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The serious nature of rape charges in Pennsylvania

Rape charges are serious criminal charges and carry penalties and consequences. Rape occurs when an individual, through force or the threat of force, has sexual intercourse with another party. Rape can also occur when the individual has impaired the other party's ability to consent through intoxication or other means. Statutory rape also refers to sexual intercourse with a party who is deemed by law to be too young to consent.

Rape is a first-degree felony in Pennsylvania and can carry penalty of 20 years in prison. If the accused individual on the party alleging the rape used an intoxicating drug, an additional 10 years may be added to the prison sentence. In addition, the accused individual may face a $100,000 fine and be required to register as a sex offender.

Every individual facing criminal allegations and charges, including rape allegations and charges, has the right to a criminal defense. Possible criminal defenses to rape allegations and charges include consent; that no force or threat of force was used; intoxication in limited circumstances; insanity; or age. Because a strong criminal defense strategy is unique to the situation and circumstances each accused individual is facing, and because laws related to rape and sexual assault can change, trained guidance can be important for accused individuals.

When an individual has been accused of rape, it is important that they are familiar with the legal resources available to them. The criminal justice system can be intimidating and overwhelming which is why accused individuals should be familiar with the rights afforded to them under that system if they have been accused of a crime.

Source: FindLaw, "Pennsylvania Rape Laws," Oct. 22, 2017

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