Rape Charges

Skilled Lebanon Rape Defense Attorneys Protecting Your Rights

Representing clients facing rape charges in in Nashville, Mt. Juliet, Cookeville, and throughout Tennessee

Defense against a sex crime or sex offense charge requires skill, strategy, and experience. Although our lawyers understand that clients are innocent until proven guilty, those accused of crimes like rape face an uphill battle, especially in the court of public opinion. Competent and reputable attorneys focus only on you and your case, protecting your reputation and your constitutional rights.

If you face a rape charge in Tennessee, or any other charges related to sexual assault, you need experienced legal representation. Contact the Lebanon criminal defense attorneys at Lowery, Lowery & Cherry, PLLC today.

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What is the definition of rape in Tennessee?

Tennessee law has multiple sexual offenses, but rape is very specific. To be convicted of rape, sexual intercourse must have occurred; otherwise, it cannot be classified as rape. Under this definition, there are six different rape charges.

Rape

Rape is a Class B felony. A conviction can result in prison for anywhere between eight and 30 years, and cost you up to $25,000 in fines. It’s defined as the “unlawful sexual penetration of a victim by the defendant or of the defendant by a victim accompanied by any of the following circumstances:

(1) Force or coercion is used to accomplish the act;

(2) The sexual penetration is accomplished without the consent of the victim and the defendant knows or has reason to know at the time of the penetration that the victim did not consent;

(3) The defendant knows or has reason to know that the victim is mentally defective, mentally incapacitated or physically helpless; or

(4) The sexual penetration is accomplished by fraud.”

Aggravated rape

Aggravated rape is a Class A felony charge, which means a conviction could land you in prison for anywhere between 15 and 60 years, and cost you up to $50,000 in fines. It’s defined as the “unlawful sexual penetration of a victim by the defendant or the defendant by a victim accompanied by any of the following circumstances:

(1) Force or coercion is used to accomplish the act and the defendant is armed with a weapon or any article used or fashioned in a manner to lead the victim reasonably to believe it to be a weapon;

(2) The defendant causes bodily injury to the victim;

(3) The defendant is aided or abetted by one (1) or more other persons; and

(A) Force or coercion is used to accomplish the act; or

(B) The defendant knows or has reason to know that the victim is mentally defective, mentally incapacitated or physically helpless.”

Rape of a child

The rape of a child is also a Class A felony, and is defined as “the unlawful sexual penetration of a victim by the defendant or the defendant by a victim, if the victim is more than three (3) years of age but less than thirteen (13) years of age.” There are additional penalties that come along with this type of conviction, including a satellite-based monitoring program.

Aggravated rape of a child

Aggravated rape of a child is a Class A felony, and is “the unlawful sexual penetration of a victim by the defendant or the defendant by a victim, if the victim is three (3) years of age or less.” There are additional penalties that come along with this type of conviction.

Statutory rape by an authority figure

This classification of rape is a Class B felony. It’s defined as “the unlawful sexual penetration of a victim by the defendant or of the defendant by the victim when:

(1) The victim is at least thirteen (13) but less than eighteen (18) years of age;

(2) The defendant is at least four (4) years older than the victim; and

(A) The defendant was, at the time of the offense, in a position of trust, or had supervisory or disciplinary power over the victim by virtue of the defendant's legal, professional, or occupational status and used the position of trust or power to accomplish the sexual penetration; or

(B) The defendant had, at the time of the offense, parental or custodial authority over the victim by virtue of the defendant's legal, professional, or occupational status and used the position to accomplish the sexual penetration.”

A conviction leaves you ineligible for probation or pre-trial diversion.

Mitigated statutory rape / Statutory rape / Aggravated statutory rape

This classification of rape charge goes as follows:

“(a) Mitigated statutory rape is the unlawful sexual penetration of a victim by the defendant, or of the defendant by the victim when the victim is at least fifteen (15) but less than eighteen (18) years of age and the defendant is at least four (4) but not more than five (5) years older than the victim.

(b) Statutory rape is the unlawful sexual penetration of a victim by the defendant or of the defendant by the victim when:

(1) The victim is at least thirteen (13) but less than fifteen (15) years of age and the defendant is at least four (4) years but less than ten (10) years older than the victim; or

(2) The victim is at least fifteen (15) but less than eighteen (18) years of age and the defendant is more than five (5) but less than ten (10) years older than the victim.

(c) Aggravated statutory rape is the unlawful sexual penetration of a victim by the defendant, or of the defendant by the victim when the victim is at least thirteen (13) but less than eighteen (18) years of age and the defendant is at least ten (10) years older than the victim.”

Mitigated and statutory rape are both Class E felonies, which are punishable with one to six years in prison, and a fine of up to $3,000. Aggravated statutory rape is a Class D felony, which comes with a prison sentence of between two and 12 years in prison, and a fine of up to $5,000.

How can a Tennessee rape defense attorney help?

If you face rape charges, including statutory rape charges, contact Lowery, Lowery & Cherry PLLC to speak to one of our attorneys who have years of experience. Our attorneys know how to seek out mitigating circumstances such as consensual sex or if the sexual act was committed after alcohol or drug use. Partner Jeff Cherry is a former Metro Police Officer; he knows how the D.A. will build the case against you, and can plan to rebut those arguments from the start.

Our sexual assault attorneys also understand that a rape defense usually revolves around forensic evidence that can include blood and DNA samples, and hair and fiber analysis. Our lawyers are skilled at investigating whether the police or the prosecution mishandled DNA or other evidence, or engaged in faulty procedures that led to your charges. Our experienced rape defense attorneys have years of experience with the process of discrediting invalid evidence, as well as unreliable witness testimony.

 

What you should know about spousal rape

Rape laws in Tennessee do not always apply to people who do not know each other. Domestic violence crimes usually involve assaults between people who live together or are married, and may carry a sexual component. There is no “spousal rape” law in Tennessee, but a spouse could be accused of rape, of sexual assault, and/or of domestic violence.

Most district attorneys maintain special offices to handle sex crimes and domestic violence cases, and anyone accused of domestic violence or spousal rape needs an excellent attorney on his or her side. It is also essential to hire an attorney earlier in the process rather than later. Partner Jeff Cherry has handled many high-profile rape cases before, and leverages his experiences as a former police officer to help him build your defense strategy.

Contact our Lebanon attorneys today if you are facing rape charges

The Lebanon sex offense defense attorneys of Lowery, Lowery & Cherry, PLLC have decades of combined legal experience, and pride themselves on providing their clients with an energized and highly-focused approach, along with an impressive range of legal expertise. Let us provide discreet representation for your case. We serve clients in Nashville, Mt. Juliet, Cookeville, or elsewhere in Tennessee. To set up a consultation, call 615-454-9404 or fill out our contact form.