Sex Crimes: Definitions and Penalties
Alabama

Last Updated: December 2017
Rape in the First Degree Answer

How is it defined?

Sexual intercourse with a member of the opposite sex, where either:

 

  • The offender uses forcible compulsion;
  • The victim is incapable of consent by reason of being physically helpless or mentally incapacitated; or
  • The offender is 16 years of age or older and the victim is less than 12 years old.

What are the punishments for this crime?

Rape in the first degree is a Class A felony, which is punishable by both imprisonment and the imposition of a fine, in the following manner:

  • An offender shall be imprisoned for not more than 99 years or less than 10 years.
    • However, when a firearm or deadly weapon is used or attempted to be used in the commission of the felony, the minimum sentence is 20 years.
    • Additionally, where the felony consists of a “sex offense involving a child,” the minimum sentence is also 20 years.
  • An offender is also subject to a judicially-determined fine, in an amount not exceeding $60,000.

 

In addition to the aforementioned punishments, added penalties apply in the following scenarios:

  • If the state has designated an offender as a “sexually violent predator” (in accordance with Ala. Code § 15-20A-19) or where an offender is convicted of a Class A felony sex offense involving a child, the offender is also subject to at least 10 years of post-release supervision.
  • In all cases where an offender is convicted of a sex offense when the offender was 21 years of age or older and the victim was 6 years of age or less at the time the offense was committed, the defendant shall be sentenced to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole.

Anything else I should know?

The following definitions are relevant, and apply, to this crime:

  • Sexual Intercourse: The term is defined to refer to the phrase’s “ordinary meaning.” Sexual intercourse occurs upon “any penetration, however slight,” and emission is not required.
  • Forcible Compulsion: Physical force that overcomes earnest resistance or a threat, express or implied, that places a person in fear of immediate death or serious physical injury to himself or another person.
  • Mentally Incapacitated: a person is rendered temporarily incapable of appraising or controlling his conduct owing to the influence of a narcotic or intoxicating substance administered to him without his consent, or to any other incapacitating act committed upon him without his consent.
  • Physically Helpless: a person is unconscious or for any other reason is physically unable to communicate unwillingness to an act.
  • Sex Offense Involving a Child: a conviction for any sex offense in which the victim was a child (i.e., under 12 years old), or any offense involving child pornography 
    There is an amendment to this law currently pending before the Alabama House (the amendment previously passed the Alabama Senate unanimously). The amendment, as proposed, would automatically terminate the parental rights of an offender when a child is born as a result of the rape. 2017 Alabama Senate Bill No. 46, Alabama 2017 Regular Session.

Statutory Citation(s):

Ala. Code § 13A-6-60 and § 15-20A-4 (definitions); Ala. Code § 13A-6-61 (rape in the first degree); Ala. Code § 13A-5-6 (prison sentencing); Ala. Code § 13A-5-11 (fines)






Rape in the Second Degree Answer

How is it defined?

Sexual intercourse with a member of the opposite sex, where either:

  • The offender is 16 years old or older and the victim is between 12-16 years old, provided that the victim is at least 2 years younger than the offender; or
  • The victim is incapable of consent by reason of being “mentally defective.”

What are the punishments for this crime?

Rape in the second degree is a Class B felony, which is punishable by both imprisonment and the imposition of a fine, in the following manner:

  • An offender shall be imprisoned for not more than 20 years or less than 2 years.
    • However, when a firearm or deadly weapon is used or attempted to be used in the commission of the felony, the minimum sentence is 10 years.
    • Additionally, where the felony consists of a “sex offense involving a child,” the minimum sentence is also 10 years.
  • An offender is also subject to a judicially-determined fine, in an amount not exceeding $30,000

Anything else I should know?

The following definitions are relevant, and apply, to this crime:

  • Mentally Defective: a person suffers from a mental disease or defect which renders him incapable of appraising the nature of his conduct.
  • Sexual Intercourse: The term is defined to refer to the phrase’s “ordinary meaning.” Sexual intercourse occurs upon “any penetration, however slight,” and emission is not required.
  • Sex Offense Involving a Child: a conviction for any sex offense in which the victim was a child (i.e., under 12 years old), or any offense involving child pornography

Statutory Citation(s):

Ala. Code § 13A-6-60 and § 15-20A-4 (definitions); Ala. Code § 13A-6-62 (rape in the second degree); Ala. Code § 13A-5-6 (prison sentencing); Ala. Code § 13A-5-11 (fines)






Sexual Torture Answer

How is it defined?

A person commits the crime of sexual torture by either:

  • Penetrating the vagina, anus, or mouth of another person with an inanimate object by forcible compulsion with the intent to sexually torture or to sexually abuse;
  • Penetrating the vagina, anus, or mouth of another person with an inanimate object with the intent to sexually torture or to sexually abuse, where the victim is incapable of consent by reason of physical helplessness or mental incapacity; or
  • Penetrating the vagina, anus, or mouth of another person who is less than 12 years old with an inanimate object with the intent to sexually torture or to sexually abuse, where the offender is 16 years old or older.

What are the punishments for this crime?

Sexual torture is a Class A felony, which is punishable by both imprisonment and the imposition of a fine, in the following manner:

  • An offender shall be imprisoned for not more than 99 years or less than 10 years.
    • However, when a firearm or deadly weapon is used or attempted to be used in the commission of the felony, the minimum sentence is 20 years.
    • Additionally, where the felony consists of a “sex offense involving a child,” the minimum sentence is also 20 years.
  • An offender is also subject to a judicially-determined fine, in an amount not exceeding $60,000.

 

In addition to the aforementioned punishments, added penalties apply in the following scenarios:

  • If the state has designated an offender as a “sexually violent predator” (in accordance with Ala. Code § 15-20A-19) or where an offender is convicted of a Class A felony sex offense involving a child, the offender is also subject to at least 10 years of post-release supervision.
  • In all cases where an offender is convicted of a sex offense when the offender was 21 years of age or older and the victim was 6 years of age or less at the time the offense was committed, the defendant shall be sentenced to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole.

Anything else I should know?

The following definitions are relevant, and apply, to this crime:

  • Forcible Compulsion: Physical force that overcomes earnest resistance or a threat, express or implied, that places a person in fear of immediate death or serious physical injury to himself or another person.
  • Mentally Incapacitated: a person is rendered temporarily incapable of appraising or controlling his conduct owing to the influence of a narcotic or intoxicating substance administered to him without his consent, or to any other incapacitating act committed upon him without his consent.
  • Physically Helpless: a person is unconscious or for any other reason is physically unable to communicate unwillingness to an act.

Sex Offense Involving a Child: a conviction for any sex offense in which the victim was a child (i.e., under 12 years old), or any offense involving child pornography

Statutory citation(s):

Ala. Code § 13A-6-60 and § 15-20A-4 (definitions); Ala. Code § 13A-6-65.1 (sexual torture); Ala. Code § 13A-5-6 (prison sentencing); Ala. Code § 13A-5-11 (fines)






Sodomy in the First Degree Answer

How is it defined?

A person commits the crime of sodomy in the first degree by either:

  • Engaging in deviate sexual intercourse with another person by forcible compulsion;
  • Engaging in deviate sexual intercourse with a person who is incapable of consent by reason of being physically helpless or mentally incapacitated; or
  • Engaging in deviate sexual intercourse with another person, where the victim is less than 12 years old and the offender is 16 years old or older

What are the punishments for this crime?

Sodomy in the first degree is a Class A felony, which is punishable by both imprisonment and the imposition of a fine, in the following manner:

  • An offender shall be imprisoned for not more than 99 years or less than 10 years.
    • However, when a firearm or deadly weapon is used or attempted to be used in the commission of the felony, the minimum sentence is 20 years.
    • Additionally, where the felony consists of a “sex offense involving a child,” the minimum sentence is also 20 years.
  • An offender is also subject to a judicially-determined fine, in an amount not exceeding $60,000.

 

In addition to the aforementioned punishments, added penalties apply in the following scenarios:

  • If the state has designated an offender as a “sexually violent predator” (in accordance with Ala. Code § 15-20A-19) or where an offender is convicted of a Class A felony sex offense involving a child, the offender is also subject to at least 10 years of post-release supervision.
  • In all cases where an offender is convicted of a sex offense when the offender was 21 years of age or older and the victim was 6 years of age or less at the time the offense was committed, the defendant shall be sentenced to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole.

Anything else I should know?

The following definitions are relevant, and apply, to this crime:

  • Deviate Sexual Intercourse: any act of sexual gratification between persons not married to each other involving the sex organs of one person and the mouth or anus of another.
  • Forcible Compulsion: Physical force that overcomes earnest resistance or a threat, express or implied, that places a person in fear of immediate death or serious physical injury to himself or another person.
  • Mentally Incapacitated: a person is rendered temporarily incapable of appraising or controlling his conduct owing to the influence of a narcotic or intoxicating substance administered to him without his consent, or to any other incapacitating act committed upon him without his consent.
  • Physically Helpless: a person is unconscious or for any other reason is physically unable to communicate unwillingness to an act.
  • Sex Offense Involving a Child: a conviction for any sex offense in which the victim was a child (i.e., under 12 years old), or any offense involving child pornography

Statutory citation(s):

Ala. Code § 13A-6-60 and § 15-20A-4 (definitions); Ala. Code § 13A-6-63 (sodomy in the first degree); Ala. Code § 13A-5-6 (prison sentencing); Ala. Code § 13A-5-11 (fines)






Sodomy in the Second Degree Answer

How is it defined?

A person commits the crime of sodomy in the second degree by either:

  • Engaging in deviate sexual intercourse with another person, where the victim is less than 12 years old and the offender is less than 16 years old or older; or
  • Engaging in deviate sexual intercourse with another person who is incapable of consent by reason of being “mentally defective”

What are the punishments for this crime?

Sodomy in the second degree is a Class B felony, which is punishable by both imprisonment and the imposition of a fine, in the following manner:

  • An offender shall be imprisoned for not more than 20 years or less than 2 years.
    • However, when a firearm or deadly weapon is used or attempted to be used in the commission of the felony, the minimum sentence is 10 years.
    • Additionally, where the felony consists of a “sex offense involving a child,” the minimum sentence is also 10 years.
  • An offender is also subject to a judicially-determined fine, in an amount not exceeding $30,000

Anything else I should know?

The following definitions are relevant, and apply, to this crime:

  • Deviate Sexual Intercourse: any act of sexual gratification between persons not married to each other involving the sex organs of one person and the mouth or anus of another.
  • Mentally Defective: a person suffers from a mental disease or defect which renders him incapable of appraising the nature of his conduct.
  • Sex Offense Involving a Child: a conviction for any sex offense in which the victim was a child (i.e., under 12 years old), or any offense involving child pornography

Statutory Citation(s):

Ala. Code § 13A-6-60 and § 15-20A-4 (definitions); Ala. Code § 13A-6-64 (sodomy in the second degree); Ala. Code § 13A-5-6 (prison sentencing); Ala. Code § 13A-5-11 (fines)






Sexual Abuse in the First Degree Answer

How is it defined?

Sexual abuse in the first degree consists of either:

  • Subjecting another person to sexual contact by forcible compulsion; or
  • Subjecting another person to sexual contact who is incapable of consent by reason of being physically helpless or mentally incapacitated.

What are the punishments for this crime?

Sexual abuse in the first degree is a Class C felony, which is punishable by both imprisonment and the imposition of a fine, in the following manner:

  • An offender shall be imprisoned for not more than 10 years or less than 1 year and 1 day.
    • However, when a firearm or deadly weapon is used or attempted to be used in the commission of the felony, the minimum sentence is 10 years.
  • An offender is also subject to a judicially-determined fine, in an amount not exceeding $15,000

Anything else I should know?

The following definitions are relevant, and apply, to this crime:

  • Sexual Contact: Any touching of the sexual or other intimate parts of a person not married to the actor, done for the purpose of gratifying the sexual desire of either party.
  • Forcible Compulsion: Physical force that overcomes earnest resistance or a threat, express or implied, that places a person in fear of immediate death or serious physical injury to himself or another person.
  • Mentally Incapacitated: a person is rendered temporarily incapable of appraising or controlling his conduct owing to the influence of a narcotic or intoxicating substance administered to him without his consent, or to any other incapacitating act committed upon him without his consent.
  • Physically Helpless: a person is unconscious or for any other reason is physically unable to communicate unwillingness to an act.

Statutory citation(s):

Ala. Code § 13A-6-60 and § 15-20A-4 (definitions); Ala. Code § 13A-6-66 (sexual abuse in the first degree); Ala. Code § 13A-5-6 (prison sentencing); Ala. Code § 13A-5-11 (fines)






Sexual Abuse in the Second Degree Answer

How is it defined?

Sexual abuse in the second degree consists of either:

  • Subjecting another person to sexual contact when the victim is incapable of consent by reason of some factor other than being less than 16 years old; or
  • Subjecting another person to sexual contact when the victim is between 12-16 years old, and the offender is 19 years old or older.

What are the punishments for this crime?

Sexual abuse in the second degree is a Class A misdemeanor, which is punishable by both imprisonment and the imposition of a fine, in the following manner:

  • An offender shall be imprisoned for not more than 1 year.
  • An offender is also subject to a judicially-determined fine, in an amount not exceeding $6,000

 

Additionally, if the sexual abuse in the second degree in question consists of a second or subsequent offense within one year of another sexual offense, the offense is a Class C felony. A Class C felony is punishable by both imprisonment and the imposition of a fine, in the following manner:

  • An offender shall be imprisoned for not more than 10 years or less than 1 year and 1 day.
    • However, when a firearm or deadly weapon is used or attempted to be used in the commission of the felony, the minimum sentence is 10 years.
  • An offender is also subject to a judicially-determined fine, in an amount not exceeding $15,000

Anything else I should know?

The following definitions are relevant, and apply, to this crime:

Sexual Contact: Any touching of the sexual or other intimate parts of a person not married to the actor, done for the purpose of gratifying the sexual desire of either party.

Statutory Citation(s):

Ala. Code § 13A-6-60 and § 15-20A-4 (definitions); Ala. Code § 13A-6-67 (sexual abuse in the second degree); Ala. Code § 13A-5-6 (prison sentencing); Ala. Code § 13A-5-11 (fines)






Sexual Misconduct Answer

How is it defined?

A person commits the crime of sexual misconduct if:

  • Being a male, the offender engages in sexual intercourse with a female without her consent, under circumstances other than those constituting rape in the first or second degree;
  • Being a male, the offender engages in sexual intercourse with a female with her consent where such consent was obtained by the use of any fraud or artifice;
  • Being a female, the offender engages in sexual intercourse with a male without his consent; or
  • An offender (of either gender) engages in deviate sexual intercourse with another person under circumstances other than those constituting rape in the first or second degree. Consent is not a defense in this instance.

Additionally, note that one Alabama court has held this statute is partially unconstitutional as applied to a specific defendant under the Supreme Court’s decision in Lawrence v. Texas. See Williams v. State, 184 So. 3d 1064, 1070 (Ala. Crim. App. 2015). Williams overturned a man’s conviction for engaging in consensual anal intercourse (which the state considered “deviate sexual intercourse”). However, Williams is limited, as it did not change the statute, and it only held it was unconstitutional as applied to the specific defendant. See Gilbert v. State, 220 So. 3d 1099, 1105 (Ala. Crim. App. 2016), reh'g denied (May 27, 2016), cert. denied (Oct. 14, 2016) (ruling that Williams only held that sexual misconduct cannot be used as a statutory prohibition on “consensual sodomy”)

What are the punishments for this crime?

Sexual abuse in the second degree is a Class A misdemeanor, which is punishable by both imprisonment and the imposition of a fine, in the following manner:

  • An offender shall be imprisoned for not more than 1 year.
  • An offender is also subject to a judicially-determined fine, in an amount not exceeding $6,000

Anything else I should know?

The following definitions are relevant, and apply, to this crime:

  • Sexual Intercourse: is defined to refer to the phrase’s “ordinary meaning” including any penetration, however slight, emission is not required.
  • Deviate Sexual Intercourse: any act of sexual gratification between persons not married to each other involving the sex organs of one person and the mouth or anus of another.

Statutory citation(s):

Ala. Code § 13A-6-60 and § 15-20A-4 (definitions); Ala. Code § 13A-6-65 (sexual misconduct); Ala. Code § 13A-5-6 (prison sentencing); Ala. Code § 13A-5-11 (fines)






Statutory Rape Answer

How is it defined?

Alabama no longer separately codifies the offense of “statutory rape.” Instead, statutory rape has been supplanted by Ala. Code § 13A-6-61(a)(3) (rape in the first degree) and Ala. Code § 13A-6-62(a)(1) (rape in the second degree). Further, Ala. Code §§ 13A-6-63 and 13A-6-64 (sodomy in the first and second degrees) and Ala. Code § 13A-6-67 (sexual abuse in the second degree) contain language covering other offenses that constitute what is otherwise commonly called “statutory rape.” Finally, Ala. Code § 13A-6-69.1 (sexual abuse of a child less than 12 years old) contains additional prohibitions. The relevant laws are as follows:

  • Rape in the first degree: Sexual intercourse with a member of the opposite sex between an offender who is 16 years old or older and a victim who is under 12 years old.
  • Rape in the second degree: Sexual intercourse with a member of the opposite sex when (a) the offender is 16 years old or older, (b) the victim is between 12–16 years old, and (c) the offender is at least two years older than the victim.
  • Sodomy in the first degree: Deviate sexual intercourse between an offender who is 16 years old or older and a victim who is under 12 years old.
  • Sodomy in the second degree: Deviate sexual intercourse between an offender who is 16 years old or older and a victim who is more than 12 years old.
  • Sexual abuse in the second degree: Sexual contact between an offender who is 19 years old or older and a victim who between 12-16 years old.
  • Sexual abuse of a child less than 12 years old: Sexual contact between an offender who is 16 years old or older and a victim who less than 12 years old.

What are the punishments for this crime?

Rape and Sodomy in the First Degree:

These crimes are Class A felonies, which are punishable by both imprisonment and the imposition of a fine, in the following manner:

  • An offender shall be imprisoned for not more than 99 years or less than 10 years.
    • However, when a firearm or deadly weapon is used or attempted to be used in the commission of the felony, the minimum sentence is 20 years.
    • Additionally, where the felony consists of a “sex offense involving a child,” the minimum sentence is also 20 years.
  • An offender is also subject to a judicially-determined fine, in an amount not exceeding $60,000.

In addition to the aforementioned punishments, added penalties apply in the following scenarios:

  • If the state has designated an offender as a “sexually violent predator” (in accordance with Ala. Code § 15-20A-19) or where an offender is convicted of a Class A felony sex offense involving a child, the offender is also subject to at least 10 years of post-release supervision.
  • In all cases where an offender is convicted of a sex offense when the offender was 21 years of age or older and the victim was 6 years of age or less at the time the offense was committed, the defendant shall be sentenced to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole.

Furthermore, note that this statute is likely partially unconstitutional under the Supreme Court’s decision in Graham v. Florida. Specifically, Graham held that the Eighth Amendment prohibits the imposition of a life without parole sentence on a juvenile offender who did not commit homicide. See Graham v. Florida, 560 U.S. 48 (2010), as modified (July 6, 2010). As such, any offender who is under 18 years old would likely not be subject to life imprisonment without the chance for parole.

Rape and Sodomy in the Second Degree and Sexual Abuse of a Child:

These crimes are Class B felonies, which are punishable by both imprisonment and the imposition of a fine, in the following manner:

  • An offender shall be imprisoned for not more than 20 years or less than 2 years.
    • However, when a firearm or deadly weapon is used or attempted to be used in the commission of the felony, the minimum sentence is 10 years.
    • Additionally, where the felony consists of a “sex offense involving a child,” the minimum sentence is also 10 years.
  • An offender is also subject to a judicially-determined fine, in an amount not exceeding $30,000

 

Sexual Abuse in the Second Degree:

This crime is a Class A misdemeanor, which are punishable by both imprisonment and the imposition of a fine, in the following manner:

Sexual abuse in the second degree is a Class A misdemeanor, which is punishable by both imprisonment and the imposition of a fine, in the following manner:

  • An offender shall be imprisoned for not more than 1 year.
  • An offender is also subject to a judicially-determined fine, in an amount not exceeding $6,000

However, if the sexual abuse in the second degree in question consists of a second or subsequent offense within one year of another sexual offense, the offense is a Class C felony. A Class C felony is punishable by both imprisonment and the imposition of a fine, in the following manner:

  • An offender shall be imprisoned for not more than 10 years or less than 1 year and 1 day.
    • However, when a firearm or deadly weapon is used or attempted to be used in the commission of the felony, the minimum sentence is 10 years.
  • An offender is also subject to a judicially-determined fine, in an amount not exceeding $15,000

Anything else I should know?

The following definitions are relevant, and apply, to this crime:

  • Sexual Contact: Any touching of the sexual or other intimate parts of a person not married to the actor, done for the purpose of gratifying the sexual desire of either party.
  • Deviate Sexual Intercourse: any act of sexual gratification between persons not married to each other involving the sex organs of one person and the mouth or anus of another.
  • Sexual Intercourse: is defined to refer to the phrase’s “ordinary meaning” including any penetration, however slight, emission is not required.

Statutory Citation(s):

Ala. Code §§ 13A-6-61, 13A-6-62, 13A-6-63, 13A-6-64, 13A-6-67, and 13A-6-69.1









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