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Rape in Pennsylvania is defined under 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 3121. For an individual to face a rape conviction in Pennsylvania, the prosecuting attorney must prove that the accused engaged in sexual intercourse with another individual with one of the following factors present:
What are the Penalties if Convicted of Rape in Pennsylvania?
If an individual is charged with rape in Pennsylvania, it is a first degree felony offense. The penalties for a first degree felony in Pennsylvania could include a fine up to $25,000. An individual convicted of rape could also face up to 20 years in prison.
There are some circumstances that can lead to additional penalties, which could extend the sentence and increase fines. According to 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 3121(b), if the accused gave the victim any type of substance to prevent resistance, it could add 10 years to a prison sentence. The same section states that under these circumstances, fines could be increased up to $100,000.
In Pennsylvania, rape that involves children can also carry a longer sentence, which is especially true if the child was injured during the act. If an individual is accused of raping a child under the age of 13, the accused could face up to 40 years in prison. When a child was seriously injured, the accused could face a life sentence in prison if convicted.
Those who are convicted of rape in Pennsylvania must also register as a sex offender. If it is a Tier III offense, those convicted will have to register as a sex offender for the remainder of their lives. When an individual fails to register as a sex offender in Pennsylvania, it could lead to additional prison time and more fines.
What You Should do if You are Charged With Rape
If you are arrested for rape, it is important not to provoke the arresting officer. Typically, those charged with rape will have to remain in jail overnight. You should not speak with the police about the circumstances that surround your arrest. Anything that you say can be used as evidence during your trial, and what you say can easily be taken out of context and used against you. When the police try to question you, the best course of action is to politely tell them that you will not answer any questions until your attorney is present.
The Importance of a Criminal Defense Attorney
If you have been charged with rape, it is vital to hire a skilled criminal defense attorney as soon as you can. A defense attorney can investigate the situation and determine if there is any evidence other than the the claimant’s accusation. When the only evidence is the accusation, a defense attorney may be able to discredit the accusation if it is not true. There are also instances of mistaken identity, and a criminal defense attorney can help those in these situations prove their innocence.
If you are convicted of a rape charge, the penalties can be damaging. Pennsylvania has established strict laws and penalties for those convicted of rape, and the negative consequences can last for many years after the case concludes. A criminal defense attorney can help those accused of rape establish a solid defense, and they can ensure their clients rights are always protected.
If you have been charged with rape in Montgomery County, contact our law office to schedule a consultation. Our team of criminal defense experts have the legal knowledge and experience to help.