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Rape, Sexual Assault, Date Rape and Statutory Rape
Unwanted sex acts are generally regarded as rape. However, these criminal offenses are also commonly referred to as "sexual abuse" or "sexual assault." A wide range of activities may be included under these definitions. Statutory rape, for instance, is sexual activity with a person under the legal age of consent. Date rape is a nonlegal term for forcible sexual activity between people who know one another which occurs during a social engagement. Regardless of the circumstances, there are serious penalties for individuals found guilty of these sex crimes. Prosecutors and the police focus on sexual offenses, so if you or someone you know is accused of or arrested for a sex crime, you need to contact an attorney immediately. Contact Bauer Crider Pellegrino & Parry in Clearwater, FL, to speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney to discuss your situation.
Rape and Sexual Assault
Sexual assault is often considered forcible rape, but that is only one type of such an assault. Sexual assault in most states includes any type of unwanted physical contact with a sexual organ and may include aggressive, sexually suggestive statements. Sexual assault may also occur between persons of the same gender. The force used and the harm suffered may determine what crime is charged, as well as the penalties upon conviction. Under many states' laws, the penalties for sexual assault are severe and may include incarceration, significant fines, psychiatric treatment and paying restitution to the victim. In addition, a person convicted of sexual assault may be required to register as a sex offender, possibly for the rest of his or her life. In most states, you can be charged with first degree sexual assault or rape, sometimes called aggravated felonious sexual assault or gross sexual assault, if you physically forced sexual intercourse on another person, had sexual intercourse with someone who was unable to give legal consent or forced intercourse by threats of retaliation. You must not delay in hiring a knowledgeable attorney to interview prosecution witnesses, show alternative photographic line-ups, protect you during a live line-up and interview possible alibi witnesses.
Date rape is commonly defined as forcible sexual contact during a voluntary social engagement in which a person does not intend to engage in sexual activities and resists the contact. The fact that the engagement was voluntary and the parties were acquainted is not a defense. Nor is previous sexual contact between the parties a defense to date rape charges. The victim does not necessarily have to reject the advance or physically object to demonstrate lack of consent. Although laws vary by state, usually, a victim intoxicated by alcohol or drugs is incapable of giving legal consent. Additionally, date-rape drugs have become more common in the past decade. Some of the most frequently used drugs are rohypnol ("roofies"), gamma-hydroxybutyrate (GHB) and ketamine. Use of drugs makes an individual unable to give consent, lose consciousness and may even cause death. Date rape may be the most common form of rape that occurs, but it is also the most commonly unreported type of sexual assault.
Statutory rape depends on the ages of the participants. Even if consent is given, the law states that people under the age of consent are legally unable to consent; therefore, the legal effect is the same as if no consent had been given. The age of consent ranges from fourteen to eighteen, sixteen being the most common age. Many states do not actually use the term "statutory rape," but use terms such as "rape," "unlawful sexual penetration," "felonious sexual assault" or "unlawful sexual contact." Some states also consider the age difference between the two people, as well as their individual ages. State laws may change the age of consent or the penalty for sexual relations involving a person of authority, such as a teacher or a coach. The alleged victim or his or her parents often participate in bringing statutory rape charges, but often the state can bring charges, even against the protest of both the underage person and his or her parents. The punishment for statutory rape can be severe, followed by a stigma that follows the offender for the rest of his or her life.
Speak to a Criminal Defense Lawyer
The laws regarding sexual assault are complex and cannot be fully described here. If you have been charged with rape, sexual assault, date rape, statutory rape or another sexual offense, contact a criminal defense attorney such as one at Bauer Crider Pellegrino & Parry in Clearwater, FL, immediately to schedule a consultation.
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