Defense Against a Rape Charge

Columbus Criminal Defense Lawyers

In the State of Ohio, rape is among the most serious convictions in the legal system. Penalties for those convicted of rape can be very severe, depending on the circumstances involved. This is why when facing a rape or sexual battery charge, it’s important to hire an attorney experienced in protecting your best interests when facing sex offense charges.

While guilt in sexual battery cases is often easier to prove, rape has a tendency to be legally ambiguous. For example, a sexual partner may claim that he/she didn’t provide consent after the fact, or there was a degree of impairment on both sides.

Call Scott & Nolder Law Firm in Columbus, and we specialize in defending our clients in Central Ohio against rape, sexual battery, and other sex crime charges.

What are the legal definitions of rape and sexual battery?

In the State of Ohio, forced or coerced sexual acts are split into two categories: rape and sexual battery.

Rape is defined as a sexual contact—the State of Ohio defines this as a penetrative sex act including oral and anal intercourse—with a subject who is physically or mentally unable to provide verbal consent.

Rape can be charged in a number of scenarios including when:

  • The victim is under the influence of drugs, alcohol, or another substance that impairs their ability to make decisions.
  • The victim is under the age of 13.
  • The offender knew or believed that the victim was impaired by age or mental condition.

Sexual battery is defined as sexual contact between two people in one or more of the following situations:

  • Coercion, force, or dishonesty was used to persuade the victim to engage in sexual acts.
  • The offender holds some position of power or authority over the victim: a teacher, an older family member, church official, etc.

There are a few other crimes in State of Ohio law that deal with sexual acts. For example, sexual imposition, which involves non-penetrative sexual contact with a person who is unable to consent typically carries up to 60 days in prison, and unlawful sexual contact with a minor, which carries varying fines and jail time depending on the age difference between the alleged offender and the victim.

What is statutory rape?

Most states have special statutes that protect minors. Statutory rape is charged in any case when a person over 18 makes penetrative sexual contact with someone under 16, which is the age of consent in the State of Ohio. There are a few exceptions to this rule:

  • Marriage: In the State of Ohio, minors over a certain age can marry with consent from their legal guardians, even when their spouse is over 18. In this case, sexual intercourse is legal.
  • The “close-in-age” exemption: People under 17 cannot be charged with statutory rape, even when they engage in sexual contact with younger partners because of their proximity in age.

What penalties do rape and similar crimes carry in Ohio?

If you’re facing a rape charge and you’re convicted, the court will take a number of different factors into consideration. For example, if this is your first offense, the court may be a little more lenient depending on the nature of your crime.

A rape conviction is usually a felony of the first degree, the most severe in the eyes of the justice system. First-degree felonies for rape generally carry a sentence of life in prison.

Because the sexual battery isn’t so cut-and-dried, penalties tend to fall within the range of a third-degree felony, which carries a one to five-year prison sentence and a fine of up to $10,000. If the crime involves an alleged victim aged 13 or under, sexual battery is viewed as a second-degree felony, carrying a mandatory prison term of at least two years and a fine of up to $15,000.

Call Scott & Nolder Law Firm in Columbus, OH and let us be on your side. We have years of experience defending clients against sex crime allegations.

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