Quincy Rape Defense Attorney
Allegations of rape are serious and can ruin the accused’s reputation and livelihood before he or she is ever convicted of the crime. There is such a negative stigma associated with allegations of rape or sexual assault that, whether credible or not, allegations alone often result in loss of employment, as well as family members and friends distancing themselves from the accused. While so much damage can be done just from the allegations, the penalties for those convicted of rape are severe, including lengthy state prison sentences, probation, and registration as a sex offender with the state’s Sex Offender Registry Board.
In addition to limited employment opportunities for individuals convicted of rape, having to register as a sex offender negatively impacts educational opportunities and housing options, and imposes restrictions on an individual’s rights, including one’s right to vote. With the rise of the Me Too Movement, allegations of rape and sexual assault are on the rise with increased support for victims and accusers. Now, the accused seem to be in a position where they are guilty until proven innocent, and not innocent until proven guilty as the criminal justice system requires.
Unfortunately, people falsely accuse others of rape. Even worse, once the accusations are made so much of the damage is already done and may never be repaired. Given the seriousness of a rape allegation and severe penalties if convicted, it is essential to contact a qualified rape defense lawyer to represent you and fight to clear your name.
What is Rape?
Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 265 Section 22 (M.G.L. Ch. 265 §22) outlines the elements of rape and penalties associated with a conviction. Rape is defined as sexual intercourse or unnatural sexual intercourse with another person by compelling her/him to submit by force and against their will, or by compelling her/him to submit by threat of bodily harm.
Statutory Rape involves sexual intercourse with a child under 16 years old and is covered by M.G.L. Ch. 265 §23. Statutory rape laws are designed to protect minor children and prevent the sexual victimiation of minors who are unable to consent under the law. Aggravated rape includes situations where the accused and accuser are more than 10 years apart in age or the accused was armed with a firearm/gun during the commission of the crime. By nature, aggravated forms of rape carries the potential for harsher sentencing and penalties.
Massachusetts Rape Penalties
Charges of rape, statutory rape, and aggravated rape are all felonies with severe penalties for a conviction. However, the law imposes varying penalties for different forms of rape, including:
- Up to 20 years in state prison, probation, fines, community service, and lifetime registration as a sex offender for rape.
- Up to life in prison for aggravated rape. The law prescribes not less than 15 years to life imprisonment for rape while armed with a firearm.
- Not less than ten years to life in prison for drugging a victim for sexual intercourse.
- Up to life in prison for statutory rape or rape of a child under 16 years. Lack of knowledge that the minor was under the age of 16 is not a defense.
- Not less than 15 years to life in prison for rape of child under the age of 16 by force and during the commission of a crime, including armed or unarmed robbery, kidnapping, assault & battery with a dangerous weapon or assault with a dangerous weapon.
- Other aggravating factors include causing physical injury to the victim or having prior convictions for rape or sexual assault.
Elements of Rape & Possible Legal Defenses
To secure a conviction for rape, the elements required to be proven beyond a reasonable doubt at trial vary depending on the specific charge. However, all charges of rape include the following elements: a) penetration of the victim by a body part or object, b) against the victim’s will or without consent, and, in most cases, c) the threat of or actual use of force.
Depending on the evidence and allegations, below are a few available defenses against charges of rape:
· The alleged crime never occurred – While this is not a viable defense when there is physical evidence linked to the accused, it may be effective when there is evidence the accuser has a motive to lie. This defense entails attacking the alleged victim’s credibility through effective cross-examination and the potential use of character witnesses or other impeachment evidence.
· Consent- Unfortunately, people make false accusations, including lies about rape. False allegations of rape may be made after an individual cheats on a spouse or significant other and their infidelity is exposed. The question of consent is most commonly an issue when alcohol or drugs are involved and often involves young adults.
· Misidentification – In this case, the defense is not that the victim is lying or the rape never happened, it is simply that the defendant is not the person who committed the crime. This defense is most applicable when the rape was committed by a stranger, and therefore a stronger likelihood of misidentfying the perpetrator of the crime.
Contact a Quincy Rape Defense Lawyer
If convicted of rape, you will likely face a lengthy state prison sentence. Making matters worse, mandatory registration as a sex offender will restrict your personal liberties and result in a number of collateral consequences. Nonetheless, you still have rights under the law and do not have to fight the rape allegations on your own. If you are in Quincy, MA, under investigation or facing a rape charge out of Quincy or the Quincy District Court, we are here for you. Founder of Riccio Law, Anthony R. Riccio, is a skilled criminal defense lawyer with experience representing individuals charged with rape in Quincy and all throughout Massachusetts. Contact our offices today to schedule a free consultation and learn more about our criminal defense practice.