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Rape Defense Lawyers in Erie, PA

Hard-Hitting Criminal Defense Lawyers Defend Clients Accused of Rape or Date Rape in Erie County and Throughout Pennsylvania

No criminal allegations can impact your life as dramatically as allegations that you committed rape or date rape. If you are convicted for rape, it is critical that you understand that every aspect of your life will be impacted—your freedom will be taken away as you serve a lengthy prison term and your financial security will be destroyed by monetary fines and victim restitution. Upon completing your prison sentence, when you are looking forward to re-engaging with society, you will find that you face intense supervised probation and lifetime registration requirements that can prevent you from finding work or even living in certain communities. Even worse, you may destroy personal relationships and be prevented from spending time with your children and loved ones.

Although no criminal defense lawyer can promise a miracle, at Purchase, George & Murphey, P.C., our experienced rape defense lawyers will put all of our resources to work and fight vigorously to discover every possible defense strategy in your case. We understand what you are facing, and will attack the prosecution’s case with every piece of evidence that we have to fight for your freedom.

Types of Rape Defined

Rape can be categorized in a number of different ways, these categories are referred to as “types of rape”, which include:

  • Date rape – this can occur between a wide range of people from acquaintances to couples, first-dates to friends. There are several types of date rape, including acquaintance rape, drug facilitated sexual assault, and incapacitated rape. Each of these different types are classified by the relationship between the victim and their attacker, and the means by which they were attacked.
  • Gang rape – which is defined as the rape of a single victim by a group of participants.
  • Spousal rape – this is classified as rape between a married couple – whether the couple is married by law or not. Also known as intimate partner sexual assault, partner rape, husband/wife rape, or marital rape.
  • Rape of children – this is a form of child sexual abuse. Also called “child-on-child sexual abuse” when committed by another child or adolescent, or “incestual rape” when committed by a parent or other close relative.
  • Statutory rape – this is defined as sexual activity that is neither violent nor physically coerced, but which violates the age-of-consent law.
  • Prison rape – which affects between 3% and 12% of prison inmates in the US. In most cases, the attacker is another inmate.
  • Custodial rape – which occurs when a person who is employed by the state – such as a hospital employee, public servant, corrections or police officer – rapes a victim while they are “in custody” and constrained from leaving.

Elements of Rape Under Pennsylvania’s Criminal Code

18 Pa. Cons. Stat. Sec. 3121 defines rape as engaging in sexual intercourse with another person if any of the following are true:

  • The alleged perpetrator used forcible compulsion,
  • The alleged perpetrator used the threat of forcible compulsion, which would prevent a reasonable person from resisting,
  • The victim was unconscious, or the alleged perpetrator knows that the victim is otherwise unaware that the sexual intercourse is occurring,
  • The alleged perpetrator has substantially impaired the victim’s ability to appraise or control his or her conduct through the use of drugs, intoxicants or other means (without the victim’s knowledge) for the purpose of avoiding resistance, or
  • The victim suffers from a mental disability that renders the victim incapable of consent.

Statutory rape, under 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. Sec. 3122.1, in Pennsylvania, is now punished as statutory sexual assault, which is a second-degree felony. To convict on statutory sexual assault charges, the prosecution must show that the victim was under the age of 16, was not the defendant’s spouse and the defendant was either:

  • Four years older, but less than eight years older, than the victim, or
  • Eight years older, but less than 11 years older, than the victim.

If the alleged perpetrator was 11 or more years older than the victim, the crime is prosecuted as a first-degree felony.

Arrested on Rape or Date Rape Charges in PA? Our Skilled Criminal Defense Lawyers Fight to Protect Your Freedom

Pennsylvania law imposes a harsh punishment on those who have been convicted of rape, date rape or any other type of sex crime. Rape is generally a first-degree felony, for which a defendant will face up to 20-30 years in prison, depending upon the circumstances, in addition to monetary fines, probation and lifetime registration requirements. If the victim was a child, and the defendant caused serious bodily injury in perpetrating the rape, the crime is punishable by up to a life sentence in prison.

Pennsylvania law also imposes additional penalties if the rape or date rape was accomplished by using a drug or other substance (for example, the “date rape drug”) without the victim’s knowledge that would prevent the victim from resisting—under these circumstances, the courts may impose up to an additional $100,000 fine and a prison term of up to ten years in addition to any other prison sentence that may apply.

Experienced Pennsylvania Rape and Date Rape Lawyers Explore Every Available Defense Strategy in Your Case

Formulating a strong defense strategy is necessary in every single rape case, and we will work to determine whether any of the following strategies may be available in your case:

  • Consent. If the victim actually consented to the sexual intercourse, the crime of rape cannot be established.
    Innocence. In some cases, we can establish that you had an alibi (you were somewhere else) at the time the rape occurred,
  • False accusations. False accusations of rape do occur for a variety of reasons, and we will work to uncover whether the alleged victim had a motive for falsely accusing you.
  • Mistaken identity. It is possible that the victim did not clearly see her attacker, and so identified you as the perpetrator by mistake.
  • Insanity. In cases where the defendant was mentally ill at the time, penalties may be reduced or modified to reflect that disability.

Schedule a Confidential Consultation With a Reputable Erie Criminal Defense Lawyer Today

If you have been accused of rape, date rape or any other sex crime, the legal advice of an experienced and reputable criminal defense attorney can be critical to protecting your future. At Purchase, George & Murphey, our rape defense attorneys have the experience necessary to understand the challenges that a rape case can present, and we have the resources necessary to conduct an intense and thorough investigation to uncover all potentially exonerating evidence.

Call our offices or fill out this online form, to schedule a confidential consultation with our experienced Pennsylvania criminal defense lawyers to discuss allegations of rape or date rape that have been brought against you today. For your convenience, we have three office locations located at 2525 W.26th St., Erie, PA 16506, 310 Chestnut St., Suite 111, Meadville, PA 16335 (in the Masonic Building) and 68 East Main Street, North East, PA 16428.

FAQ: I have been accused of rape, but not arrested. Should I call a lawyer?
Yes. If someone has accused you of raping them, it is critical to retain a lawyer as soon as possible so that we can begin investigating to determine whether any evidence exists to refute those allegations.

FAQ: Should I speak to the police after I have been arrested and accused of rape?
You should first speak with an experienced criminal defense lawyer before saying anything to the police. Even if you know you are innocent, your words can be used against you in ways that you might not initially anticipate. Because the stakes are so high in a rape case, having your lawyer present through all stages of the process is extremely important.

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Client’s husband was killed in a motorcycle accident caused by a careless driver. His underinsured motorist carrier originally denied coverage, based on a policy exclusion, and then offered only half the coverage.

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Late at night, a driver turned right at a stop light and crossed into the oncoming lane of traffic. His BAC was over the legal limit. He was charged with DUI, a lane violation and careless driving.

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An instructor at a local high school was accused by a student of indecent assault on the last day of school. After four days of trial, the jury acquitted the instructor of all charges.

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Mr. George and his entire office staff were very kind and helping me through my first ever experience with the law. He was able to get me exactly what he said he would in the outcome of my trial. The entire staff was very informative and kept me up to date on everything. Very pleased with my experience and would most definately recommend him to others.

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