Washington DC Rape Lawyer

Rape is an ugly word and that refers to one of the most severely penalized crimes in Washington DC. While other offenses may vary in degree, rape is an offense that no one wants to have on their criminal record.

If you are facing any type of rape charge, it is wise to talk to an experienced Washington DC rape lawyer. A knowledgeable sex crimes attorney could understand how to defend you against the charges and may be able to provide advice immediately in order to keep you from taking actions that could jeopardize your case.

DC Statutes

Crimes that are referred to in other jurisdictions as statutory rape, sexual assault, rape, or sexual battery all fall under the heading of “sexual abuse” in the DC code. There are four different degrees of felony sexual abuse and a misdemeanor version of sexual abuse.

Maximum penalties range in severity from six months in jail for misdemeanor sexual abuse to life imprisonment for first-degree sexual abuse. If a minor is involved, the penalties could increase substantially. A Washington DC rape lawyer could mitigate the penalties that an individual may face.

First-Degree Sexual Abuse

The most serious sex crime, first-degree sexual abuse is defined in section 22-3002 of the DC Code.  A person commits this offense when engaging in a “sexual act” in one of the following circumstances:

  • Using force against the other person
  • Threatening or using other means to cause the other person to believe there is a danger of death, injury or kidnapping (to the victim or any other person)
  • After the other person has been rendered unconscious
  • After giving the other person a drug or other substance (without permission) that impairs their judgment or control

A “sexual act” is defined in section 22-3001 to include acts involving penetration and certain forms of sexual contact.

First-degree sexual assault is considered a Class A felony. Those convicted may be sentenced to up to life in prison and be required to pay a fine of up to $125,000.

Second-Degree Sexual Abuse

Second-degree sexual abuse also involves sexual acts and is a serious felony punishable by up to 20 years in prison. An individual may be convicted of second-degree sexual abuse for committing a sexual act with someone they know (or should know) is not capable of understanding or refusing to participate.

If a person coerces another into engaging in a sexual act by a threat or fear involving something less than death, bodily injury or kidnapping, that act also may be considered second-degree sexual abuse. If a landlord threatened to evict a tenant unless the tenant agreed to have sex, and the tenant complied, that could be treated as second-degree sexual abuse, which would be referred to as rape in other jurisdictions.

Third and Fourth-Degree Sexual Abuse

Less serious but still felonies, third and fourth degree fourth-degree involve sexual contact rather than a sexual act, and for that reason would not be considered rape in most cases. This offense could occur when someone touches the intimate body parts of another either for sexual arousal or to humiliate or harass the other person.

Misdemeanor Sexual Abuse Could Be Equivalent to Statutory Rape

Misdemeanor sexual abuse is defined as making sexual contact or engaging in a sexual act when it is known or should be known that the other person did not consent. Penalties for this offense could include imprisonment for up to six months and a fine as high as $1,000.

Talking to a Washington DC Rape Attorney

With a crime as serious as rape, it may be wise not to take any chances. A seasoned Washington DC rape lawyer with experience defending clients against this charge in local courts may be able to devise the best defensive strategy for your situation. To learn how our experience can help you reach the best possible outcome in your case, contact our office now.