Under New York law, there are several different offenses that amount to rape in the third degree. All of the offenses generally have to do with having sex with someone who isn’t legally capable of consenting to the act. Rape in the third degree is a violation of New York Penal Code 130.25.
What constitutes rape in the third degree
There are a few different ways that a person’s actions can amount to third-degree rape in New York. For example, if you are twenty-one years of age or older and you have sex with someone less than seventeen-years old, that’s rape in the third degree. In addition, if you have sex with someone who is mentally challenged or mentally incapacitated to the extent that they can’t understand what they’re doing, that’s rape in the third degree, too. Third-degree rape does not involve the use of physical force. Rather, it involves a situation where the other person involved isn’t capable of giving consent.
Rape in the third degree is a class E felony. All rape charges in New York are felonies. While third-degree rape is the least severe, it can still bring you up to four years in prison, a fine and probation. In addition, if you’re convicted of this offense, you’re a sex offender. That means you have to register.
Four years is the maximum possible penalty. The amount of time that you actually serve can be less. The court looks at the entire circumstances and seeks input from the victim when they determine a sentence. If you don’t serve the entire four years in prison, you can expect the court to sentence you to a term of probation.
The court can order you to comply with very specific terms on probation. The court can order you to avoid having any contact with the victim in the case. The court can require you to submit to a search without a warrant at any time. You might have to maintain employment and seek treatment for psychological problems or addictions. A term of probation is an alternative to jail, so the court doesn’t apologize for giving offenders a long list of requirements to complete during a term of probation.
Sex offender registration
One of the serious consequences for rape in the third degree is mandatory registration as a sex offender. For this offense, you have to register your contact information with the state for the next twenty years. The sex offender registry is public. That means that a conviction can hurt your chances for employment or your chances of securing a rental property.
Because a conviction for rape in the third degree carries life-long consequences, it’s important to work with an NYC criminal attorney to present your best defenses if you’re facing this type of charge. A common defense to this charge is that you had the consent of the other person involved. Because the charge requires sex with a person who can’t consent, if you can show that the person did capably and knowingly consent to the act, you might have a valid legal defense to the charges.
You might also raise the statute of limitations as a defense. For rape in the third degree, the statute of limitation is five years. That means that the state has five years after the offense occurs to bring charges against you. In cases where the victim is under the age of eighteen when the offense occurs, the statute of limitations might not start until after the victim turns eighteen and reports the offense.