Any form of unwanted sexual contact can be considered sexual assault. This is also applicable for a victim who is coerced or forced into unwanted sexual contact and victims who are incapacitated such as drunk or under the influence of drugs such as the date rape pill. It is also applicable to anyone who is unable to mentally comprehend the nature of sex acts, such as the mentally disabled. Generally speaking, sexual assault is the umbrella term for various acts if sexual misconduct such as unwanted touching or groping, to rape.
Sexual assault extends not only to strangers, but to friends, those already in a sexual relationship and even husbands and wives. This means that any form of unwanted sexual contact, regardless of the relationship, may be considered sexual assault. Penalties are also compounded and far worse when children are involved.
Even a mere accusation of sexual assault can lead to issues for the accused. A defendant may need to face the court of public opinion including family members, friends and the general community who may try to stigmatize anyone going through a sexual assault trial. One of the best way to avoid such stigmas is to protect your reputation by hiring a strong criminal defense team to fight for you, maximizing the potential of being proven innocent of the charges.
If convicted, all of the assumptions about you will be assumed to be true, and you will face severe penalties including a possible lengthy prison sentence and additional long-term consequences including restrictions on future jobs and even possibly where you are allowed to live.
Source: findlaw.com, "Sexual Assault Overview," Accessed Feb. 28, 2017