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NY Penal Law § 130.52: Forcible Touching

NY Penal Law § 130.52: Forcible Touching

Forcible touching is described in the New York Penal Code § 130.52 as purposefully touching the sexual or intimate parts of someone else’s body for no reason or in order to get personal sexual gratification. Touching can entail squeezing, grabbing, or pinching. Although it is serious, it is not a felony like the majority of the other sex crime. This offence is a class A misdemeanor. While forcible touching can occur in crowded public areas such as on a crowded subway platform or at a nightclub, it can also take place in private residences.


Two Examples

  1. While riding in a crowded subway car, a man puts his fingers on a woman’s vagina through her clothing. That man could face prosecution for forcible touching as he did not get the consent of the woman to touch her.


  1. The 25 year old uncle of a 14 year old girl uses his penis to touch his niece’s vaginal area through her pants. A prosecutor could charge the man with forcible touching as a child of 14 years is too young to consent to sexual contact.


Offenses that are Related

Sexual abuse in the second degree: New York Penal Code § 130.60

Sexual misconduct: New York Penal Code § 130.20


Possible Defenses

As with most sex crimes there are a few solid defenses that could help your case. For example, if you can demonstrate that the touching was unintentional, then you can present a valid defense. Or, if you can demonstrate that the individual that you touched consented to the touching, in that case you also have a valid defense. These are two of several possible defenses that could work for you. Depending on the particular facts of your case, there could be other defense options such as mistaken identity or statute of limitations.


The Sentence

With forcible touching being a class A misdemeanor, the maximum jail sentence is up to one year. If you are a first time offender, you could potentially get a sentence that will not include any jail time, but only probation. If you are sentenced to probation, because forcible touching is both a misdemeanor and a sex crime, the probation term must be 6 years.


Additionally, if you are convicted of forcible touching and the alleged victim was youger than 18 years of age, you will be listed on the sex offender registry as mandated by New York correction law § 168, known as the Sex Offender Registration Act (SORA). What this means is that you will need to register your name, address and other personal information with law enforcement. You will be obligated to comply with the sex offender registration and verification for a minimum 20 years and possibly for the rest of your life.

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