Rape is sexual activity up to and including intercourse that occurs without the express consent or against the will of the victim. As in other areas of the state, the laws related to rape are documented in Article 130 of the New York penal code. Given the serious nature of this crime, persons who are accused of rape must understand the rule of law, the penalties associated with a conviction, and what type of impact the conviction will have in the years to come.
Who Can Be a Victim of Rape?
Persons of all genders and ages may be victims of rape. The key is that the victim is somehow penetrated and that the individual is not capable due to age, physical condition, or mental capacity to provide consent. As an act of violence, rape focuses on the subjugation of one person to the will of another.
Is There More Than One Degree of Rape?
New York’s legal codes include descriptions for various kinds or degrees of rape. Each one carries potential penalties including time served.
Third degree rape occurs when the victim is under the age of 17 and the person accused of the action is 21 or older. This degree also applies if the victim did not provide consent for any reason other than an inability to offer that consent. When the victim is not capable of providing consent for a reason other than being under the age of 17, this degree also applies.
With second degree rape, the accused party must be at least 18 years of age and the victim under the age of 15. The victim is not in a position to offer consent due to mental incapacity or some type of mental disability. For example, the victim was unable to provide consent because of a reaction to some type of controlled substance.
A charge of first degree rape is the most serious of all. In many cases, what is known as forcible compulsion took place. This means that the person who committed the rape used some type of physical force that made it impossible for the victim to fend off the attack. Along with physical force, the rapist may use some threat of death to the victim or death to the victim’s loved one. Threats of physical injury may also be used.
First degree rape also applies if the victim is rendered unable to resist by the use of restraints that lead to a state of being physically helpless. Any case of rape involving a victim who is 11 years of age or younger is considered first degree. The same is true if the victim is less than 13 years old and the rapist is at least 18.
What are the Penalties That Come With a Rape Conviction?
All forms of rape in queens are considered felonies. With rape in the third degree, the accused party faces a Class E felony that could mean up to four years in prison. The convicted party may also be assessed fines of up to $5.000.00.
A charge of rape in the first degree is a Class B felony that requires a sentence of between 5 and 25 years in prison. As with the other felony rapes, the convicted party could face a fine of up to $5,000.00.
The criminal charges may be accompanied by a civil suit. That suit can be filed by the victim or by individuals authorized to file such a suit on behalf of the victim. If successful, the civil suit would result in additional damages awarded to the victim.
What Other Consequences Could a Convicted Rapist Face?
In addition to criminal and civil legal issues, the convicted rapist will find that the action will have an effect for the rest of his or her life. Registration as a sex offender is required in many jurisdictions. This remains true even if the individual chooses to move to a different community or state.
The presence of a rape conviction on a criminal record also has an impact on where the individual may live. This is especially true when the rape involved a victim who is under the age of consent. The rapist is often not allowed to purchase or rent residential property that is located near schools or other institutions where children are commonly in attendance.
Employment opportunities may also be limited in the years to come. Any type of work that involves a criminal background check will reveal the conviction and may serve as grounds for rejecting the employment application.
Present and future relationships will also be affected by the rape conviction. Being found guilty may place permanent stress on relations with friends and family members. In some cases, those relationships will be beyond salvaging.
An allegation of rape should never be taken lightly. If this type of accusation is made, it’s important to seek counsel from a lawyer immediately. The legal counsel will review the evidence and use every legal means to ensure the rights of the client are protected.