Rape

Rape is the most serious sex offense that you may be convicted of. Rape involves forcing unwanted penetration or sexual intercourse on another person. Under 18 Pa.C.S. § 3121, rape includes not just physically forcing intercourse, but also forcing intercourse through threats or through drugging the victim. Engaging in intercourse with someone who is unconscious, mentally disabled, or otherwise unaware or unable to give consent may also constitute rape.

The penalties for rape will depend upon the age of the victim, the method used to force intercourse, whether injury was caused, and other factors specific to your case. In general, however, rape is going to be charged as a felony and you are going to spend time in jail if you are convicted. As such, it is important to speak with an experienced criminal defense lawyer to defend yourself when you have been accused of rape. The Pennsylvania criminal defense law firm of Lawrence R. Dworkin has successfully represented many clients accused of rape and we can put our long track record of legal expertise to work for you in your own rape case. Contact us today to learn how we can help.

Pennsylvania Laws in Rape

According to Pa.C.S. § 3121, a charge of rape may lead to life in prison or a 40-year prison sentence. The most serious penalties for rape are associated with the rape of a child under age 13, especially if that rape results in the child suffering bodily injury.

Individuals who impair the victim through the use of drugs or other substances that induce euphoria or memory loss are also subject to some of the most serious penalties, as they face an additional 10 years of incarceration and fine of $100,000 on top of the standard penalties for rape.

In any case, however, if you are found guilty of rape, you are going to face felony charges, jail time and permanent registration as a sex offender. These consequences can have a serious impact on your life and can ruin your relationships and career prospects.

Defending Yourself Against Rape Charges

Because of the life-changing consequences of rape charges, your best option will often be to defend yourself and avoid conviction for the charges. A number of possible defenses may be raised in rape cases depending on the situation. Some examples include:

  • Consent. If the victim was over the legal age, then consent to have intercourse is a defense to rape.
  • False accusations. People may be motivated to make false accusations of rape by jealousy, regret or anger. False accusations are often made in divorce or custody situations as part of a faulty and illegal strategy to gain an advantage in divorce court.
  • False memory. Sometimes, people really believe a rape occurred even if it did not. This is especially common in children who may be susceptible to suggestion.
  • Lack of evidence. If the prosecutor didn’t prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you raped someone, you can’t be found guilty.

These are just a few examples of some possible defenses to rape charges that you and your attorney may explore. The ability to raise a defense is going to depend on the circumstances, so you should always speak with a criminal defense lawyer about what the best course of action is given your situation and the evidence against you. To learn about how we can help you after you’ve been accused of rape, contact the Pennsylvania criminal defense law firm of Lawrence R. Dworkin today using our online form or via phone at 610-566-0610.

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