Third degree sexual assault charges in Rhode Island
Third Degree Sexual Assault under Rhode Island law consists of sexual intercourse between a person over age 18 and a person over age 14, but younger than age 16. Sexual relations with a person under age 14 is considered child molestation.
Third Degree Sexual Assault is the least serious form of sexual assault under Rhode Island criminal law.
Under Rhode Island Criminal law, Third Degree Sexual Assault may be found at Rhode Island General Laws, Section 11-37-6.
Legal elements for third degree sexual assault
In order to be convicted of Third Degree Sexual Assault, there must exist strong evidence of the following four legal elements:
- that the accused engaged in sexual penetration with another person
- for the purpose of sexual arousal or gratification
- that the defendant was over age 18
- the victim was over age 14, but younger than age 16
Consent is not a defense to third degree sexual assault
Force, resistance or lack of consent is not required for this offense. Under Rhode Island law, age 16 is the age limit for a person to consensually engage in sexual penetration with an adult (i.e. over age 18).
Even if the victim factually consented or agreed to have sexual intercourse, the law provides that until a person reaches age 16, he or she does not have the mental capacity to legally offer consent.
Therefore, the mere fact that the intercourse occurred, regardless of the circumstances, is sufficient to be guilty of Third Degree Sexual Assault.
Potential punishment if convicted of third degree sexual assault in Rhode Island
Third Degree Sexual Assault is a felony under Rhode Island law. A defendant convicted of this sex offense may be sentenced to a term in prison for not more than five years.
This penalty may be found at Rhode Island General Laws, Section 11-37-7. Because this is considered a sex crime, convicted offenders who are released from prison must comply with sex offender registration and counseling requirements.
If you have been charged with third-degree sexual assault and need the best Rhode Island Sexual Assault Defense Attorneys to defend your case, call (401) 351-5100 to schedule your free consultation with award-winning criminal defense lawyer John L. Calcagni III.