If you or somebody you love is been charged with rape this video to teach the basics of Alabama rape laws.
Generally, the crime of rape means that there has been some form of sexual intercourse with a member of the opposite sex and the intercourse was not consensual.
Alabama recognizes two different degrees of rape.
The most serious is Rape, first degree. This crime can be committed in three different ways.
First, a person can engage in sexual intercourse a
member of the opposite sex by what's known as forcible compulsion.
Under Alabama law forcible compulsion means someone has used some form of physical force to overcome earnest resistance or, they have made, some form of threat either a direct or implied threat that puts a person in fear of imminent death or serious physical injury to either themselves or even to another person.
An obvious example would be a person who physically forces themselves upon a woman who was trying to resist them. But the crime can also, occur by somebody making a threat such as “I'm going to kill you if you don't let me do this” or, “I'm going to kill your kid if you don't let me have sex with you.”
The second way the crime of rape in the first degree can be committed is when a person has sexual intercourse with a member of the opposite sex where that person is incapable of consent because they are either physically helpless or mentally incapacitated. If a woman was tied to a bed where she was physically helpless and a man had nonconsensual intercourse with her that is rape, first degree.
Rape in the first degree can also occur when a person is rendered mentally incapacitated. The classic example of this is where some guy slips a woman a date rape drug and the drug renders a woman mentally incapacitated. When a woman is given a date rape drug or gets roofied she is not able to consent to sex and this is another version of the crime of rape in the first degree.
The third way the crime of rape first degree occurs is when a person who is 16 years of age or older has sexual intercourse with a person of the opposite sex who is under the age of 12.
Rape is a serious crime. And rape, first degree is the most serious level of rape in Alabama. It carries a maximum sentence of life for 99 years in prison. The minimum sentence is 10 years in prison, however, if the victim was a child under 12 the minimum sentences 20 years in prison. If a firearm or other deadly weapon was used or was attempted to be used, in the rape the minimum sentence is 20 years in prison
In addition to these consequences, a person convicted of a sex offense is subject to Alabama's sex offender registration and notification laws. These laws require a person to be registered as a sex offender and that the public be notified that the individual is a registered sex offender. 13A-6-61
The next type of rape under Alabama law is rape, second degree. This crime can occur in one of two ways.
The first is someone who is 16 years of age or older has sexual intercourse with somebody who is under 16 and I was older than 12.
This law applies as long as the accused person is at least two years older than the person of the opposite sex. To put that in plain English, if a 16-year-old has sex with a 15-year-old that would not be rape under the statute. Likewise, if a girl who was one day away from her 16th birthday voluntarily had sex with her boyfriend who was exactly 18 years old, he would be guilty of rape because there would be more than a two-year span between them. If she waited until her 16th birthday or after, it would not be rape (assuming consensual sexual relations) because this law applies to somebody who is under 16.
You need to be aware that while a 15-year-old may voluntarily and perhaps enthusiastically have sexual relations with somebody who is two years older than them, that person is committing a crime because, under Alabama law, a person under the age of 16 is not capable of giving legal consent to sexual intercourse.
In addition, it is no defense even if the girl lies about being older and even if she appears to look much older than her age. This crime is a "strict liability" crime. In other words, if somebody has sex with a person who is less than 16 and more than 12 and there's more than a two-year span between them it is rape, second degree.
For this type of rape, the issue of consent does not apply because the law says a person under 16 is not legally capable of consenting. The issue is whether or not there is proof beyond a reasonable doubt of sexual intercourse between the parties. To give an example, if 18-year-old Bonnie the babysitter has sex with 15-year-old Randy she would be guilty of in the second degree even if Randy was a willing and enthusiastic participant.
There is another way the crime of rape second degree can be committed. If somebody engages in sexual intercourse with a member of the opposite sex who is incapable of giving consent because they are mentally defective, that is another form of rape, second degree.
A person is mentally defective if they suffer from some sort of mental disease or defect that renders them incapable of appraising the nature of their conduct.
Whether or not somebody is mentally defective is a factual determination; this means that in a jury trial, the jury must decide if the person suffered a degree of mental disease where that person isn't capable of consenting to have sex.
Rape in the second degree is a class B felony under Alabama law. The punishment is from 2 to 20 years in prison. If the victim was a child under 12 or a firearm or other deadly weapon was used (or attempted to be used) in committing the crime, the minimum sentence is 10 years.
In addition to these consequences, a person convicted of a sex offense is subject to Alabama's sex offender registration and notification laws. These laws require a person convicted of a sex crime to be registered as a sex offender and that the public is to be notified.
If you or somebody you care about is charged with rape they are facing very serious consequences. They should try to get an attorney who is experienced with these kinds of cases and who they feel comfortable with. If you or someone you care about is faced with rape in North Alabama, please feel free to give us a call here at Segal and Segal. Our number is below.