Second Degree Rape Charges in Missouri
December 7, 2021
Rape is a serious offense regardless of the charge. However, the differences in penalties between first and second-degree rape in Missouri are stark.
Second-degree rape charges in Missouri can incur class D felony charges, mandatory prison time, and fines. First-degree rape penalties are much harsher – up to life imprisonment.
If you’re facing rape charges in Jefferson City, Missouri, it’s in your best interest to hire an experienced rape defense lawyer as soon as possible. The attorneys at Kirsch & Kirsch understand how devastating an unwarranted and false rape allegation can be.
Contact us today for a free, confidential consultation. Continue reading to learn more about second-degree rape offenses in Missouri.
What is Second Degree Rape?
Under Mo. Rev. Stat. § 566.031, an individual commits rape in the second degree if they knowingly have sexual intercourse with someone else while without that person’s consent. Unfortunately for many defendants, Missouri does not give a clear definition of “consent.”
However, it can generally be defined as permission to engage in sexual activity.
With that in mind, most encounters that don’t involve a clear “no” can be interpreted differently. For example, a judge or jury can interpret silence as no consent or consent, depending on the situation and personal opinion.
Penalties For Second Degree Rape
Rape in the second degree is a class D felony in Missouri. Individuals convicted of 2nd-degree rape face:
- Up to seven years in prison
- Up to $10,000 in fines
- Registration on the sex offender’s list for life
In addition to the legal and criminal ramifications of a second-degree rape conviction, defendants also face many ancillary challenges. It can be difficult to find housing, employment, or even a social group after a 2nd-degree rape charge.
A skilled attorney for rape charges in Jefferson City, MO, can help you identify witnesses, schedule scientific testing, consult expert witnesses, and build a strong overall defense strategy.
First Degree Vs. Second Degree Rape – What Are The Differences?
What separates first-degree and second-degree rape is the use/threat of physical force and/or the victim’s capacity to give consent. Victims of second-degree rape have the capacity to give consent but allege that they did not.
Further, 2nd-degree rape doesn’t require the use of forcible compulsion.
For example, the following scenarios could be considered forms of rape in the 2nd degree:
- One partner didn’t consent to sex but had it anyway. After the encounter, the partner alleges rape.
- Both partners had a few drinks (not drunk), they have sex, afterward, the victim alleges rape.
- One partner gave consent for kissing but did not consent for intercourse, and the other partner misinterpreted.
As you can see, it can be challenging for an individual to defend themself under such uncertain criteria. However, depending on the circumstances, there are a few potential defenses available for second-degree rape charges. Continue reading to learn more.
Potential Defenses For Second Degree Rape Charges
Not all rape allegations are indicative of the truth. With that in mind, the most common defenses to rape charges include but are not limited to:
- False Allegation: The victim alleges rape to enact revenge or because they are ashamed of their decision to have sex with the defendant.
- Mistaken Identity: In some cases, the alleged victim isn’t 100 percent certain of the perpetrator’s identity. For example, the alleged act of rape in the second degree occurred at a party with loud music and in a dimly lit room.
- Mistaken Consent: A key factor in 2nd-degree rape charges is the defendant must know that the victim did not consent to sex. If the defendant honestly believed they were given consent, it may not be considered 2nd-degree rape. This is a very challenging defense to mount without a strong defense strategy.
If you’re facing second-degree rape charges in Missouri, you need a lawyer who knows the system, understands applicable law, and has experience with sex crime cases in Missouri.
Contact a Rape Defense Lawyer Today
Unfortunately, false accusations of rape happen far too often. If you’ve been charged with rape in the 2nd degree, the attorneys at Kirsch & Kirsch are here to help. We believe in fighting for our client’s reputation, freedom, and peace of mind.
We don’t back down, and we won’t stop until we’ve secured the best possible outcome for your case under the circumstances.