Forcible Touching: New York Penal Code § 130.52

According to New York Penal Code § 130.52, the legal definition of forcible touching is touching the intimate or sexual parts of another person to receive sexual satisfaction or, even, for no legitimate reason at all. The forcible touching can be grabbing, pinching or squeezing the private or sexual parts of another person. Forcible touching is a misdemeanor, Class A, and is not a felony like most other crimes of sex.

Forcible touching can take place in a private or public place. Private places could include residences or homes. Public places could include nightclubs, bus stops, trains, libraries, museums, shopping centers, etc.

Hypothetical Case

Suppose an adult man was sitting next to an adult woman on an airplane. Without warning or provocation, the man thrust his hand underneath the woman’s skirt and touched her vaginal area through her panties. The woman did not act in any way to seduce, consent or invite the man to touch her sexually. The man could be accused of forcible touching as the woman did not give consent to the man touching her intimately.

In a second case, suppose a woman was standing on a crowded subway platform. A man accidentally pressed against her, and the woman quickly turned to unzip the man’s pants, reached into his underwear to clench the man’s penis in her hands. This all happened so quickly, and the man was shocked by the woman’s sexually aggressive behavior. The woman could be charged with forcible touching as the man did not give consent to the behavior.

Possible Defenses

Presence of Consent. In both examples above, if it can be demonstrated that consent was given for the act, then forcible touching cannot be brought to bear. If consent is absent, then forcible touching may be the charge that the prosecuting attorney decides to pursue. The lack of consent is critical to a case of forcible touching and the ability of the prosecuting attorney to win a conviction for forcible touching.

Absence of intent. Another defensive tactic might be to provide evidence that the act was accidental and unintentional. If it can be demonstrated that the act did not have sexual intent and was accidental or circumstantial in nature, then the prosecuting attorney may be hard-pressed to build a case for forcible touching, especially if the intent to commit the act was absent. With intent missing from the equation, there is a chance that the charge of forcible touching will be dismissed.

Other lines of defense. Depending on the evidence and the circumstances, other lines of defense may also be viable. The two defense strategies given above are the most common.

Possible Sentence

Imprisonment. If a conviction for forcible touching is the decision at the end of the trial proceedings, the judge may sentence a person for up to one year in jail as it is a misdemeanor - Class A. Moreover, if the convicted individual has no prior record of criminal activity, then the sentence may not include any jail time, but only probation.

Probation. Forcible touching, as a Class A misdemeanor, carries a six year probationary term.

Registration as a sex offender. If the conviction of forcible touching involves a person who was less than 18 years of age, then registration as a sex offender for 20 years or more is required under section 168 or the Sex Offender Registration Act of the New York Correction Law. It is possible for some individuals who are convicted for forcible touching to be registered as sex offenders for the remainder of their lives.

NY Penal Code § 130.52: Forcible touching

To reiterate, a person may be charged with forcible touching if :

  1. One person touches the intimate or sexual parts of another person to receive sexual satisfaction or, even, for no viable reason at all without consent.
  2. One person grabs, pinches or squeezes the intimate or sexual parts of another person without consent.

Forcible touching is not a felony like most other crimes of sex; it is a misdemeanor, Class A. Forcible touching can take place in a public (for example: market places, public transit, libraries, museums, restaurants) or a private location (for example: place of residence, private party venue, private vehicle) .

Forcible Touching Attorney

An offense of forcible touching is a misdemeanor and is not considered as serious as other sex crimes, yet it can lead to to other charges. Moreover it can result in a person being registered as a sex offender. The stigma of being labeled as a sex offender has long-lasting repercussions. It is therefore imperative that you seek legal counsel to make sure that you take advantage of every option available to defend yourself against the charge of forcible touching.

If you are accused of committing the crime of forcible touching, it is critical that you seek the assistance of a reputable law firm that has a record of success in defending individuals accused of sex crimes. A successful defense against an accusation of forcible touching necessitates a keen understanding of the law, procedures, and defensive posturing.

Elliott Adler PC is a formidable attorney firm that has successfully defended clients accused of sex crimes in the state of New York, including accusations of forcible touching, assaulting a person sexually, using a controlled substance to facilitate a sex crime, raping a person, engaging in a criminal sexual act, committing sexual abuse, molesting a child, and committing other sex crimes.

We can be reached at (212) 785-1300 or http://www.newyorkcriminallawyer24-7.com to schedule a no-obligation, free legal consultative meeting to evaluate your case.

Related Offenses

For additional information, refer to the following sections of the New York Penal Code:

  1. Rape in the third degree: § 130.25
  2. Rape in the second degree: § 130.30
  3. Rape in the first degree: § 130.35
  4. Second degree sexual abuse: § 130.60
  5. Sexual misconduct: § 130.20