West Chester

Rape Attorney

Rape allegations in West Chester, PA, can have serious repercussions on your life. Being convicted of a sex crime in Pennsylvania can lead to prison and mandatory registration as a sex offender. Not only that, but a baseless accusation can result in a stigma that is only enhanced by public scrutiny. You have a lot at stake, and you need to use every tool at your disposal to defend your constitutional rights, freedom, and future. Because of all of the sudden and significant consequences of rape charges, it is critical to work with a rape attorney who can fight these charges.

As a veteran defense attorney and former Chester County prosecutor, Michael J. Skinner combines experience on both sides of rape cases with a dedication towards protecting his clients and pursuing the best possible results. He understands how prosecutors view evidence, can anticipate their arguments, and how they frame arguments. This insight is critical in building an effective defense and securing a dismissal, charge reduction, or acquittal. Attorney Skinner has extensive experience defending rape against charges in Southeastern Pennsylvania and knows what it takes to help you.

Contact Skinner Law Firm today at (610) 436-1410 or online to set up a free and confidential consultation.

Pennsylvania Rape Law & Charges

(18 PA Cons Stat §3121)- Every state has its own sexual assault, sexual battery, and rape statutes. This is because each state defines these offenses differently. When someone accuses you of rape or another form of sexual misconduct, you need to understand what a prosecutor can and cannot charge you with under Pennsylvania law. A rape lawyer can explain the law, the statutory penalties, and how to best defend yourself.

A prosecutor can charge you with a first-degree felony for rape if you engage in sexual intercourse with a victim:

  • By force;
  • By threats of force that would prevent resistance by a reasonable person;
  • Who is unconscious;
  • Who you know is unaware that sexual intercourse is taking place;
  • Whose power to appraise or control their behavior you have substantially impaired by administering drugs, intoxicants, or other methods of preventing resistance without the victim’s knowledge; or
  • Who is incapable of giving consent due to a mental disability.

Rape Involving A Child (18 PA Cons Stat §3121(c))

Rape offenses against children carry distinct penalties in Pennsylvania. If you perform sex with a minor who is younger than 13 years old, you can be found guilty of a first-degree felony. Rape of a child punishable by up to 40 years in state prison.

If your actions resulted in the minor suffering serious bodily injuries, you could be penalized with up to life in prison.

Involuntary Deviate Sexual Intercourse

Under (18 PA Cons Stat §3123), prosecutors can also charge you with a first-degree felony if you perform deviate sexual intercourse with a victim:

  • By force;
  • By threats of force that would prevent resistance by a reasonable person;
  • Who is unconscious;
  • Who you know is unaware that sexual intercourse is taking place;
  • Whose power to appraise or control their behavior you have substantially impaired by administering drugs, intoxicants, or other methods of preventing resistance without the victim’s knowledge;
  • Who is incapable of giving consent due to a mental disability; or
  • Who is younger than 16 years old, and you are four or more years older than the victim, and you two are not married.

Rape Penalties in PA

Unless otherwise designated by the Pennsylvania statute, rape is a first-degree felony offense. This crime is punishable by up to $25,000 in fines and up to 20 years in prison.

However, if the victim is a child younger than 13 years old, you face up to 40 years old. If that child suffered serious bodily injuries, you could be imprisoned for life.

Depending on the facts of your case, you may face additional penalties upon conviction. You might receive an additional 10 years in prison and fines up to $100,000 if you engaged in sex with a victim who was impaired at the time and unable to appraise or control their actions.

This impairment must have been caused by your use of substances intended to prevent the victim’s resistance through the inducement of euphoria, memory loss, or other effects. Also, the use of the substance must have been without the alleged victim’s knowledge.

Can I Be Convicted of Rape of My Spouse?

Yes. You can be charged and convicted of rape or involuntary deviate sexual intercourse against a spouse if the prosecution can establish all of the elements of the crime. Being married to an individual is not a defense when the sexual activity was not consensual

There are certain, specific circumstances in which marriage is an affirmative defense. Your lawyer will defend you by proving you were married to the alleged victim if you are accused of having a sexual relationship with a minor. If you were lawfully married to the minor and the sexual activity was consensual, you have a strong defense.

Defending Against Rape Allegations

False allegations of rape are more common that people like to admit and witnesses sometimes get things wrong. Law enforcement has also been known to take statements people make out of context or pursue suspects too aggressively. In any event,  when you are facing allegations that you performed non-consensual oral, anal, or vaginal sex on another person, the first thing you should do is avoid making any statements to police. These situations cannot be explained away. The best way to protect yourself is to contact a lawyer experienced in defending rape cases.

Hiring a qualified defense attorney who understands the intricacies of Pennsylvania law along with the processes involved in sex crime investigations, will give you a much better chance at fighting the charges and getting them reduced, dismissed, or acquitted.

Some common defenses to rape allegations are:

  • The other party consented to the activity.
  • The other party is lying and has ulterior motives, such as regret, embarrassment, revenge, divorce, or child custody.
  • There has been a mistake of identity, and you are not the culprit.
  • You have an alibi for the date and time of the offense.
  • The DNA evidence points to another perpetrator.
  • You reasonably believed the other person was an adult and capable of legally consenting to sexual activity.
  • The other party lied about their age, and you had no reason to believe they were a minor.
  • A child accuser was coached or influenced by improper interview techniques.
  • A child accuser is suffering from false memories.

Contact a Chester County Rape Attorney Now

If another person accused you of rape, you must explore your defense options as soon as possible. Time-sensitive evidence, documents, and testimony should be gathered immediately. This allows your rape lawyer to develop a strong and effective defense. Sometimes, an effective attorney can resolve a rape case before charges are formally filed. During your free consultation with Skinner Law Firm, you will learn more specific information about your charges and situation. This is just the first step toward protecting your future, fighting the allegations, and moving on.

Contact Skinner Law Firm today at (610) 436-1410 or through our online form.

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