There’s no question that rape is a serious matter for all parties involved. Rape statistics in Missouri are alarming, with over 2,900 sexual assault cases reported to law enforcement in 2019 alone, according to the Missouri Rights of Victims of Sexual Assault Task Force. This makes the state’s rate of rape higher than the national average.
In addition, 69 of those rape cases were reported in Columbia. Rape charges can be extremely serious with potentially life-changing consequences. Fortunately, an experienced criminal attorney can fight to protect your rights. When facing a rape charge, it is important to seek legal guidance from a Columbia rape lawyer as soon as possible.
Rape is defined as the act of sexual intercourse or any form of unwanted sexual penetration without consent. This includes charges of rape in marriage, rape by fraud, or rape involving drugs or alcohol. Most commonly, rape is understood as a specific sexual act involving penetration. For example, if a man or woman fondled another woman’s breast, that would be considered sexual abuse, not rape. A knowledgeable attorney in Columbia can review the circumstances of a rape case to determine the best defense strategy.
There are varying degrees of rape charges and associated penalties, depending on the specific circumstances of each case. All rape charges are felony charges in the state of Missouri and carry serious penalties as a result. If convicted, a defendant may face up to life imprisonment with no possibility of probation or parole.
Rape in the First Degree can be charged as a Class B felony, however, there are circumstances in which Class A felony charges can result. This is defined having sexual intercourse with someone who is either incapacitated, incapable of providing consent, lacks the capacity to provide consent, or was forced to have sexual intercourse by the use of forcible compulsion. Potential penalties range from five years to life in prison, depending on the circumstances of the case. If a weapon is involved or serious injury, there is a 15-year minimum. If a child under 12 is the victim, the penalty is mandatory for life in prison. In some cases, there is no parole option.
Rape in the Second Degree is defined as having sexual intercourse with another person knowing that he or she does so without that person’s consent. The penalty for Rape in the Second Degree is a Class D felony and carries with it a range of punishment of up to seven years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000.
In addition to jail time and fines, rape charges can result in life-long consequences such as being required to register as a sex offender. This can have significant repercussions and make it difficult to obtain employment or housing, even after serving jail time. When you face any of the penalties that a rape charge carries, enlisting the help of a dedicated attorney in Columbia is wise.
There are several different strategies that a criminal lawyer could employ in rape cases. For example, potential defenses may include outright innocence, mental incapacity, false accusation, improper evidence collection or chain of custody of evidence, alibi witness testimony, and coercion by the accuser. Depending on the specific circumstances of your case, these may be viable defense strategies.
Rape charges carry some of the most serious penalties for any crime in Columbia. If you have been charged with rape, it is imperative that you seek legal guidance from legal counsel right away. A hardworking Columbia lawyer will be able to help guide you through the process, negotiate on your behalf with prosecutors, and provide representation during court proceedings.
At the Law Office of Chris Miller, we understand the gravity and complexity of rape charges. Our experienced team of Columbia rape lawyers can help you navigate your case and fight for the best possible outcome.
When you or someone you know has been charged with rape, contact us today to discuss your legal options.