An NYC Rape Lawyer Will Help Protect Your Rights

A rape accusation or sex crimes arrest can permanently change your life. Even if you aren’t convicted, the mere accusation can destroy your reputation with your family and community. As intimidating as a rape charge can be, it is important to remember that the prosecution must prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt. You need an NYC rape lawyer on your side who is willing and able to challenge the prosecution’s case and aggressively defend your rights.

New York’s Legal Definition of Rape

Under New York law, rape is the crime of engaging in sexual intercourse with another person without their consent. To better understand the crime of rape, it may be helpful to review some additional definitions.

P.L. 130.00 defines sexual intercourse as having its “ordinary meaning” and “occurs upon any penetration, however slight.” In other words, even momentary penetration can qualify as sexual intercourse. Furthermore, ejaculation does not need to occur.

P.L. 130.05 defines what would be considered a lack of consent. In the context of a rape charge, this can include the following:

  • Forcible compulsion;
  • Incapacity to provide consent; or
  • Any expression made by the victim that would be interpreted by a reasonable person as a lack of consent.

The section also explains what it means to be incapable of giving consent:

  • Being less than 17 years old;
  • Being mentally disabled;
  • Being mentally incapacitated;
  • Being physically helpless; or
  • Someone who is under the physical care of another, such as someone in a mental health facility.

These definitions illustrate that New York’s rape laws are expansively written. People can be accused of rape even when they did not intend to commit rape. The only way to get a fair result is to work with an experienced NYC rape lawyer.

Possible Penalties for Rape Charges in New York

Rape is always charged as a felony, meaning you could spend years in prison if convicted. The penalties you face will depend on the severity of your charge:

  • Rape in the Third Degree (P.L. 130.35): This is a class E felony that carries the potential for up to four years in prison and a fine of $5,000. If you have been convicted of a felony within the last ten years you will face a more severe sentencing range. If you have no prior record and there are mitigating circumstances, you may be able to get less than one year of incarceration.
  • Rape in the Second Degree (P.L. 130.30): This is a class D felony that could result in a prison sentence up to seven years and a fine of up to $5,000. You will face an even more severe sentencing range if you have been convicted of a felony within the last ten years.
  • Rape in the First Degree (P.L. 130.35): This is a class B felony. If convicted, you face up to 25 years in prison, plus fines of up to $5,000. Also, if you have been convicted of a felony within the last ten years, you will face a worse sentencing range.

The consequences of a rape conviction are severe. If you are convicted, the severity of your sentence will depend on numerous factors. The best thing you can do to get a fair result is to contact an NYC rape lawyer to make sure that you strategically navigate your case to get the best possible result.

Rape in the First Degree

Rape in the First Degree is the most serious rape charge you can face. Defined in P.L. 130.35, Rape in the First Degree is charged when the defendant is accused of engaging in sexual intercourse with another person in the following circumstances:

  1. By forcible compulsion;
  2. With someone who is physically helpless and therefore incapable of giving their consent;
  3. With someone who is less than 11 years old; or
  4. With someone who is less than 13 years old and the defendant is 18 years or older.

For instance, you can be charged with Rape in the First Degree if you allegedly had sex with someone through the use of physical force or if they were unconscious or otherwise unable to resist.

Rape in the Second Degree

P.L. 130.30 defines Rape in the Second Degree as follows:

  1. When a defendant is 18 years or older and then engages in sexual intercourse with someone who is younger than 15; or
  2. Engaging in sexual intercourse with another person who is mentally disabled or incapacitated and therefore unable to give their consent.

Rape in the Second Degree fits only a narrow range of offenses, namely having sexual intercourse with someone who is mentally disabled or younger than 15.

Rape in the Third Degree

P.L. 130.25 defines Rape in the Third Degree as follows:

  1. The defendant engages in sexual intercourse with another person who is incapable of giving their consent for some reason other than being less than 17 years old; or
  2. The defendant is 21 years old or older and engages in sexual intercourse with someone less than 17 years old; or
  3. The defendant engages in sexual intercourse with another person without their consent for some reason other than they are incapable of giving their consent.

The difference between being charged with Rape in the Third Degree and Rape in the First Degree can be unclear and hinge on small details. The facts of your case will be vital to your defense. An NYC rape lawyer can thoroughly investigate the facts of your case to ensure that you get the best possible result.

Breaking Down The Sex Offender Registry in New York

You will also be required to register as a sex offender if convicted of any rape offense. New York has three different levels of sex offenders:

  • Level 1: offenders with a low risk of committing a repeat offense
  • Level 2: offenders with a moderate risk of committing a repeat offense
  • Level 3: offenders with a high risk of committing a repeat offense and pose a threat to public safety

Level 1 offenders must register for 20 years, whereas level 2 and 3 offenders must register for life. Level 2 offenders can petition to be removed from the sex offender registry after 30 years if they have not committed any other offenses.

Determining an offender’s registration level involves the application of a complex point-based risk assessment based on the nature of the offense and the offender’s criminal history. If your risk assessment is 70 points or less, you will be considered a Level 1 offender. Level 2 offenders have a risk assessment score between 70 and 110 points. Level 3 offenders have a risk assessment score of more than 110 points.

For most people, registering as a sex offender is one of the heaviest consequences of a conviction. If you are facing a rape charge you should contact an NYC rape lawyer to make sure that your rights are protected.

New York’s Rape Shield Law

New York’s rape shield law prevents defendants from introducing evidence against the victim concerning their sexual conduct. However, exceptions to the rape shield law do exist in certain situations. The judge must approve the use of these exceptions after a separate hearing. An NYC rape lawyer can navigate these evidentiary proceedings to make sure that your rights are protected.

The five exceptions to New York’s rape shield law are as follows:

  1. The evidence proves or tends to prove the victim’s prior sexual conduct with you.
  2. The evidence proves or tends to prove that the victim has been previously convicted of prostitution in the last three years.
  3. The evidence rebuts evidence introduced by the prosecution concerning the victim’s failure to engage in sexual conduct during a given period.
  4. The evidence rebuts evidence introduced by the prosecution that you caused the victim’s pregnancy or disease or that you are the source of semen.
  5. The evidence is determined by the court to be relevant to the proceeding and admissible in the interests of justice.

An experienced NYC rape lawyer can investigate your case and determine whether any of the evidence falls within one of these exceptions.

Contact NYC Rape Lawyer if You Have Been Charged with Rape

NYC rape lawyer Cody Warner has helped thousands of clients across New York City strategically navigate their cases to get great outcomes. Whether your case is dismissed, resolves with a plea, or goes to trial, Cody has the experience and knowledge you need to build an effective legal strategy. Contact Cody to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case so that Cody can determine the best path forward.