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Sexual Imposition Laws in Ohio

Updated: April 18, 2024
Nicholas G. Gounaris
By Nicholas G. Gounaris

Nicholas G. Gounaris is a skilled trial lawyer and founding partner of Gounaris Abboud law firm. He provides clients of the firm with competent legal representation and focuses his law practice in the areas of DUI Defense, Criminal Defense, Family Law Issues, Federal Criminal Law and Personal Injury cases.

sexual imposition ohio

The crime of sexual imposition, as defined by Ohio state law, can occur in a variety of scenarios.

Some examples of acts that could fall under the definition of this offense include drugging someone’s drink to eliminate their ability to resist sexual contact or initiating sexual contact while someone is under the influence of surgical anesthesia.

Although this crime typically carries misdemeanor charges, gross sexual imposition is a felony in most cases. Either way, a conviction can have a significantly negative effect on your life.

You face prison time, fines, and the requirement to register as a sex offender. Fortunately, the law typically requires evidence beyond a victim’s accusation to get a conviction.

If you are facing charges for this charge, contact an Ohio sex crimes lawyer as soon as possible for help.

What Is Sexual Imposition in Ohio?

The crimes of sexual imposition and gross sexual imposition, as defined by Ohio law, can be confusing and difficult to understand.

The basis of either charge is sexual contact, which the statute defines as, “any touching of an erogenous zone of another, including without limitation the thigh, genitals, buttock, pubic region, or, if the person is a female, a breast, for the purpose of sexually arousing or gratifying either person.”

Additionally, for either charge, the State must show that

  • Sexual contact occurred with someone who is not the offender’s spouse;
  • The offender caused someone else (non-spouse) to have sexual contact with the offender; or
  • The offender caused two or more other people to have sexual contact.

Whether the person is charged with sexual imposition or gross sexual imposition depends on the extent of the contact and the egregiousness of the conduct.

Sexual Imposition

A person can be charged with sexual imposition in the following scenarios:

  1. The offender knows that the sexual contact is offensive to the other person;
  2. The offender knows that the other person’s judgment or ability is significantly impaired;
  3. The offender knows that the other person is unaware that sexual contact is occurring;
  4. The other person is 13 to 15 years old, whether or not the offender knows the age of the person, and the offender is at least age 18 and four or more years older than the victim; or
  5. The offender is a mental health professional, the other person is a mental health client or patient of the offender, and the offender induces the other person to submit by falsely representing that the sexual contact is necessary for mental health treatment purposes.

A first offense of sexual imposition is a third-degree misdemeanor. Subsequent offenses are first-degree misdemeanors.

Gross Sexual Imposition

The crime of gross sexual imposition, occurs in the following scenarios:

  1. The offender purposely compels the other person to submit by force or threat of force;
  2. The offender impairs the other person with drugs, controlled substances, or intoxicants using deception, threat, force, or deception;
  3. The offender knows that the other person is impaired by intoxicants, including those used for medical or dental treatment;
  4. The other person is less than 13 year old; or
  5. The other person has a mental or physical impairment or cannot resist due to advanced age.

An offender may also face a gross sexual imposition charge for knowingly touching the genitalia of anyone less than 12 years old “with an intent to abuse, humiliate, harass, degrade, or arouse or gratify the sexual desire of any person.”

What Are the Penalties for Ohio Sexual Imposition?

One of the most common questions we hear from our clients is, is sexual imposition a felony in Ohio?

In most cases, sexual imposition carries a misdemeanor charge. However, gross sexual imposition is automatically either a third- or fourth-degree felony.

Depending on the nature of the charges, a conviction may carry mandatory prison time. Even if you aren’t sentenced to time behind bars, you face an equivalent term of supervised probation.

You could face a third-degree felony charge if:

  • The accuser was under age 13 when sexual contact occurred, or
  • The offender used an intoxicant to prevent the accuser from resisting sexual contact.

Upon conviction for a third-degree felony, you could face from one to five years in prison. A fourth-degree felony Ohio conviction qualifies for a potential of six to 18 months behind bars or on probation. Depending on the nature of the charges, you could also face a monetary fine of up to $10,000.

What Does It Mean If I Am Charged with Sexual Imposition?

In addition to fines and potential prison time, you must register as a sex offender. The duration of registration requirements ranges from 10 years to life, with periodic in-person verification requirements. You will also have a permanent criminal record.

A sex crimes conviction could cost you your reputation, your job, your apartment, and the custody of your children.

The prosecutor might offer you a plea agreement and waive jail or prison time in exchange for your guilty plea. Even if you don’t have to spend time behind bars, however, the significant implications of sex offender registry and a permanent sex crime record could haunt you for the rest of your life.

A criminal defense attorney can evaluate the details of your case and explain your options.

We Stand Ready to Defend You Against Sexual Imposition Charges

The criminal defense attorneys of Gounaris Abboud, LPA, understand that bad things can happen to good people. We will help you evaluate all potential defense strategy options.

Before you make any decisions that could affect your future, talk to one of our experienced Ohio criminal defense lawyers. Call us at 937-222-1515 now to schedule a free case evaluation or contact us online for help.

Available 24/7 & Obligation-Free