New York Rape
Rape is one of the most heinous crimes with which you can be charged. For this reason prosecutors seek to vigorously prosecute those accused of rape. Even without a conviction the mere accusation of rape is enough to irreparably damage someone's reputation. Rape is the crime of having sexual intercourse with another person without that person's consent. Depending on the circumstances of the rape, there are three different degrees of seriousness of rape. However, each rape charge is a felony, meaning that a conviction would likely result in a sentence of years in prison and registration as a sex offender. Because the stigma of being accused of a sex crime can have long-term damaging effects on your personal and professional lives, as soon as you learn that you are suspected of rape it is crucial that you contact an experienced New York rape lawyer who will review the facts of your case and aggressively defend you against the charges. The attorneys at the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates have decades of experience representing clients who have been charged with sex crimes and other serious crimes such as assault, domestic violence and kidnapping. Find out what we can do for you by contacting us to schedule a free, no obligation consultation regarding your case.Definition of rape
There are three different degrees of the crime of rape: rape in the third degree, rape in the second degree, and rape in the first degree. Each rape charge has two essential elements: sexual intercourse and lack of consent. For the purpose of the rape statute, sexual intercourse means penetration of the vagina with the penis, even if the penetration is slight. N.Y. Pen. Law § 130.00(1). Lack of consent means that the sexual intercourse was not consensual. Even if the other person appears to have consented to the sexual course, legally there was no consent if under the law that person did not have the capacity to consent. In general, a person lacks the capacity to consent if he or she is physically helpless, suffers from a mental incapacity, suffers from a mental disability, or is so young that he or she does not have the ability to consent. In addition, if you used physical force, then there was no consent to the sexual intercourse.Types of rape
Rape in the third degree is the least severe rape charge. You will be charged with rape in the third degree if you have sexual intercourse with another person without that person's consent or with another person who cannot consent. If you are at least 21 year old, you can be charged with rape in the third degree if you have sexual intercourse with someone who is less than 17 years old. It is a class E felony. N.Y. Pen. Law § 130.25
Rape in the second degree is the charge you will face if you engage in sexual intercourse with someone who is mentally disabled or incapacitated. If you were 18 years or order and have sexual intercourse with someone who is less than 15 years old, you can be charged with rape in the second degree. It is a class D felony. N.Y. Pen. Law § 130.30.
Rape in the first degree is the most serious rape charge. You would have committed rape in the first degree if you forcibly have sexual intercourse with another person, or have sexual intercourse with someone who is age 11 or younger. If you are at least 18 years old and have sexual intercourse with someone who is less than 13 years old, you could face a rape in the first degree charge. N.Y. Pen. Law § 130.35. It is a class B felony.Being arrested for rape
If you are accused of rape, you will be taken to a local police precinct where the arresting officer will process you and take your fingerprints. After about 3-4 hours you will be transferred to Central Booking in your county. You will remain in Central Booking until you can go before a judge at your arraignment hearing. At the arraignment you will learn the exact charges against you. The charges may be one or more rape charge, as well as other crimes. The judge will make a decision about bail: a bail amount may be set, you may be released without bail, or you may be held without bail. Lastly, you will be told the next time you will be required to appear in court.
After your arraignment your case may go before the Grand Jury, and there may be several hearings and meetings with the prosecutor before your case goes to trial. The prosecutor may offer you a deal that would allow you to avoid a trial if you agree to plead guilty to a lesser offense. For you the advantage of doing this would be that you would avoid the possibility of being convicted of the original charges and face a stiff sentence, and instead face a lighter sentence. The downside is that if you agree to plead deal then you will be convicted of a crime, maybe even a sex crime, and you will have to live with the consequences of being a sex offender.Defenses to a rape charge
There are several defenses to a rape charge. Since lack of consent is an essential element to a rape charge, if there was consent then you have valid defense to any rape charge. This means that you would have to show that there was no force, or that the other person did not suffer from a mental disability or a mental incapacity.
Another possible defense may be available if the rape accusation is brought a long time after the incident. If a significant amount of time has passed, then you may have a statute of limitations defense. Under the statute of limitations, a rape charge must be brought within 5 years of when the rape reportedly occurred. N.Y. Crim. Pro. Law § 30.10. Otherwise, the prosecutor is time-barred from prosecuting you at all for that crime. An exception to this rule is where the victim was less than 18 years old at the time the rape reportedly occurred. The statute of limitations would not begin to run on the date of the incident, but either when the victim turns 18 years old or when the incident is reported to the police.
In cases where the rape charge is based on lack of consent due to age, if you and the other person are married, then you have a defense to a rape charge. N.Y. Pen. Law § 130.10. However, the marriage must be legal in New York for this defense to be valid.Sentence for a rape conviction
The sentence you will face for a rape conviction varies depending on the rape charge.
Rape in the third degree. This is a class E felony. If convicted the possible sentence is up to 4 years in prison.
Rape in the second degree. This is a class D felony. If convicted the possible sentence is up to 7 years in prison. Rape in the second degree is a violent felony offense that has a mandatory minimum sentence of 3 years in prison.
Rape in the first degree. This is a class B felony. If convicted the possible sentence is up to 25 years in prison. Rape in the first degree is a violent felony offense that has a mandatory minimum sentence of 5 years in prison.
In addition to a prison sentence, you may also be sentenced to probation. With probation comes detailed rules that restrict your activities. For example, there may be restrictions on who you can associate with, where you can go, and what time you must be home each evening. You will also be required to have a job or diligently seek one. You will be assigned a probation officer to whom you must regularly report. If you do not follow the rules, you may end up in jail.
As a result of being convicted of rape you will have a criminal record and you will have to register as a sex offender. N.Y. Cor. Law § 168. Having a criminal record with a felony sex crime conviction and being a registered sex offender will make many aspects of your life more challenging. You may have a difficult time finding a job, there may be restrictions on where you can live, that you are a registered sex offender may be made public, and you will have to regularly register your address with law enforcement.Schedule a consultation with the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates
If you are facing a rape charge you should immediately consult an experienced New York rape lawyer. The staff at the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates has years of experience successfully defending clients in New York criminal courts accused of rape as well as other sex crimes such as sexual abuse and criminal sexual act. Contact us at 800.696.9529 to schedule a free, no obligation consultation regarding your case. We represent clients in the Bronx, Brooklyn, Long Island, Manhattan, Nassau County, Queens, Staten Island, Suffolk County and Westchester County.