.52: Understanding the Crime of Forcible Touching

The key foundation and basis for any Forcible Touching arrest and prosecution evolves from the allegation that you, the accused, intentionally, and without a legitimate purpose, touched another person in a particular way, for a nefarious purpose and in a manner that the law deems unacceptable. More specifically, PL 130.52(1) and PL 120.52(2) each set forth prohibited conduct.

Forcible Touching: PL 130.52(1)

Pursuant to PL 130.52(1), Forcible Touching, you are guilty of a class “A” misdemeanor if you intentionally and without a legitimate purpose forcibly touch the sexual or other intimate parts of another person. The reason for touching your alleged victim must be for the purpose of either degrading or abusing him or her. Alternatively, your intention can also be for your own sexual gratification or desire.

Forcible Touching: PL 130.52(2)

Pursuant to PL 130.52(2), you are guilty of subsection (2) of misdemeanor Forcible Touching when you intentionally, and for no legitimate purpose, subject another person to sexual contact and you do so for your own gratification for sexual desire as well as with the intent to degrade or abuse your target. The restriction set forth in this subsection is based on the requirement that this must occur on a bus, train, or subway car whose operation is authorized in New York.

New York Penal Law 130.52: Important Terms and Definitions Involving Forcible Touching

As defined by statute in PL 130.52, “forcible touching” includes squeezing, grabbing or pinching. Moreover, PL 130.00(3) defines “sexual contact” as any touching of the sexual or intimate parts of another person for your own sexual gratification. It is irrelevant if it is under or on top of clothing. If you are a man, ejaculation upon another person is also considered “sexual contact.”

New York Penal Law 130.52: Penalties and Punishment for Forcible Touching

Forcible Touching is a misdemeanor with a potential punishment and sentence of up to one year in jail. Other than possible community service, three years of probation, a jail/probation split and jailing for some time frame up to this one year limit, there is a another consequence lurking for certain convictions. New York’s Sex Offender Registration Act, aka, SORA, mandates that individuals convicted of specified sex crimes and sex offenses register as sex offenders. Without addressing all of the implications of SORA registration, know the following. Should you be convicted of PL 130.52, your victim is less than eighteen years old or you have a certain criminal history, you will be required to register.

New York Penal Law 130.52: Defenses to Forcible Touching

As much as any criminal lawyer would want to have a prefabricated defense to a Forcible Touching arrest, it simply is not the case. However, depending the allegation and evidence there may be more viable approaches than others. For example, while a crowded subway is no excuse to “grind” on another passenger, is your arrest on a Manhattan or Brooklyn subway a product not of sexual impulses, but a genuine misunderstanding of a tight situation? Similarly, if you touched a person’s buttocks or breasts, was it inadvertent? There may be no disputing you touched another person, but in an intimate area (or there in fact may be an argument that you never did so as well), but it was not related to any sexual gratification or other nefarious reason.

Should you be accused of Forcible Touching or any other New York misdemeanor sex crime, as embarrassing as it may be and unfortunate reality that many a prosecutor and judge will assume the worst as to your conduct, an arrest is neither proof of wrongdoing nor a conviction. You have rights. Exercise them.

Because experience, knowledge and advocacy is your only defense when facing criminal charges, you can count on the New York criminal lawyers and former Manhattan prosecutors at Saland Law.

Call us at 212.312.7129 or contact us online today to speak with our New York attorneys and former Manhattan prosecutors.

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