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Sexual Imposition Defense

We have a proven track record of success in handling over 15,000 criminal cases and consistently awarded as one of Ohio’s top criminal defense firms. We are highly experienced sexual imposition defense lawyers. Experience matters when dealing with these cases, which prosecutors and judges handle differently on a case by case basis. We know what to expect and what to do to get the best result possible.

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Columbus Sexual Imposition Defense Lawyers

Columbus Defense Attorneys Helping Clients Facing Life-Changing Accusations of Sexual Imposition

Sexual imposition is a misdemeanor-level Ohio sex offense that criminalizes unwanted “sexual contact” when the contact is coerced, offensive, and/or the victim cannot appraise the nature of the situation. There are five categories of sexual imposition in Ohio, and it is often a lesser included offense of certain felony-level Ohio sex crimes such as rape, sexual battery, and unlawful sexual conduct with a minor (statutory rape). Ohio’s sexual imposition statute is unique, however, in that it explicitly prohibits conviction on the victim’s testimony alone. Instead, Columbus prosecutors must support an Ohio sexual imposition charge with additional, admissible evidence sufficient to prove each element of the offense.

Columbus Sexual Imposition Defense Lawyers Ready to Hear Your Side of the Story

Columbus criminal defense attorney Brian Joslyn and his team of experienced Ohio sex crimes defense attorneys understand that sex crimes defendants are often considered “guilty until proven innocent.” At the Joslyn Law Firm, we know that even a minor Ohio sex offense conviction can have life-changing consequences. From designation as an Ohio sex offender to loss of your job and prison time, defendants should never take sexual imposition charges lightly. If you’ve been accused of sexual imposition under Ohio Code Section 2907.06, contact the Joslyn Law Firm’s experienced sexual imposition criminal defense lawyers online or at (614) 444-1900 for your free, confidential defense consultation.  

Columbus Information Center for Sexual Imposition Charges

Ohio sexual imposition, while only a misdemeanor, is still a sex crime. Sexual offenders face serious direct and collateral penalties associated with an Ohio sex crimes’ conviction, including loss of child custody, jobs, scholarships, and professional licenses. It is legal to discriminate against sex offenders in Ohio, and a lifetime of collateral consequences may be more serious than the direct punishment for sexual imposition itself. Consult the Joslyn Law Firm’s Columbus Information Center for Sexual Imposition Charges (Ohio Code Section 2907.06) to learn more about the criminal elements, penalties, and defenses to sexual imposition charges in Columbus. For questions about a specific case, consult an experienced Columbus sexual imposition defense attorney at the Joslyn Law Firm directly.

  1. Defining the Crime of Sexual Imposition in Ohio
  2. The Criminal Elements and Five Types of Sexual Imposition in Ohio
  3. Distinguishing Sexual Imposition from Gross Sexual Imposition
  4. Columbus Sexual Imposition Investigations & Common Evidence Offered in Columbus Sexual Imposition Cases
  5. Special Considerations for Child Victims of Sexual Imposition and Related Crimes
  6. Possible Direct Penalties of an Ohio Sexual Imposition Conviction
  7. The Indirect Penalties of an Ohio Sexual Imposition Conviction
  8. Common Defenses to Columbus Sexual Imposition Charges
  9. Columbus Sexual Imposition (Ohio Code Section 2907.06) FAQs
  10. Columbus Sexual Imposition Resources

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1.  Defining the Crime of Sexual Imposition in Ohio 

“Sexual imposition,” as criminalized by Ohio Code § 2907.06, is the crime of having or causing another to have nonconsensual “sexual contact” with another. Nonconsensual sexual contact includes direct objection to the contact as offensive or implied non-consent by virtue of the victim’s age, diminished mental capacity, or the offender’s undue influence over the victim. Unlike rape, sexual battery, and unlawful sexual conduct with a minor, which require the parties to engage in some type of sexual intercourse, Ohio Code § 2907.06 criminalizes any and all “sexual contact,” not just sexual conduct (sex). In Columbus, sexual imposition is the legal term for sexual molestation, and gross sexual imposition includes child molestation.

Sexual contact is defined as touching any person’s “egregious zone” for sexual arousal or gratification. The statute includes a non-exclusive list of body parts that qualify as egregious zones under Ohio law:

  • thighs
  • genitals
  • female breasts
  • pubic region
  • butt 

However, Ohio law leaves the door open to prosecute unlawful sexual contact with any medically recognized egregious zone for the purpose of sexual gratification. These unlisted zones may include:

  • neck
  • inner wrists
  • earlobe
  • feet
  • scalp
  • back of the knee 

The purpose of the contact is central to defining whether the touching qualifies as sexual imposition in Ohio. If the unlawful contact is made in a zone that can produce arousal or a sexual response in either party, it may be punishable as sexual imposition in Ohio. The contact may be made with any body part or item. 


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2.  The Criminal Elements and Five Types of Sexual Imposition in Ohio

Ohio prosecutors have the burden of proving every element of sexual imposition under Ohio Code § 2907.06 beyond a reasonable doubt. Further, Ohio Code § 2907.06 prohibits prosecutors for using solely “the victim’s testimony unsupported by other evidence” to prove these elements. Admissible evidence of each of the following elements must be submitted to prove sexual imposition in Ohio: 

  • The offender and victim were not married (excluding legally separated couples or those with pending divorce, annulment, or separation proceedings),
  • The offender either had sexual contact with the victim or caused the victim to have sexual contact with the offender and/or a third-person,
  • The contact falls under the definition of sexual contact in Ohio, and
  • The contact falls under one of the following five categories of Ohio sexual imposition

The five categories of sexual contact that qualify as criminal sexual imposition in Columbus are as follows:

  1. The offender knows, should have known, or with reasonable diligence could have known that the contact was offensive to the victim
  2. The offender knows the victim cannot fully understand the sexual nature of the contact due to impairment, i.e., the victim is drunk, has a mental disability, or the offender knows the victim cannot stop/control the offender or third-person’s touch, i.e., the victim could not successfully defend herself/himself from the unwanted contact, and the offender knows this
  3. The victim is unaware of the sexual contact, i.e., is unconscious, asleep, or the touching is secretive 
  4. The victim is under the age of 16 and over the age of 13, and the offender is over 18 and more than four years older than the victim. This is a strict liability crime as the defendant does not need to know the victim’s age
  5. The offender is a mental health professional, the victim is his/her client, and the offender falsely represents that the sexual contact is necessary to treat a mental health disorder 

Unless all the qualifying elements of the offense are present, it is not sexual imposition in Ohio but may still be punishable as another Ohio sex crime. 


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3.  Distinguishing Sexual Imposition from Gross Sexual Imposition

Sexual imposition and gross sexual imposition are different crimes in Ohio with overlapping elements. Sexual imposition, a misdemeanor, is criminalized by Ohio Code § 2907.06, and gross sexual imposition, a felony, is criminalized by Ohio Code § 2907.05.  Gross sexual imposition has the same base elements of sexual imposition but lists five different (more severe) categories of conduct the sexual contact must fall under to qualify as gross sexual imposition:

  1. The offender compels the sexual contact by force or threat of force, i.e., grabbing the victim and forcing her hand to touch the offender or a third person, holding the victim down while the offender touches him/her, or threatening harm if the victim does not make/allow the sexual contact
  2. The offender administers a drug or intoxicating drink to the victim, whether forcefully or secretly, to prevent his/her resistance to the sexual contact
  3. The offender knows the victim’s judgment and/or control is impaired by a legal drug for the purpose of medical or dental treatment
  4. The victim is less than 13 years old. This is a strict liability crime. The offender need not know the victim’s age.
  5. The offender knows, should know, or had a reason to know that the victim’s ability to consent to or resist the sexual contact was substantially impaired due to advanced age or a physical or mental condition 

In addition, gross sexual imposition separately criminalizes any person from knowingly/intentionally touching the genitalia of a child (less than 12 years old) under their clothing for any improper purpose, including to:

  • abuse
  • harass
  • degrade
  • humiliate
  • injure
  • sexually arouse or gratify 

This is the Ohio provision criminalizing child molestation, and sexual imposition under § 2907.06 is often a lesser included offense of gross sexual imposition.


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4.  Columbus Sexual Imposition Investigations & Common Evidence Offered in Columbus Sexual Imposition Cases

Columbus had dedicated sexual assault investigators and prosecutors called upon to handle sexual assault investigations. Sexual imposition and gross sexual imposition are often lesser included offenses of more serious sex crimes such as rape, sexual battery, and statutory rape. If prosecutors are unable to prove the essential elements of rape at trial, a jury may still find the defendant guilty of a lesser included offense, such as sexual battery or gross sexual imposition. Sexual assault prosecutors may also drop felonious sex crimes charges in exchange for a plea of guilty to the lesser included offense of sexual imposition. As a misdemeanor, pleading guilty to sexual imposition charges alone carries far less direct and collateral consequences than a Columbus felony sex crimes conviction. 

For those charged only with sexual imposition under § 2907.06, prosecutors may lack the DNA evidence common in rape and sexual battery cases. However, sexual penetration is not necessary for sexual imposition charges and evidence of inappropriate sexual contact is often lacking. Ohio does not permit a victim’s testimony alone to form the basis of a sexual imposition conviction, and defendants are not required to testify in criminal prosecutions due to the Fifth Amendment’s protection against self-incrimination. The gross sexual imposition statute further prevents the parties from using certain evidence in sexual imposition cases such as:

  • a polygraph test of the victim
  • evidence that the victim failed to physically resist the contact
  • evidence of the parties sexual history and/or sexual reputation

This limits the type of evidence both parties may use to prosecute and defend against sexual imposition charges. The most common evidence utilized to corroborate a victim’s testimony in sexual imposition prosecutions includes:

  • testimony of other witnesses to the act
  • testimony of the victim’s behavior after the fact so long as it falls within a hearsay exception, i.e., testimony from teachers that the victim became quieter and acted depressed in the days following the incident
  • evidence of harm, such as bruising, to the victim’s egregious zones
  • pictures and videos of sexual imposition (typically incident to the production of pornography)
  • text messages, emails, and chats corroborating the victim’s testimony 

To clarify, prosecutors may use the victim’s testimony as the basis to bring Columbus sexual imposition charges. They simply cannot use his/her testimony alone to obtain a conviction. Additional, admissible evidence must be presented to corroborate pieces of the victim’s testimony and lend to his/her overall credibility. Even if the victim’s testimony is the only evidence available to prove one element of the crime, it’s admissible to do so provided other evidence is used to support a conviction. Speak with an experienced Columbus sexual imposition defense lawyer today to discuss what type of evidence is permissible in Ohio sexual imposition cases.


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5.  Special Considerations for Child Victims of Sexual Imposition and Related Crimes

The Ohio rape and gross sexual imposition statutes contain provisions central to protecting the emotional interest of Columbus sexual assault victims, especially children. These evidentiary provisions are not contained within the sexual imposition statute (§ 2907.06), but many Columbus judges voluntarily follow the guidelines set forth in the gross sexual imposition statute for all sex crimes prosecutions. The following are some of the special considerations given to victims and/or child victims of Ohio sex crimes:

  • Victims need not prove physical resistance as an element of sexual imposition
  • Evidence of the victim’s sexual reputation, past sexual history, and sexual activity is only admissible for limited purposes, such as proving the origin of DNA evidence or if it goes to the parties’ past relationship
  • Any proposed admission of the above evidence must be approved by the judge during a private evidentiary hearing
  • Appointment of special victim’s counsel, typically a guardian ad litem for child victims, to represent only the victim’s best interest during trial and certain evidentiary proceedings
  • Permitting child victims to testify via closed-circuit camera so as to avoid confrontation with the victim
  • Handling any preliminary hearings involving the victim in chambers, i.e., the judge’s private office, or another child-friendly location so as to avoid the pressures of the courtroom
  • Permitting the use of trained therapy animals or other comforts during the child victim’s testimony

Many of these concessions are ordered by the judge during sexual imposition cases, but some are required by statute for certain prosecutions. Others, such as permitting the victim to testify via closed-circuit television, may require the defendant to waive his/her Sixth Amendment right to confrontation. An experienced Columbus sexual imposition defense attorney will know how to best manage sexual imposition cases with child victims in a way that balances the victim’s rights, the defendant’s rights, and makes the best impression on the court.


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6.  Possible Direct Penalties of a Conviction that Our Columbus Sexual Imposition Attorneys Work to Prevent 

Sexual imposition under Ohio Code § 2907.06 is punishable as a misdemeanor in the third degree unless an applicable sentencing enhancement is applied. Third-degree misdemeanors are punishable by not more than 60 days imprisonment and/or a fine up to $500. If the offender has previously been convicted of a qualifying Ohio sex offense, then sexual imposition is a misdemeanor in the first degree. First-degree misdemeanors are punishable by not more than 180 days (6 months) imprisonment and/or a fine of $1,000. However, if the offender has three or more previous Ohio sex offense convictions, the judge may impose a sentence of up to a year imprisonment.

In addition to possible imprisonment and financial penalties, those convicted of sexual imposition in Columbus may be sentenced to:

  • Pay restitution (direct compensation) to the victim for expenses incurred due to the sexual imposition, i.e., medical bills, counseling services, and other direct costs
  • Probation/community control
  • Community service
  • Mandatory sex offender counseling and/or rehabilitation
  • A period on the Ohio Sex Offender Registry
  • Designation as a child sex offender if applicable
  • Payment of investigation and court costs 

Gross sexual imposition is a felony in Ohio, and the penalties for the same are severe. Consult the Joslyn Law Firm’s experienced gross sexual imposition and child molestation defense lawyers for more information about the direct and collateral penalties for gross sexual imposition and related sex crimes in Columbus.


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7.  The Indirect Penalties of an Ohio Sexual Imposition Conviction 

Sexual imposition is a sexually oriented offense, as defined by Ohio’s sexual predator code. As such, those convicted of sexual imposition under § 2907.06 are considered Tier I sex offenders in Ohio. Tier I sex offenders are required to register on the Ohio Sexual Offender Registry. The collateral consequences of registration are serious and often include the following severe restrictions:

  • Residency restrictions – neighborhood limitations and inability to live within a certain range of a school zone
  • Work/employment restrictions – inability to work with or near children, in or near a school zone, or in public service positions such as police officers, firefighters, or teachers
  • Loss or inability to obtain professional licenses such as teaching, law, or medical licenses
  • Public access to personal information such as your name, offense, and address
  • Mandatory law enforcement check-ins and registration of private information such as phone numbers, screen names, website and game handles, and email
  • Difficulty obtaining housing and financing
  • Difficulty attending college and prohibition from certain college campuses
  • Family law reproductions such as loss of child custody and inability to foster/adopt
  • International and interstate travel restrictions 

It’s often the indirect penalties of a sexual imposition conviction that overwhelm Columbus sexual offenders. The only way to avoid the direct and collateral consequences of a sexual imposition conviction is to avoid a conviction altogether. There is no exception to registration on the Ohio sexual offender registry.


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8.  Common Defenses Presented by Columbus Sexual Imposition Lawyers

Experienced Columbus sexual imposition defense lawyers will raise all available procedural, constitutional, evidentiary, and affirmative defenses applicable to Ohio sexual imposition charges. Some defenses, such as constitutional and evidentiary defenses, are available regardless of whether the evidence otherwise supports a guilty verdict. More commonly, Columbus sex crimes defense attorneys will attack the weakest element of the prosecution’s sexual imposition case. The following common defenses to sexual imposition charges in Ohio are raised to prove the defendant cannot be found guilty under the Ohio sexual impositions statute:

  • Marriage: This is a complete defense to sexual imposition charges provided the marriage is valid (the parties are over 17/18), and they are not legally separated or in the proceeding of a divorce/annulment.
  • Lack of Knowledge/Involuntary Movement: For most sexual imposition charges, the defendant’s actions must be knowing and voluntary. He or she must be aware that the contact is offensive (unwanted) or know the victim cannot give informed consent to the same. Knowledge is often subjective, and prosecutors must prove the same based on the circumstances surrounding the offense. The contact must also be intentional for bringing criminal sexual imposition charges. Accidentally brushing someone’s neck or chest in a crowd does not rise to the level of sexual imposition in Ohio.
  • Lack of Corroborating Evidence: Written into the Ohio sexual imposition statute is the caveat that all victim testimony must be corroborated by other admissible evidence. This may include additional witness testimony, evidence of physical contact (bruising, DNA), a confession, or photographic/video evidence. Defendants cannot be convicted of sexual imposition charges in pure “he said/she said” case.
  • Contact was Non-Sexual: Ohio specifically defines the type of contact that qualifies as “sexual.” A simple kiss or brush of the shoulder typically doesn’t qualify as sexual imposition. While unwanted touching may be prosecuted as battery or in civil court, the contact must be “sexual contact” to sustain Columbus sexual imposition charges. Just because the victim finds unwanted contact offensive does not mean it is sexual imposition in Ohio. 

Presenting a strong defense during investigation, prosecution, and/or trial may be enough to prevent prosecutors from filing sexual imposition charges or convincing them to drop the same. 


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9.  Columbus Sexual Imposition (Ohio Code Section 2907.06) FAQs

The following are among the most common questions our experienced Columbus sex assault defense lawyers are asked about Ohio sexual imposition charges.

 1. What is sexual imposition in Ohio?

 Sexual imposition is an Ohio sex offense punishable as a first-degree misdemeanor often used to prosecute cases of sexual molestation in Columbus. Sexual imposition charges are filed when a victim alleges he/she was touched or forced to touch another in a sexually egregious zone for purposes of sexual arousal when he/she was underage or otherwise unable to give informed consent to the contact.

 2. What does GSI mean in Ohio court?

Gross sexual imposition (“GSI”) is a different crime than sexual imposition despite similarities between the two offenses. GSI is charged in cases of child molestation or when the contact was forced by actual or threatened harm. GSI is a felony, not a misdemeanor in Ohio. Sexual imposition is often a lesser included offense of GSI in Columbus.

 3. What is the difference between sexual imposition and gross sexual imposition?

It is almost always necessary to commit the crime of sexual imposition under Ohio Code Section 2907.06 to be found guilty of gross sexual imposition. Instead of using sentencing enhancements to criminalize more egregious forms of sexual imposition, gross sexual imposition is a different felony-level offense in Ohio. While sexual imposition criminalizes offensive sexual contact between adults, sexual contact between adults and certain minors, and having sexual contact with an impaired or unwitting victim, GSI under Ohio Code Section 2907.05 essentially criminalizes sexual molestation against helpless victims, i.e., children, the elderly, the ill, the physically weak, and when the contact is physically forced. GSI also separately criminalizes child sexual molestation. GSI is always a felony in Ohio, while sexual imposition is a misdemeanor.

4. What is the penalty for gross sexual imposition in Ohio?

GSI is always a felony in Ohio. It is a felony of the third or fourth degree depending on the facts of the case with certain mandatory minimum prison sentences when the victim is a child. The mandatory minimum is typically about 2.5 years for child GSI offenders, but the offender’s sentence for GSI can range anywhere from 6 months to 5 years imprisonment and thousands of dollars in fines. 

5. Does a sexual imposition conviction require sex offender registration?

Yes. Those convicted of sexual imposition in Ohio are Tier I sex offenders and must register on the Ohio sex offender registry for a period of years. Those convicted of GSI when the victim is not a child are considered Tier II sex offenders, and those convicted of GSI against a child victim are often Tier III sex offenders.

6. Are there ways to defend against sexual imposition charges?

Yes. The sexual imposition statute only criminalizes certain knowing forms of “sexual contact,” as specifically defined by the Ohio Code. Marriage, lack of knowledge, and unintentional contact are all defenses to sexual imposition in Ohio. Further, a lack of corroborating evidence is also a complete defense to Ohio sexual imposition charges under Section 2907.06.

7. Should I plead guilty to sexual imposition charges?

It depends. Sexual imposition is often a lesser included misdemeanor offense to certain serious felonious sex crimes such as rape, sexual battery, statutory rape, and GSI. It may be beneficial to plead guilty to misdemeanor sexual imposition charges if prosecutors are offering to drop serious felony charges in exchange. However, never plead guilty before discussing your case with an experienced Columbus sex crimes defense attorney and having him/her review the evidence and any plea deal offered. If you have a complete defense to the charges against you or are innocent thereof, you should not plead guilty to a sex crime in Ohio.

 8. How can a sexual imposition defense lawyer help? 

Those charged with sexual imposition in Ohio are never required to speak with police officers or give incriminating testimony, and this lack of testimony cannot be used against them in court. Defendants without an experienced Columbus sexual imposition defense attorney often think speaking to police will help their case but may unwittingly provide the small piece of corroborating evidence necessary to bring sexual imposition charges. A Columbus sex crimes defense lawyer can review the facts of your case and raise any applicable defenses to sexual imposition charges in Ohio. He or she may also be able to negotiate a favorable plea deal with Columbus prosecutors.


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10. Columbus Sexual Imposition Resources

Many Ohio victims of sexual imposition were children at the time of the offense and may be dealing with the effects of sexual trauma years later. Unfortunately, family members and family friends are often the perpetrators of sexual imposition. Sexual imposition may be unwitting, unintentionally, or simply occur due to a misunderstanding between the parties. Regardless, both victims of sexual imposition and those charged with sexual imposition in Ohio shouldn’t be afraid to seek professional help. The following resources are available for those struggling to overcome sexual molestation and sexual molestation charges in Columbus:


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Contact a Columbus Sexual Imposition Attorney Right Away

Those facing Columbus sexual imposition or gross sexual imposition charges should contact the Joslyn Law Firm for a free sexual imposition defense consultation online or by calling 614-444-1900.

The dedicated Columbus sex crimes defense lawyers at the Joslyn Law Firm will zealously and professionally protect the rights of those accused of sexual imposition in Ohio. Contact our Columbus office online or by calling 614-444-1900 today for a free, confidential sex crimes defense consultation.


  • Brian Joslyn was named Best Lawyer in 2019 by Birdeye.
  • Columbus CEO magazine has yearly selections for the best attorneys in Columbus Ohio. Brian Joslyn has been identified as one of the most highly skilled attorneys across central Ohio.
  • Brian Joslyn has earned recognition for community leadership by Lawyer LegionLawyer Legion
  • Preeminent Attorney Award. Peer rated for highest level of professional exellence.
  • The Better Business Bureau (BBB), founded in 1912, is a private, nonprofit organization whose self-described mission is to focus on advancing marketplace trust.

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