Rape Definitions Vary from State to State

On the surface, the definition of rape seems to be fairly straightforward to most people. However, this is not the case when it comes to the law and how this is charged as a crime against the person.

Rape seems to be a crime that everyone knows about, knows what it means, and what happens when someone gets charged with it — but do they really? Rape is actually a legal term and it is subject to various definitions in many jurisdictions.

If you are charged with rape, immediately contact a criminal defense attorney and find out precisely what you are being charged with, as rape may be defined either in a very narrow manner or on the opposite end of the spectrum, extremely broad. To say that this area of the law is somewhat confusing is an understatement.

Those jurisdictions where rape fits into a very narrow definition normally prosecute rape only as being committed by a man against a woman, and there must be penetration with the penis. If there is no penetration, there is no rape. By extension, there would also be no rape charges for a man raping another man, nor any thought given to women raping.

Those parts of the country where the rape definition is a great deal wider, will charge rape as ANY penetration of a woman by a man. The broad expansion of this definition means that sexual assaults may also be charged as rapes, and by extension any man who penetrates a woman orally or anally may also be charged. These charges would not stand a chance according to the first narrow definition of rape.

These two examples of rape definitions are merely the tip of the iceberg and may also include forced penetration with a penis or other objects, and that means rape charges would then be applicable to women. With this type of a definition, any “person” against another “person” could then commit a rape.

As you may have guessed, with such wide variables involved in defining rape, any given jurisdiction’s rape statistics are going to be skewed due to their method of reporting. This is one of the reasons why trying to figure out the national stats for rape is almost impossible.

In all instances where you are faced with a rape charge, or think you may be charged with rape, contact a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney. You need to know what the law is in your particular jurisdiction and your lawyer needs to know precisely how you have been charged in order to prepare a defense.

Jeremiah Denslow is a Dayton Divorce Lawyer in Dayton Ohio with Denslow Law Firm. The firm specializes in family law. Jeremiah also practices Dayton criminal defense. To learn more, visit Denslowlaw.com.

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