What does a fourth degree crime mean?

ยง 177
Sexual assault; sexual coercion; rape

(1) Anyone who undertakes sexual acts on this person against the recognizable will of another person or has them performed by him or who appoints this person to perform or tolerate sexual acts on or by a third party shall be punished with imprisonment from six months to five years.

(2) Anyone who undertakes sexual acts on another person or has them carried out by him or who appoints this person to carry out or tolerate sexual acts on or by a third party shall also be punished if

1. the perpetrator takes advantage of the fact that the person is unable to form or express an opposing will,
2. the perpetrator takes advantage of the fact that the person is significantly restricted in the formation or expression of will due to their physical or psychological condition, unless he has assured himself of the consent of this person,
3. the perpetrator takes advantage of an element of surprise
4. the perpetrator exploits a situation in which the victim is threatened with a sensitive evil in the event of resistance, or
5. the perpetrator has compelled the person to undertake or tolerate the sexual act by threatening a sensitive evil.

(3) The attempt is punishable.

(4) A prison sentence of not less than one year is to be recognized if the inability to form or express a will is due to an illness or disability of the victim.

(5) A custodial sentence of not less than one year is to be recognized if the perpetrator

1. uses violence against the victim,
2. threatens the victim with current danger to life or limb or
3. takes advantage of a situation in which the victim is exposed to the actions of the perpetrator without protection.

(6) 1In particularly serious cases, imprisonment for less than two years can be recognized. 2A particularly severe case is usually present if

1. the perpetrator has sexual intercourse with the victim or has it carried out or carries out similar sexual acts on the victim or has them carried out, which particularly humiliate the victim, in particular if they are associated with penetration into the body (rape), or
2. the act is committed jointly by several people.

(7) A prison sentence of not less than three years is to be recognized if the perpetrator

1. carries a weapon or other dangerous tool,
2. otherwise has a tool or means with him to prevent or overcome the resistance of another person through violence or the threat of violence, or
3. puts the victim at risk of serious damage to health.

(8) A custodial sentence of not less than five years is to be recognized if the perpetrator

1. used a weapon or other dangerous tool in the act or
2. The victim
a) severely physically abused in the act or
b) by the act in danger of death.

(9) In less serious cases of paragraphs 1 and 2, imprisonment of three months to three years is imposed, in less serious cases of paragraphs 4 and 5 imprisonment of six months to ten years, in less serious cases of paragraphs 7 and 8 can be seen on imprisonment from one year to ten years.

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Version based on the Fiftieth Act to Amend the Criminal Code - Improvement of the Protection of Sexual Self-Determination from November 4th, 2016 (Federal Law Gazette I p. 2460), entered into force on November 10th, 2016 Explanation of the law available

Previous legislative versions

Change overview
Come into effectAmending lawExecutionReference
10.11.2016 Fiftieth Law Amending the Criminal Code - Improving the Protection of Sexual Self-Determination04.11.2016Federal Law Gazette I p. 2460