Sentence for Rape: Understanding the Legal Consequences
Rape charges can inflict swift, devastating harm to your reputation and other aspects of your daily life. A rape conviction can carry a sentence of up to life in prison, depending on the circumstances of the case.
Our team at the New Mexico Criminal Law Offices knows that not everyone accused of rape is guilty. Sex crimes stir up strong emotions and can lead to prosecutors overcharging the accused to deflect any anger from loved ones away from themselves. A qualified attorney can review the details of your case and determine the average sentence for rape in similar scenarios. Contact New Mexico Criminal Law Offices today to schedule an appointment with a member of our team.
Rape Charges in New Mexico
New Mexico refers to rape charges as criminal sexual penetration. NMSA § 30-9-11 defines criminal sexual penetration as unlawfully and intentionally causing someone to engage in sexual intercourse, fellatio, cunnilingus, or anal sex or causing penetration, to any extent and with any object, of the anal or genital openings of another person. Criminal sexual penetration in the first degree occurs when the crime is perpetrated:
- Against a child under thirteen years old; or
- By use of force or coercion that results in great bodily harm or great mental anguish to the victim.
Criminal sexual penetration in the second degree occurs when the crime is perpetrated:
- By use of force or coercion on a child between thirteen and eighteen years old;
- On an inmate confined in a correctional facility or jail when the perpetrator is in a position of authority over the inmate;
- By use of force or coercion that results in injury to the victim;
- By the use of coercion when the perpetrator is aided or abetted by one or more parties;
- In the commission of another felony; or
- When the perpetrator is armed with a deadly weapon.
Criminal sexual penetration in the third degree occurs when the act is accomplished through the use of force or coercion.
Criminal sexual penetration in the fourth degree includes an act perpetrated on a child between thirteen and sixteen years old with a perpetrator who is at least eighteen years old and at least four years older than the victim. It also includes penetration with a child between thirteen and eighteen years old by certain school employees who are at least eighteen years old and at least four years older than the victim.
What Is the Sentence for Rape in New Mexico?
Criminal sexual penetration in the first degree is considered a first-degree felony. A first-degree felony is punishable by up to eighteen years in prison and a fine of up to $15,000
Criminal sexual penetration in the second degree is a second-degree felony. A second-degree felony is generally punishable by up to nine years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000. However, a sex offenses committed against a minor are punishable by up to fifteen years in prison and a fine of up to $2,500.
Criminal sexual penetration in the third degree is a third-degree felony. A third-degree felony is punishable by up to three years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000.
Criminal sexual penetration in the fourth degree is a fourth-degree felony. A fourth-degree felony is punishable by up to eighteen months in prison and a fine of up to $5,000.
What Is Considered Use of Force or Coercion?
The use of force or coercion during criminal sexual penetration increases the potential penalties for a conviction. New Mexico (NMSA § 30-9-10) defines “force or coercion” as the:
- Use of physical force or violence;
- Use of threats of physical violence or force against the victim or another when the victim believes there is a present ability to execute the threats;
- Perpetration of criminal sexual penetration or contact when the perpetrator knows or has reason to know that the victim is unconscious, asleep, otherwise physically helpless, or suffers from a mental condition that renders the victim incapable of understanding the nature or consequences of the act;
- Use of threats, including threats of physical punishment, kidnapping, extortion, or retaliation directed against the victim or another when the victim believes there is an ability to execute the threats; or
- Perpetration of criminal sexual penetration contact by a psychotherapist on his patient, with or without the patient’s consent, during the course of psychotherapy or within a period of one year following the termination of psychotherapy.
Physical or verbal resistance from the victim is not required to prove force or coercion. Unless the force or coercion used is beyond that inherent in most rape cases, third degree criminal sexual penetration is often most appropriate.
What Factors Can Increase a Sentence for Rape?
Aggravated criminal sexual penetration occurs when the crime is committed against a child under thirteen with an intent to kill or with a depraved mind regardless of human life. Aggravated criminal sexual penetration is considered a first-degree felony, like non aggravated criminal sexual penetration. However, the penalties for aggravated sexual penetration increase to a potential life sentence and a fine of up to $17,500.
How Can a Lawyer Help Me Avoid a Prison Sentence for Rape? Contact New Mexico Criminal Law Offices to Find Out
Our team has decades of experience navigating New Mexico courts to help clients secure favorable results. A criminal defense lawyer can benefit your case by:
- Gathering statements from potential witnesses;
- Requesting a copy of the police report;
- Determining whether a legal defense applies to your case;
- Building a case strategy to bolster your innocence;
- Collecting cell phone records;
- Reviewing social media accounts and messages;
- Locating evidence to prove your alibi; and
- Preparing your case for trial, if necessary.
We will do whatever it takes to build a solid argument and discuss reducing or dismissing your charges with the prosecuting attorney.
Our team is committed to conducting a thorough investigation of your charges, listening to your side of the story, and presenting you with legal advice and recommendations to suit your situation. Contact New Mexico Criminal Law Offices today so we can get started.