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Defense Against Date Rape Charges: Everything You Need to Know

Defense Against Date Rape Charges: Everything You Need to Know

According to the Code of Virginia, rape is defined as a sexual act done against a person’s will, by force, threat, intimidation, or by way of the victim’s “physical helplessness or mental incapacity.” What makes date rape different from other types of rape is the relationship between the victim and attacker. A rape becomes date rape if the two parties know one another, either as partners, friends, or newly introduced acquaintances. If someone accuses you of committing date rape, the consequences can be extremely severe, even life-altering. To protect yourself from wrongful conviction, learn everything you can about date rape charges, how they’re proven in court, and how best to defend your sex crime case.

Defining Date Rape

Contrary to popular belief, the act need not be violent to be considered sexual assault. If the victim in any way declines the sexual advancements, saying “no,” it is lawfully considered forced sex. Laws against rape forbid any type of sexual intercourse with a mentally or physically “helpless” person, including the disabled, drugged, or unconscious, who are unable to give consent. In many cases, date rape involves the use of disabling drugs, rendering the victim either unconscious or extremely impaired.

Date rape refers to sexual assault committed by someone with a romantic or sexual interest in the victim, as opposed to rape by a stranger. Statistically, at least half of all rapes are committed by a person the victim knew. Some surveys even say the number is more accurate around 80 percent. Traditionally, the term date rape applied to situations where the forced act of sex occurred when the victim and attacker were on a date or at a party. It could be between acquaintances, friends, a couple, or even spouses.

Proving Rape

The biggest question with date rape is consent. Because the alleged attack usually occurs between two people who know one another, whether or not mutual consent was attained is usually only discernable between those two individuals. For individuals facing charges of date rape, one of the best lines of defense is prove the alleged victim gave his or her consent. There have been cases of legitimate misunderstandings, where consent was seemingly communicated, but the other party misunderstood. However, with date rape, if drugs or copious amounts of alcohol were involved, the victim’s consent could be difficult to communicate, making the issue much more complex.

The Drugs Involved

The most common “date rape drug” is rophynol, typically called “roofies.” Other known date rape drugs are GHB and ketamine, which were more popularly used around the 1980’s and 1990’s. Sometimes these drugs caused weakness, confusion, short-term memory loss, or symptoms very similar to drunkenness. If combined with alcohol, the use of any of these drugs could be extremely dangerous, even deadly.

Penalties of Date Rape Conviction

Virginia state laws do not make specific rules for date rape, but consider date rape charge under the existing rape laws. This means a person convicted of date rape could face multiple years in prison, will be listed as a sex offender, and may have to pay steep fines. In some situations, especially where the rape was aggravated or there were multiple rapes, the person could be sentenced to decades behind bars.

Contact The Law Offices of Daniel J Miller for a free consultation regarding your criminal defense case.

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