New York state law classifies rape in three categories, according to the New York Penal Code. Rape represents one of the most serious types of crimes for which a person can be prosecuted. As a consequence, a person charged with rape needs to understand the general elements of applicable law, needs to understand legal rights and must appreciate the importance of retaining a skilled, experienced Staten Island rape lawyer.
Definition of Rape
New York state law defines rape as non-consensual sexual intercourse perpetrated on an alleged victim by force, coercion, threat of physical force or other type of duress. Pursuant to New York rape statutes, sexual intercourse has its ordinary meaning, and occurs no matter how light the penetration may be in a particular case. Rape has been a crime for centuries, although the penalties have evolved over time, along with who and when a person can be charged with the crime, according to Cornell Law School.
Degrees of Rape
First degree rape in New York is defined as sexual intercourse perpetrated by force. In addition, a person can be charged with first degree rape if the alleged victim is less than 11 years of age or if the alleged victim is less than 13 years of age and the alleged perpetrator is 18 years of age or older.
Second degree rape is defined as sexual intercourse with a person incapable of consenting because of being mentally disabled or incapacitated. Second degree can also be charged if the alleged victim is under the age of 15 and the alleged perpetrator is over the age of 18.
Finally, third degree rape is defined as sexual intercourse with a person incapable of consent for some reason other than being under the age of 17. A person can be charged with third degree rape if he is over the age of 21 and the alleged victim is less than 17 years of age.
Statutory rape is another derivation of the crime. Statutory rape is sexual intercourse with a person under the age of 17. The law in New York presumes that a person under the age of 17 legally is incapable of consenting to sexual intercourse.
First degree rape is a Class B felony and second degree rape is a Class D felony. Third degree rape is a Class E felony.
Penalties for Rape
A conviction for first degree can result in a prison term of five to 15 years, and a possible fine of up to $5,000. Second degree rape can result in a sentence of one to seven years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000. Finally, a conviction of third degree rape can result in a prison sentence of up to four years and a $5,000 fine.
In the aftermath of a rape conviction, a person will be required to submit to the sex offender registry in the state of New York. The registry requirement can continue to the remainder of a person’s lifetime after a rape conviction.
A person convicted of rape will also likely be required to obtain counseling or treatment of some nature. This determination can be made on a case-by-case basis.
Defenses for Rape
There are a number of defenses that are used in rape cases. One common defense in a rape case is that the alleged victim consented to engaging in sexual intercourse with the purported perpetrator. The defense of consent oftentimes arises in a so-called “date rape” case.
A defense to certain rape charges is a contention that the alleged perpetrator did not know of an incapacity suffered by the alleged victim. For example, the alleged perpetrator was reasonably unaware that the alleged victim had a mental disease or defect.
Another defense utilized in rape cases involves a contention that someone else committed the crime. A defense attorney will contend that his or her client is wrongly identified as the perpetrator of the crime charged. This most commonly is called an insanity defense.
In some limited instances, a defense in a rape case is the contention that the alleged perpetrator suffers from a mental illness. Even if a person suffers from a mental illness does not mean that the condition rises to the level of legal insanity. An experienced Staten Island rape attorney can ascertain the appropriateness of an insanity defense.
Engage Experienced Staten Island Rape Lawyers
The first step in hiring a Staten Island rape lawyer is scheduling what commonly is referred to as an initial consultation. An initial consultation allows a person charged with rape the ability to obtain an evaluation of the case from legal counsel. In addition, the person charged with rape is able to get answers to questions about the case. There typically is no attorney fee charged for an initial consultation with Staten Island rape lawyers.