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Home » Choose the Right Criminal Defense Lawyer! » Tennessee Sex Crimes: Rape

Tennessee Sex Crimes: Rape

male hand grabs female wrist in dim parking garageRape is an incredibly serious crime, and it’s absolutely crucial that trials related to such situations are conducted fairly. When you’re wrongfully accused of committing a sexual assault of any severity, you could wind up spending the rest of your life paying enormous consequences for something you didn’t even do. And that’s just for the legal punishments – the social repercussions are often much worse. If you’re facing such charges in the state of Tennessee, you need to know exactly what your rights are and how the law defines assaults of rape.

Rape Charges in Tennessee

The state of Tennessee maintains that a sexual assault qualifies as rape if it involves unlawful penetration. The term “penetration” is often misleading, for there are many sexual acts that legally fit this definition, including:

  • Anal sex,
  • Vaginal sex,
  • Fellatio,
  • Cunnilingus,
  • “Intrusions” within anal or genital orifices.

It’s common for clients to approach us in confusion during cases like this, especially when it comes down to the question of, “was it rape?” One of the most frequently asserted misconceptions is that semen must be ejaculated for penetration to qualify as rape. This is NOT true. Intercourse does not have to be “accomplished” for a sexual assault to be considered a rape.

Rape vs. Aggravated Rape

State law categorizes rape crimes into two classes of severity. Both are considered felonies, but one should not underestimate the importance of knowing the difference between rape and aggravated rape.

It has very much to do with circumstance. The actual act of penetration defined the same for either crime. For rape which is not aggravated to be charged, at least one of the following must be evidenced:

  • The offender committed the act by fraudulent means.
  • The offender used forceful or coercive efforts.
  • Consent on behalf of the victim was not granted and the offender was aware of the fact.
  • The victim was mentally unstable or handicapped and the offender was aware of this. This includes intoxication.

Aggravated rape is, in essence, rape which is committed through much more violent or threatening means. If one of the following can be proven, then the offender will be facing charges for aggravated rape:

  • The victim incurred injuries as a result of the act.
  • Forceful or coercive efforts were used which involved the threat of a weapon.
  • The offender was assisted by other persons in order to restrain or incapacitate the victim.

Consequences of Rape Crimes

Both types of rape are considered high-class felonies by the state of Tennessee. Aggravated rape falls under Class A. The charges for this include a prison sentence ranging from fifteen to sixty years and maximum fines of $50,000. Rape which is not aggravated is categorized as a Class B felony. These charges include prison sentences ranging between eight and thirty years, as well as maximum fines of up to $25,000.

The social stigma should not be underrated as a consequence. Those charged with rape are permanently listed as  sex offenders, and the crime remains on their criminal records permanently. Offenders of rape find it extremely difficult to form relationships, seek employment, and generally experience a great decrease in their quality of life.

Statutory Rape Crimes

Statutory rape offenses refer to sexual activity between a minor child and a legal adult. In Tennessee, a person under the age of 18 is legally considered incapable of giving consent for sexual contact. If an adult engages in such behavior with a minor, then he or she is guilty of statutory rape.

Aggravated statutory rape refers to any crime of this nature in which the victim was penetrated. These crimes are punished more severely than statutory rape itself, although both are felony offenses that are worth several years in prison.

Hire Nashville Criminal Attorneys

At Turner Law Offices, P.C., we know how serious these types of charges are. Our team of attorneys has years of experience dealing with numerous rape cases across a wide variety of circumstances. If you’re wrongfully accused of a sexual assault, especially if the word “rape” is being used, then you should seek immediate legal representation. Call today, or go online to set up your Free Initial Consultation, and meet with a lawyer who is ready and waiting to protect your rights.

(615) 259-2660