Philadelphia Rape Defense Lawyer
The legal consequences of a rape conviction can be incredibly damaging. Pennsylvania’s laws establish tough penalties for felony sex offenders, and the negative outcomes of a criminal conviction can be a heavy burden for many years after the case ends. A defendant who is convicted of rape in Philadelphia faces many years in prison, expensive fines, victim restitution, sex offender registration, and permanent damage to both personal and professional relationships. For all of these reasons, it is critical for defendants who have been charged with rape or related offenses to be represented by a Philadelphia defense lawyer, like Lloyd Long, Esq.
Legal Help for Rape Arrests and Charges
If you or someone you know has been arrested for rape or other sex crimes in the Philadelphia area, make sure you have the vigorous legal defense you are entitled to. When so much is at stake in your case, you need an experienced criminal attorney who understands how to effectively protect your rights and fight for justice on your behalf. The respected legal team at The Law Office of Lloyd Long has successfully handled thousands of criminal cases, and is ready to put the same level of dedication and focus to work on your case.
There isn’t a moment to lose planning your defense if you have been accused of committing rape or other felony sex crimes in Pennsylvania.
PA Laws on Rape, Statutory Rape, and Sexual Assault
Rape is charged under 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 3121 in Pennsylvania. In order to obtain a conviction, the prosecution must prove that the defendant engaged in sexual intercourse with another person, and at least one following elements were present:
- The defendant used force (“forcible compulsion”).
- The defendant made a threat that would prevent a reasonable person from resisting.
- The defendant gave the victim drugs and/or alcohol, without the victim’s knowledge, “for the purpose of preventing resistance.”
- The victim was incapable of consent due to a mental disability.
- The victim was unconscious or otherwise “unaware that the sexual intercourse [was] occurring.”
Rape is a separate offense from statutory rape, which is the general term for sexual intercourse with a person who is under the age of consent. In Pennsylvania, the age of consent is 16 years of age. However, Pennsylvania has repealed its former law on statutory rape. Instead of being charged with “statutory rape,” a defendant will be charged with “statutory sexual assault,” or sexual intercourse with a person under the age of 16, if (1) the person is not the defendant’s spouse, and (2) one of the following applies:
- The defendant was at least four years older than the victim, but less than eight years older.
- The defendant was at least eight years older than the victim, but less than 11 years older.
If the defendant was more than 11 years older at the time of the alleged offense, the criminal penalties are more severe.
Some states make rape and sexual assault separate crimes, or only refer to one offense in their legal statutes. In Pennsylvania, sexual assault and rape are separate offenses that are charged and prosecuted under separate statutes. Regardless of whether you have been accused of rape, sexual assault, statutory sexual assault, or other sex crimes in Pennsylvania, the Philadelphia rape lawyers at The Law Office of Lloyd Long will bring an intense level of analysis to your case, investigating from every angle to find vulnerabilities in the prosecution’s case while building a multifaceted defense on your behalf.
Criminal Penalties for Rape in PA
Most crimes in Pennsylvania are classified as misdemeanors or felonies. More specifically, there are three types (“degrees”) of misdemeanors and felonies, known as “third degree,” “second degree,” and “first degree.” For example, a crime can be a “third degree misdemeanor,” or a “felony of the second degree.”
These distinctions are important, because there are different fines and sentences for each type of misdemeanor and felony. Additionally, certain legal statutes – including Pennsylvania’s rape statute – call for special additional penalties.
Rape is a first degree felony in Pennsylvania. The penalties for a first degree felony in Pennsylvania may include a fine as great as $25,000, and, even more devastatingly, a prison sentence as long as 20 years.
In certain cases, Pennsylvania’s rape laws call for additional penalties that can make the sentence even longer and the fines even higher. Under 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 3121(b), the prison sentence can be extended by an additional 10 years if the defendant gave the victim “any substance for the purpose of preventing resistance” without the victim’s knowledge. The same section also allows the fine to be increased by up to $100,000.
Rape laws in Pennsylvania also create longer sentences for rape offenses involving children, particularly in cases where the child becomes seriously injured. The prison sentence for rape of a child, meaning a person who is under 13 years old, is 40 years in Pennsylvania. If the rape of a child resulted in serious bodily injury to the child, the defendant could be sentenced to life in prison.
Furthermore, a defendant who is convicted of rape in Pennsylvania will be required to register as a sex offender. For many defendants, this is the most alarming consequence of a conviction. Rape is a “Tier III” offense, which means the defendant will have to permanently register as a sex offender for life. Failure to register as a sex offender is a crime in Pennsylvania, and can lead to additional fines and incarceration.
Contact Philadelphia Rape Defense Attorneys
If you or a family member was recently arrested and charged with rape or related offenses in the Philadelphia area, effective legal representation is essential to defending your rights, your reputation, and your very freedom itself. You need a rape defense attorney who has successfully handled numerous cases, and understands how to tactically approach the challenges and legal defenses that are pertinent to your case.
Criminal cases involving rape accusations can often be emotional, but our attorneys will make sure that your rights are protected, and that you do not become the victim of a witch hunt that is based on false accusations, mistaken identity, or evidence that was improperly obtained or handled. We will handle your case with precision and professionalism, using sophisticated legal strategies and keeping you informed and up-to-date at every step of the process.
Get the robust legal defense you require if you were arrested for rape or other sex crimes in Pennsylvania. Contact the Law Office of Lloyd Long at (215) 302-0171 for a free and confidential legal consultation.