Criminal defendants, including those who have been accused of sex crimes, have a right to be informed of the charges against them. However, sex crime statutes can sometimes be difficult to understand. These statutes often use confusing or complicated language and phrasing. Additionally, the legal definition of certain terms or statutes may be very different than what a person might think they mean. For this reason, reading a criminal statute for the first time may not clearly reveal its meaning and it is necessary to define legal terms beforehand. Below is a list of common legal terms defined.
- Consent: Legally, to consent means to agree to do a certain act. Lack of consent does not have to be vocalized or known to the defendant.
- Penetration: Penetration is the insertion of a part of the defendant's body or an object into a part of the victim's body. The degree of penetration is immaterial, because even slight penetration can lead to criminal charges as long as the other elements are met.
- Minor: Any person younger than 18 years of age.
In addition to those legal terms, defined below are a list of common sex crimes statutes and their meanings.
- Prostitution: The exchanging of sexual acts for monetary payment. Both the person who gets paid and the person who solicits the sexual act can be criminally charged.
- Sexual Battery: The touching of the defendant's genitals or anus to a body part belonging to the victim without the victim's consent, or the touching of the victim's genitals or anus by a body part belonging to the defendant without the defendant's consent.
- Forcible Rape: Sex without the victim's consent accomplished through force, violence, or threats of force or violence.
- Indecent Exposure: The revealing of a person's body part to the public in a situation where exposure is unacceptable by the standards of appropriate behavior. What is considered indecent varies in different areas, and body parts prohibited to be on display range from the genital areas to the buttocks and female breasts.
- Oral Copulation By Force: Any contact, with or without penetration, between a person's mouth and the sexual organ or anus of another person done by force. To do so by force, is to use enough physical power to overcome the other person's will.