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Date Rape is Still Rape

November 29th, 2013 at 4:00 pm

Many people believe that date rape is not as serious as other kinds of rape.  However, the only reason for the differentiation between the two terms is to specify the status of the involved parties.  For example, the term “rape” generally happens between two strangers, while “date rape” or “acquaintance rape” happens between two people who previously knew each other on some level.  Date rape can happen on a date, between two friends, between two people in a relationship, or between members of a former couple.  Furthermore, because date rape regularly occurs after a date or a party, the term often indicates that alcohol or drugs played a role in the conduct.

Date Rape is Still RapeSome offenders believe that accusations of date rape are not as serious as other types of rape charges, and that they will face less severe consequences if they force sex with someone they already know.  This belief is mistaken, as Illinois law does not differentiate between types of rape.  Prosecutors charge any rape act, regardless of the status of the parties, under 720 ILCS 5/11-1.20 for criminal sexual assault or 720 ILCS 5/11-1.30 for aggravated criminal sexual assault.

What constitutes criminal sexual assault?

The charge of criminal sexual assault is a Class 1 Felony and applies to anyone who allegedly commits an act of sexual penetration by using force or the threat of force.  The charge also applies to sex when the accused knew the victim would be unable to give knowing consent or is unable to understand the nature of the sexual act.  Therefore, this statute applies directly to many date rape situations in which the accuser claims to have been under the influence of alcohol or drugs and therefore was unable to protest.

A charge may be escalated to aggravated criminal sexual assault, a Class X Felony, under certain circumstances such as the accused used any time of weapon or caused any bodily harm to the victim.  It is not uncommon for some harm to occur in forceful date rape situations, so this charge is not reserved for stranger rape.

If convicted of criminal sexual assault, you may face mandatory prison time of four to fifteen years or six to thirty years for an aggravated charge.  Additionally, you will have to register with the Illinois Sex Offender Database, where information such as your name, address, and criminal conduct will be publicly available.  Therefore, date rape can result in very severe penalties that may affect your freedom, future employability, and life in general.

What should I do if I have been accused of date rape?

If you have been arrested or charged with any type of sexual assault, it is highly important that you contact an experienced Illinois criminal attorney as soon as possible.  Do not hesitate to contact the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley today.

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