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Rape Versus Statutory Sexual Assault

Arrested

There are many misconceptions surrounding sexual assault and the penalties that a defendant faces when charged with rape versus statutory rape (now referred to as statutory sexual assault). It is important to keep in mind that one offense is not necessarily punished the same as another. The age of the victim, age of the defendant, how the sexual assault allegedly occurred, and any potential bodily injury can all weigh heavily on the sentence that an offender faces. If you have been charged with either of the following types of sexual assault, you need to contact an attorney with vast experience in keeping clients out of prison for crimes that they did not commit. Call a Philadelphia criminal defense attorney for assistance today.

Rape

According to Chapter 31 Sexual Offenses of the Pennsylvania General Code, rape is defined as sexual intercourse with another when any of the following occurred:

  • The perpetrator used forcible compulsion;
  • The perpetrator used the threat of forcible compulsion;
  • The victim was unconscious, or the perpetrator knows that the victim is unaware that sexual intercourse is happening;
  • The perpetrator used drugs, intoxicants, or another method (without the victim’s knowledge) to impair their ability to appraise or control their conduct
  • The victim suffers from a mental disability and is incapable of giving consent.

Rape is a first degree felony, punishable by up to 20 years in prison and a $25,000 fine, according to statute § 15.66. An additional term of 10 years as well as an additional $100,000 fine may be applied when the offender used a drug, alcohol, or other device to impair the victim’s cognitive ability in order to commit the rape. When the victim is a child under 13 years old, the maximum prison term can be extended to 40 years, and when serious bodily injury occurs to a child under 13 years old, life imprisonment may be imposed. 

Statutory Sexual Assault 

Statutory sexual assault, typically referred to as statutory rape, is a second degree felony, punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a fine of $25,000. A person commits statutory sexual assault when they engage in consensual sexual intercourse with someone who they are not married to and who is under the age of 16. The following is true:

  • The defendant is four years older but less than eight years older than the victim; or
  • The defendant is eight years older but less than 11 years older than the victim.

If the defendant is 11 or more years older than the victim, it is a felony of the first degree to engage in consensual intercourse. For example, it is legal for a 15 year-year-old and a 17-year-old to have consensual sex, but not a 21-year-old and a 16-year-old. 

A Philadelphia Criminal Defense Attorney Can Help

When you are up against serious allegations of sexual misconduct, such as rape or statutory sexual assault, it is crucial that you immediately begin working with an experienced criminal defense attorney. Do not wait any longer to call one of the Philadelphia attorneys at van der Veen, O’Neill, Hartshorn, and Levin.

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