A rape and sexual assault charge has the power to disrupt life, whereas a conviction can ruin your family, work and social life due to the extremely negative perception the public has of child molesters and sex offenders. Benefit of the doubt disappears overnight, as family, friends, employers, neighbors and the rest of the community distance themselves from you. With the right representation, the damage can be minimized, and you may finally be given an opportunity to clear your own name.

While rape or sexual assault is a heinous crime that can cause terrible physical and psychological harm to the victims, it often happens that rape accusations are sometimes inappropriately leveled at innocent people as an act of revenge, or simply due to mistaken identity. Regret and misunderstanding can also cause people to come forward with such claims. While it may be possible to prove allegations false even before prosecutors request an indictment from a grand jury, there are cases in which it may lead to federal or state rape and sexual assault charges.

Rape and Sexual Assault: A Federal Offense

Sexual offenses are mostly treated as violations of state law, which means that you will be accused of committing a sexual offense and tried in the local court. However, if you commit rape or sexual assault, it may be considered a violation of both federal and state law. The violation may fall exclusively under federal jurisdiction if there is evidence that:

  • the offense occurred in the District of Columbia
  • you committed the assault on federal property
  • you were arrested or investigated by a federal agency
  • you crossed state laws to commit the offense
  • you committed the crime on international waters
  • you committed the crime against a federal official, foreign official, ambassador or consul under US government protection.

Furthermore, a rape and sexual assault conviction can have a devastating effect on your future. It will tarnish your reputation, seriously impede your liberty and it may even affect your living arrangements. Such a conviction has the power to negatively affect every aspect of your life, as a criminal background check can be accessed in minutes, making it extremely difficult to:

  • attend university or college
  • find a good job
  • find a good place to live.

In many states, the term 'sex crimes' is assigned to any criminal charges that involve sexual activity, ranging from lewdness to sexual contact or assault, prostitution, molestation and child sexual abuse to other similar offenses. Most sex crimes are considered federal offenses, while both state and federal laws persecute such charges. No matter the state in which you were charged, facing rape and sexual assault charges is a difficult situation, and finding sympathy from a jury or judge is highly unlikely. You need a knowledgeable, skilled criminal defense attorney who can help balance perceptions and help your voice to be heard.

The constitution provides you with the guarantee of a fair trial, and you still have legal rights, in spite of the charges against you. Qualified, experienced representation can safeguard your constitutional and legal rights, while helping you to formulate your defense against the charges lodged against you. Such representation can also assist in helping you decide whether or not to accept plea bargains offered by the state. Depending on the merits of your case, it may even be possible to obtain a case dismissal or to reduce your penalty after conviction.

Due to the nature of rape and sexual assault charges, it is important to exercise your right to remain silent, apart from asking to speak to an experienced Sexual Crimes Attorney. Anything you say to police officers, investigators, and prosecutors will most definitely be held against you in court. Instead, speak to an experienced, respected criminal defense attorney who can provide you with professional legal advocacy before you answer any questions or make any admissions.

The legal definitions of rape and sexual assault differ from one state to another. For instance:

  • Sexual assault in New Jersey is the legal term for rape, while penetration involves the insertion of any object into the vagina or anus or mouth, including anal intercourse, fellatio and cunnilingus by - or on the instruction of - the defendant.
  • In Arizona, sexual assault involves oral or sexual intercourse or contact without the consent of the person, while the definition of intercourse is the same as that of New Jersey.
  • In DC, the law incorporates both rape and sexual assault under the umbrella term 'sexual abuse', and the various crimes are divided into degrees one to four sexual abuse, and a misdemeanor, in which case the person is aware of the fact that permission was needed for sexual contact or acts to take place.

Generally speaking, rape or sexual assault charges involve unwanted or involuntary sexual contact from one party perpetuated against another through an act of coercion or force, or in spite of the alleged victim's incapacitation. By law, incapacitation means that the victim:

is mentally unable to understand the nature or consequences of the sexual act;

is physically unable to indicate their agreement to participate in sexual conduct.

The latter example usually involves charges arising from date rape drugs or alcohol, which can render a victim incapable of legally consenting to sex.

Most rape and sexual assault charges are considered federal sex offenses under the United States Criminal Code, which defines the different Aggravated sexual abuse crimes as follows:

  • By Threat or Force - This applies to any person who knowingly causes someone else to engage in sexual acts by using force or by threatening them by any means in the US territorial or maritime jurisdiction, or in any prison, facility or institution where people are held in custody.
  • By Other Means - This applies to someone who knowingly renders a person unconscious or administers a drug by force or deceit to another person in order to engage in sexual acts without that person's permission in the US territorial or maritime jurisdiction, or in any prison, facility or institution where people are held in custody.
  • With Children - This applies to anyone who engages in sex with a minor under the age of 12 in the US territorial or maritime jurisdiction, or in any prison, facility or institution where people are held in custody. It is also a federal crime to cross State lines with the intent to have sex with a minor. Likewise, committing these crimes with someone older than 12, but younger than 16 years of age (and four years or more, younger than the perpetrator).

Sexual abuse involves any situation in which a person forces another to engage in sexual contact or acts through threats, or by engaging in sexual acts with a person who is incapable of consent, or physically incapable of communicating or declining an unwillingness to participate.

Sexual abuse of a minor involves sexually inappropriate behavior with:

  • a person who is older than 12, but younger than 16;
  • and four o more years younger than the person who is engaging (or attempting to engage) the minor.

Sexual abuse of a ward applies to any person who engages in sexual acts with someone who is an official detainee or under the disciplinary, supervisory or custodial authority of the person who engages him or her.

Internet sex crimes involve solicitation in which you attempt to engage a minor in sexual activities (regardless of the success of the plan), or traveling with (or to meet) a minor in order to engage in a sexual activity. It may also include being caught in a sting whereby police officers impersonate someone in order to curtail attempted sexual misconduct.

Sentences for rape and sexual assault convictions depend on the severity of the crime and the state in which it is tried, and can range from a year to live imprisonment. In most cases, you may be required to register on both the national and state sex offender registries, which may include online information and your picture on the relevant website.

Lifetime sex offender registration means that your mistake will forever live on the internet, and:

  • you will face travel restrictions
  • your online access will be restricted
  • you will be assigned a parole supervisor for life.

Rape and Sexual Assault Penalties

With so many different definitions, degrees of offenses across the various states, being charged with a sexual assault or rape can be overwhelming. The charges may be confusing and a conviction can lead to financially devastating fines, a lengthy jail sentence or both, depending on the state in which you are convicted.

It is not uncommon for someone who faces rape and sexual assault charges to be terminated by their employer, and it can lead to serious difficulties within personal relationships. That all occurs before a court of law finds the person guilty as charged. Upon conviction, life changes more, particularly if a prison sentence is part of the penalty.

However, release from prison is not necessarily the end of the trouble. In many cases, convicted sex offenders are added to the sex offenders register in their state, and in some cases, the national sex register as well. This brings about a whole new set of consequences. However, with the right representation, it is possible that a plea bargain can help remove the obligation of registration as a sex offender.

The Case for a Strong Rape and Sexual Assault Defense

When you are charged with rape of sexual assault, you need to find the best possible representation. Lawyers from Sexual Crimes Attorney have extensive courtroom experience, including with high-profile cases, and they are committed to protecting your legal and constitutional rights as well as your future. We have represented clients from all walks of life in a variety of rape and sexual assault charges, including:

  • celebrities
  • date rape
  • acquaintance rape
  • high profile business people
  • university students
  • state and federal charges
  • state sex offender charges
  • federal sex offender registration
  • state sex offender registration

A rape or sexual assault conviction and the harsh penalties that accompany it can be especially tragic in cases that revolve around your knowledge of alleged lack of consent. Evidentiary questions also often arise with regard to the circumstances surrounding the alleged sexual assault. Proper investigation of the circumstances that led up to and that followed the alleged rape or sexual assault will go a long way to swaying the verdict in your favor.

With their thorough approach, our attorneys will carefully weigh up every detail regarding your case in order to identify all the possible legal strategies and to present a thorough defense with the help of a careful investigation into:

  • whether the act was consensual
  • the credibility of the alleged victim
  • the validity of the evidence against you.

Where possible, they will vigorously argue to have charges against you dismissed or reduced, or to obtain a not guilty verdict on your behalf. We have managed to employ creative defense strategies on behalf of our clients to help minimize some of the harsh consequences of sex crime convictions, even in cases involving compelling DNA evidence. Additionally, we will explore other potential alternatives for prison or jail time.

If you are charged with a federal rape or sexual assault charge, you need an experienced criminal defense attorney who knows how to mount a defense in a federal courtroom. An expert legal team can help prove that the individual who accused you did in fact agree to consensual sex or put forth the evidence to prove that you were wrongly accused of a rape or sexual assault that was committed by someone else.

Do not allow the horror and embarrassment of wrongly accusations of rape or sexual assault tear apart your family, tarnish your reputation or ruin your career. Our expert investigators will go the extra mile to find the evidence needed to backup your version of events. You have the right to fight back against wrongful accusations.

Get the Sex Crimes Attorney team in your corner today. Call us at 888-666-8480 today to schedule an initial case review on your rape and sexual assault charges today.