First degree sexual assault charges in Rhode Island
First Degree Sexual Assault under Rhode Island law is commonly known as rape and consists of any form of unwanted or non-consensual sexual penetration.
The penetration may be accomplished by any means, to include penis, finger, tongue, or object, and may involve the vagina, anus or mouth of another person.
The penetration may also occur between two or more persons, regardless of sex or sexual orientation. Under Rhode Island Criminal law, First Degree Sexual Assault may be found at Rhode Island General Laws, Section 11-37-2.
Ways to commit the crime of first degree sexual assault
A person commits First Degree Sexual Assault by engaging in sexual penetration with another in any of the following four ways:
- by the use of force of coercion
- where the accused knows or has reason to know the victim is mentally or physically disabled or helpless
- through the use of concealment or surprise
- the accused engaged in medical treatment or an examination of the victim for the non medical purpose of sexual arousal, stimulation or gratification.
Legal elements for first degree sexual assault
In order to be convicted of First Degree Sexual Assault, there must exist strong evidence of the following three legal elements:
- that the accused engaged in sexual penetration with another person
- for the purpose of sexual arousal or gratification
- that the penetration was accomplished by one of the four ways described above (i.e. by the use of force or coercion).
What is sexual penetration for first degree sexual assault in Rhode Island
Sexual penetration includes sexual intercourse, as is commonly known to occur between a penis and a vagina.
However, Rhode Island criminal law regarding First Degree Sexual Assault also includes any intrusion, however slight, by any body part or object into the genital or anal opening of another, as well as oral sex and anal intercourse.
Penetration by force or coercion
Sexual penetration by force or coercion means overcoming the will of the victim by the use of physical force or violence. This includes the actual use of or the threatened use of a weapon.
It also includes compelling the victim to submit to sexual penetration by threatening the use force or violence, if the victim reasonably believed that the defendant had the present ability to carry out such threats.
Threats may occur at any time and be either express or implied, spoken, or unspoken.
Potential punishment if convicted of first degree sexual assault in Rhode Island
First Degree Sexual Assault is a capital felony under Rhode Island law. This means that upon a conviction of this sex offense, a defendant may be sentenced to a term in prison of not less than 10 years and up to life.
This penalty may be found at Rhode Island General Laws, Section 11-37-3. Because this is considered a sex crime, convicted offenders who are released from prison must comply with sex offender registration and counseling requirements.
The law has few crimes as serious and as punitive as First Degree Sexual Assault. If you are charged with a sex assault offense, do not hire just any criminal lawyer. Hire one with deep experiences defending this unique and most serious type of crime.
Schedule a free consultation with John L. Calcagni, III top-rated Rhode Island Sexual Assault Defense Lawyer experienced with first-degree sexual assault charges.