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Sexual Abuse, First Degree in Alabama

The Crime of Sexual Abuse In The First Degree in Alabama

A person commits the crime of sexual abuse in the first degree if he/she subjects to sexual contact, another person who is incapable of consent by reason of being physically helpless or mentally incapacitated. 

Sexual contact means any touching of the sexual or other intimate parts of a person done for the purpose of gratifying the sexual desire of either party. 

Physically helpless means that a person is unconscious or, for any other reason, is physically unable to communicate unwillingness to an act.

Mentally incapacitated means that a person is rendered 
temporarily incapable of appraising or controlling his/her conduct owing to the influence of a narcotic or intoxicating substance administered to him/her without his/her consent or
to any other incapacitating act committed upon him/her without his/her consent.

Consent is no defense to a prosecution for this offense.


If someone 19 years old or older subjects another person to sexual contact, who is less than 16 years old but more than 12 years old, the crime is a class A misdemeanor with a punishment of up to one (1) year and a fine up to $6,000.00.

If an offender commits a subsequent sexual offense within one year, the sentence is no less than one year, one day, and no more than 10 years of incarceration.

Sex Abuse, First Degree, is a sex crime under Alabama law, and a person convicted of this crime is subject to Alabama's Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA). Anyone who is convicted of a crime that falls under this act must comply with a specific set of rules pertaining to convicted sex offenders, and failure to do so can result in additional criminal charges.


Defenses for sexual abuse in the first degree vary with the specifics of each case. While there is no "one-size-fits-all defense," your lawyer will examine several things to determine the best way to defend you. The first thing to be considered is whether or not there was or was not sexual contact. For example, if a grandfather were to apply ointment to a child's privates, his lawyer would probably argue that that was for medicinal purposes and was not meant as any kind of sexual contact, and was not done for the purpose of gratifying anyone's sexual desire. The lawyer would also look to the different elements, such as physically helpless or mentally incapacitated, to see if the complaining witness fits those definitions. There are always other issues, such as the credibility of the people making the claims and whether or not their testimony has been influenced or tainted in some way. Other approaches may include trying to suppress a statement made by the person accused or other evidence if it was improperly obtained.

These are issues that you would need to do is discuss with your lawyer.

Of course, if you have been charged in Huntsville or Madison County, Alabama, and you'd like our help, contact us here:

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