Being charged with a crime is one of the scariest situations someone can be in. All criminal charges come with some potentially severe consequences and one of the most severe categories of crimes, are sex crimes. Rape is a sex crime that is most often heard about. What should someone do when they are charged with rape? In this blog we will discuss it. Like all our blogs, this is intended for general informational purposes only and not intended as substitute for the advice and counsel of a criminal defense attorney.
What does it mean to be charged with rape?
In North Carolina, rape is defined under General Statutes 14-27.2, and 14-27.22. There are two statutes because one covers first degree forcible rape, and one covers second degree forcible rape. Both charges involve vaginal intercourse with another person by force and against their will, or some other form of incapacity or helplessness.
The consequences of being charged with rape
First degree forcible rape is punished as a Class B1 felony, while Second degree forcible rape is punished as a Class C Felony. Both charges follow the North Carolina Felony sentencing guidelines. Additionally, conviction of this crime requires sex offender registration, and can never be expunged. When someone is charged with rape before the case is resolved the pending charge can show up on criminal background checks. These are just a few of the collateral consequences that the defendant must be concerned about.
Defense when charged with rape
When charged with rape, the defendant should seek immediate legal representation. Like all other criminal cases there is only three ways this can end; a dismissal, a guilty plea, or a trial. When defending someone charged with rape, the defense attorney must focus on the allegations and facts that are present in the discovery.
For the government to obtain a conviction every element of the crime must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. In a trial setting the arguments from the defense can include but are not limited to the following:
- Making sure the government can prove that intercourse took place at all
- Making sure the government can prove that there was no consent, if there was a sex act that took place
- Showing the jury that there was not enough physical evidence to substantiate the allegations
Like all criminal matters, the defendant has the presumption of innocence and he is innocent until proven guilty.