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Legal Defenses to Date Rape Charges

Legal Defenses to Date Rape Charges

Date rape is classified as a criminal offense. A prosecutor has the legal burden of proof to prove the defendant’s guilt “beyond a reasonable doubt” in order to get a conviction.

Minnesota Sex Crimes

Date rape is considered a criminal offense that can be prosecuted as a felony offense. Under Minnesota law, date rape is defined as forcible sexual contact during a voluntary engagement in which a person does not intend to engage in sexual activities and resists the contact. By law, a date rape victim does not have to verbally or physically object to the advance to demonstrate lack of consent.

Force is not an essential element to the legal definition of rape and sexual assault crimes. When a perpetrator physically overcomes the victim with or without force, this is still considered rape under the law. The main factor involves the issue of consent by the victim, which is lacking in many rape cases due to physical and/or mental impairment. Many date rape cases involve the use of alcohol and/or drugs, so victims are incapable of giving consent.

Over the last decade, date rape drugs like Rohypnol (“roofies”), Ketamine, and Gamma-hydroxybutyrate (GHB) have become increasingly common.  Since these drugs have no taste, they can easily be dissolved in a drink without a person’s knowledge. Date rape drugs cause a victim to become extremely dizzy and drowsy and lose consciousness, so consent is impossible. Date rape drugs have become a common weapon used by perpetrators in nightclubs and bars, college campuses, and social situations. In Minneapolis, sex crime attorneys see a large number of date rate crimes that involve both alcohol and date rape drugs.

Legal Defenses for Date Rape

Date rape is often difficult to prove, even for a skilled criminal prosecutor. Typically, date rape cases become a “he said, she said” situation with largely circumstantial evidence. Additionally, the relationship between a victim and a perpetrator often clouds the facts of a case and leads to an abundance of reasonable doubt. Legally, the relationship between a victim and a perpetrator do not define the crime. Many date rapes are committed by friends, relatives, and acquaintances. The mere fact that a victim knows his/her assailant is irrelevant to the legal definition of rape.

In a date rape case, the criminal prosecutor has the burden of proof to prove the defendant’s guilt “beyond a reasonable doubt.” This of often difficult due to lack of physical evidence and proof of consent. Date rape cases rarely have physical evidence that can prove anything other than the occurrence of sexual contact. Consent or lack of consent almost always comes down to the word of the accuser against the word of the defendant. Without these facts, it’s difficult for a prosecutor to secure a sex crime conviction and easier for a defense sex crime attorney to get the case dismissed.

Lack of Physical Evidence

In sexual assault cases, physical evidence often involves DNA. In date rape cases, DNA evidence is often not available because many date rape victims do not report the rape or seek medical treatment for days or weeks after the event. Many victims never report the rape. When too much time goes by after a sexual assault, DNA is gone or no longer useful as evidence. DNA evidence must be collected promptly.

Lack of Consent

The very premise of a date rape accusation is not disputing that sexual contact occurred, only that it occurred without informed consent of both parties involved. If a victim has previously consented to sexual intimacy with a perpetrator, proving date rape based on non-consensual sex will be difficult. A Minneapolis sex crime attorney with experienced criminal defense can build a strong case for an individual charged with date rape when there is no evidence to prove guilt.

Minnesota Penalties

In Minnesota, sex crimes can have serious consequences for an offender. Criminal sexual assault charges can result in serious penalties including steep fines and jail time, as well as a social stigma and sex offender registration. When a person is arrested, charged, or convicted of date rape, the consequences may have a life-long impact. Date rape is a serious criminal offense in Minnesota that can be charged as a felony. A Minneapolis sex crime attorney who can provide legal advice is essential to a person arrested and charged with date rape.

Rape and sexual assault falls under “criminal sexual conduct” in Minnesota. These crimes are divided into five different categories ranging from First Degree to Fifth Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct with different penalties, based on the age of the victim and the circumstances of the crime. A First Degree conviction carries a fine of $40,000 and a maximum prison term of 30 years. Minnesota also has a mandatory minimum sentence of 12 years in prison for this crime.

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