Rape Defense Lawyer in Utah
Few things can be more terrifying than a rape allegation. The social stigma alone here in the Salt Lake area can be paralyzing, and the thought of trying to find a sympathetic ear to listen to your troubles can be overwhelming. You need a confidential source, which listens to your view and has the legal expertise to aggressively protect your rights and reputation.
In today’s increasingly connected world, you might even have to worry about social media coming into the picture. With a few venomous words and a picture posted online, you can find yourself completely isolated from everyone who you thought cared about you without any semblance of due process.
That’s why you need someone who’s ready to go the extra mile to protect you. With our 100+ years of experience, we can resolve your case quickly and in your best interest. We’ll give you the high level of personal attention you deserve.
Call Wasatch Defense Attorneys at 801.980.9965 today for a confidential, no-obligation case review.
Rape Laws in Utah
The definition of rape is having sexual intercourse without both parties’ consent. The law doesn’t care if you’re married to the victim, if you’re both drunk, or what sort of physical responsiveness was involved. If the other party claims to have been raped, the justice system believes it.
Rape of an Adult
In Utah, for the purposes of rape, anyone aged 14 or older is considered an adult. This is a first degree felony and carries a minimum mandatory sentence of 5 years in jail. This sentence goes up to a minimum of 15 years with life sentences and life without parole as further options if the court finds extenuating circumstances to be particularly harsh.
Rape of a Child
A person may be charged with rape of a child if he or she allegedly had sexual intercourse with a child under the age of 14. It is also classified as a first degree felony, but unlike with an adult, the minimum sentence is 25 years to life. Life without parole is another option, if serious bodily injury or a second offense was committed.
Rape Committed by a Juvenile
If the accused was under the age of 18 at the time the alleged rape occurred, the court cannot pass a sentence of life without parole. However, the crime will count as a previous offense should the person be accused again and being a juvenile does not reduce the mandatory minimum sentences.
What a Utah Rape Defense Lawyer Can Do For You
Many rape cases quickly turn into “he said, she said” affairs where the truth can be especially difficult to prove because of the nature of the offense. This means it is vitally important to make sure that what you said and what you did is presented in the best possible light. At Wasatch Defense Attorneys, we know how hard it can be to make your story heard impartially. Our years of experience means that we know the system inside and out and can help you every step of the way.
Frequently Asked Questions About Rape
What is the definition of rape in Utah?
Section 76-5-402 of the Utah Code defines rape as a person having “sexual intercourse with another person without the victim’s consent.” Rape, which is a first-degree felony, can be committed regardless if the rapist is married to the victim.
What NOT to do when charged with rape?
As with most crimes, there are both actions to do and not do if you have been accused of or charged with rape, a serious felony charge with severe consequences if convicted. If you are facing rape charges of any kind you should NOT do the following:
- Have any further contact or communication with the victim
- Speak with investigators or law enforcement officers without your lawyer present
- Agree to or ask for any sort of testing that is not mandatory, nor provide law enforcement any evidence without first consulting your lawyer
Can a rape victim drop charges?
No, the decision is up to the state. After a rape victim reports the incident to officials, law enforcement can decide whether they want to pursue further action or to press charges. Upon rare occasions, the state can still pursue criminal charges based on evidence, even if the victim wants the charges dropped.
Can a rape victim be forced to testify?
Under Utah law, crime victims who have been lawfully served with a subpoena do not have the right to refuse to testify. In most cases, it is believed the defendant has a right to their legal team cross-examining the accuser. There is ongoing controversy over whether a victim can be ordered to testify, sometimes in excruciating detail, as many believe that causes additional trauma to the victim.
What is the difference between rape and statutory rape?
As mentioned above, rape is any sort of sexual penetration that takes place without the victim’s consent. Statutory rape, on the other hand, is when a person has consensual sexual intercourse with someone under the age of consent, which in Utah is 18. Under that definition, persons 17 and younger are not legally able to consent to sex. There is a close-in-age exemption to Utah’s statutory rape law. Consensual sexual contact is not considered statutory rape if the teen is 16 and 17 and their partner is less than 7 years old, or between 7 and 10 years older, if that partner didn’t have reasonable knowledge of the minor’s age.
What is the statute of limitations for rape in Utah?
In Utah, there is no statute of limitations for rape, which means there is no time limit on when action can be taken.
What is the punishment for rape?
Rape is a felony in the first degree, so the consequences if convicted are severe. The punishment for rape depends on certain variables. In general, rape is punishable by five years to life in prison and up to $10,000 in fines. Rape of a child is punishable by anything from 25 years in prison to life without parole, depending on the circumstances, such as whether the child was caused bodily harm. If the defendant was younger than 18 when they committed the crime, they may receive a lesser punishment.
Does Utah allow termination of pregnancy or parental rights when a child is born from rape?
A woman who is impregnated as a result of rape may terminate the pregnancy. In Utah, the state can also terminate or limit the parental rights of the defendant if there is a conviction of rape. A convicted rapist can petition to have parental rights if the child was adopted out, placed in the custody of the state for at least a year, and it is in the best interest of the child.
Remain calm and contact an experienced Sex Crimes Lawyer today 801.980.9965 for a free, confidential consultation.
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