What Is the Difference Between Rape & Sexual Assault?

What Is the Difference Between Rape & Sexual Assault?

Sex offenses are taken extremely seriously in Oklahoma. If you were arrested for a sex crime, understanding the nature of the charges against you is essential to defend against the life-altering consequences of a criminal conviction.

In this blog, we’ll review key differences between sexual assault and rape in Oklahoma.

What Constitutes Sexual Assault in Oklahoma?

Regardless of the type or severity of the sex offense, it’s critical to seek sound counsel as soon as possible. A qualified sex crime defense attorney can leverage their comprehensive understanding of Oklahoma’s sex crime laws to establish a robust defense on your behalf and help you navigate the legal intricacies of your specific case in criminal court.

Under state law, “sexual assault” encompasses any non-consensual sexual act. In other words, sexual assault is committed when an offender subjects a victim to unwanted sexual contact. Keep in mind that you can still be arrested for sexual assault in situations where the victim couldn’t give consent due to incapacitation, such as being underage or impaired by drugs or alcohol.

How Is Rape Defined Under Oklahoma Law?

Rape is one of numerous sex offenses that fall under the umbrella of sexual assault. Under Oklahoma Statutes § 21-1111, rape is defined as non-consensual sexual intercourse involving the vaginal or anal penetration of a male or female who isn’t the spouse of the perpetrator. This is true regardless of whether the act occurred between parties of the same sex or different sexes.

Rape in the First vs. Second Degree

Rape is classified in the first degree or second degree depending on the severity of the crime, with first-degree rape being the most severe and second-degree rape being the least severe. However, it’s important to understand that rape is considered a felony offense regardless of the degree.

Understanding the type and nature of the rape charges against you is imperative to protect your hard-earned reputation and avoid the harsh penalties of a felony conviction. Under Oklahoma Statutes § 21-1114, the following acts constitute rape in the first degree:

  • Rape committed by a person over 18 years of age upon a person under 14 years of age;
  • Rape committed upon a person incapable through mental illness or any unsoundness of mind of giving legal consent regardless of the age of the person committing the crime;
  • Rape while the victim is intoxicated by a narcotic or anesthetic agent, administered by or with the privity of the accused as a means of forcing the victim to submit;
  • Rape while the victim is unconscious of the nature of the act and this fact is known to the accused;
  • Rape by means of force, violence, or threats of force or violence accompanied by apparent power of execution regardless of the age of the person committing the crime; or
  • Rape by instrumentation regardless of the age of the victim or the age of the person committing the crime.

In all other cases, rape is considered a second-degree offense. This includes statutory rape, a felony offense defined as sexual intercourse with a minor who is under the age of 16. Statutory rape is committed regardless of whether the minor consented to the act, as underage individuals cannot legally consent to sex under Oklahoma law.

Rape by Instrumentation

Rape by instrumentation constitutes first-degree rape in Oklahoma. It’s defined as non-consensual vaginal or anal penetration by fingers (digital penetration) or inanimate object without the victim’s consent (§ 21-1111.1).

Forcible Sodomy

Forcible sodomy is a sex offensedefined as engaging in non-consensual oral or anal sex, including acts in which the victim is incapable of giving consent due to incapacitation (§ 21-888).

What Are the Penalties for a Rape Conviction?

First-degree rape is punishable by death or 5 years to life in prison without parole, while a conviction for second-degree rape is punishable by 1-15 years of imprisonment.

Defending Against Rape Charges in Oklahoma

A felony conviction for sexual assault can result in lifelong imprisonment and even death. If you’re facing criminal charges for rape or any other sex offense, securing representation from a skilled defense lawyer is paramount to safeguarding your life and liberty. Your attorney can evaluate the unique circumstances of your case with a practiced legal eye and determine an effective legal strategy to employ in your defense.

Common defenses against sexual assault charges include:

  • Consent: Demonstrating that the sexual act was consensual can be a strong defense. Your lawyer can help you collect and present compelling evidence to fortify your claim, such as text messages, witness testimonies, and other forms of communication.
  • Mistaken identity: This defense argues that you weren’t the person who committed the crime. Your attorney can help you establish an alibi, DNA results, or other evidence to prove your absence at the time the offense was committed.
  • False allegations: Proving that the allegations against you are false can result in the charges being dismissed. A qualified defense lawyer can help you establish this defense with compelling evidence, such as identifying inconsistencies in the accuser’s story or presenting motives for lying.
  • Insufficient evidence: This defense challenges the prosecution’s evidence as inadequate to prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. From highlighting a lack of physical evidence or identifying unreliable witness testimonies, your lawyer can fight to reduce or dismiss the charges against you.
  • Mental Incapacity: This strategy argues that the defendant lacked the mental capacity to understand their actions due to mental illness or impairment. Your attorney can help you fortify your claim with medical assessments, expert testimonies, and other relevant evidence.

Turn to a Veteran-Owned Firm with 30+ Years of Experience

At Enlow Law, we understand how intimidating and terrifying it can be to face criminal charges. Fortunately, our Tulsa attorneys have decades of experience to aggressively defend your rights. Our veteran-owned firm understands that even good people make mistakes, which is why our highly skilled trial lawyers are committed to safeguarding your freedom and future. From violent crimes to gun crimes to drug trafficking, our criminal defense attorneys are well-versed in Oklahoma law to help you navigate your criminal case wisely and provide the robust defense you deserve.

If you were arrested for a crime in Tulsa, our fierce attorneys can fight tirelessly to reduce or dismiss the charges against you. Call (918) 212-5359 to schedule a consultation.

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