First degree sexual assault charges in Rhode Island
Are you under investigation for First Degree Sexual Assault?
If you become aware that you are being investigated for any sexual assault charge, it is imperative that you seek qualified legal counsel. Your legal counsel should have experience defending these charges, from investigation through indictment and trial. It is crucial that you obtain the correct legal advice as to what extent you will cooperate with this investigation. There are some cases where an interview with police makes perfect sense and other times that it does not. Your actual innocence has very little to do with this decision.
If you are being investigated, charged or arrested for a sex crime in Rhode Island, Massachusetts or Connecticut, contact Sex Crimes Defense Attorney John E. MacDonald IMMEDIATELY at (401) 421-1440 for a free consultation and to start protecting your rights and your life.
Have you been arrested for 1st Degree Sexual Assault?
First degree sexual assault, or generally termed ‘Rape’, is an extremely serious felony charge prosecuted to the fullest extent. It is important to realize your legal rights, as well as the penalties within the state of Rhode Island, should you be arrested and charged. Whether an individual is found guilty or not, you may rest assured that a first degree sexual assault charge will likely have a number of long lasting effects on your life, especially for those who work with the public or with children.
First Degree Sexual Assault Case Results
First Degree Sex Assault – Not Guilty After Jury Trial: Client was charged with First Degree Sex Assault based upon the physical helplessness of the complaining witness. The Attorney General relied heavily on the complainant’s testimony and the presence of DNA evidence. Working as co-counsel, Attorneys John MacDonald and Dan Griffin were able to secure a Not Guilty verdict after a one week trial in Kent County Superior Court.
First Degree Sex Assault and Strangulation Charges Dismissed: Client was charged with the first-degree sex assault and strangulation of his girlfriend while at a house party. Client was ordered held without bail and a bail hearing was scheduled. At the bail hearing, Attorney MacDonald successfully cross-examined the complainant witness and highlighted multiple discrepancies with her testimony. After hearing, the client was released on bail and the case was presented to a grand jury. After grand jury review, the sex assault and strangulation charges were dismissed.
First Degree Sex Assault Dismissed: Client was charged with committing a sex assault of a woman he had just met at a bar. At his first court appearance, the client was ordered held without bail. Attorney MacDonald conducted a careful review of multiple surveillance videos and found evidence consistent with a consensual sexual encounter. The client was released on bail and the charges were ultimately dismissed by the Attorney General.
Client charged with first degree sexual assault by Warwick Police. Complainant told police she never consented to sexual intercourse with client after a house party because she was passed out. The attorney general’s office pursued an indictment based upon the complainant being physically helpless or mentally incapacitated and therefore could not consent. After a 6-day jury trial and three days of deliberation, the jury voted Not Guilty.
Client was charged with two capital counts of First Degree Sexual Assault in Providence Superior Court. After a six-day jury trial in which the state called 9 prosecution witnesses, including a DNA expert, client was found – Not Guilty on all counts.
Defining First Degree Sexual Assault
Sexual assault is defined by the state in which the crime occurs. Rhode Island defines first degree sexual assault or rape as any forced, coerced, penetration of the vagina, anus, or mouth by any part of another person’s body or by an object. From a legal perspective, a lack of consent does not require physical resistance or verbal refusal to constitute a crime. This essentially means that to engage in intercourse with an individual that is unconscious via sleep, or any form of intoxication will be considered 1st-degree sexual assault.
11-37-2 First degree sexual assault. – A person is guilty of first degree sexual assault if he or she engages in sexual penetration with another person, and if any of the following circumstances exist:
The accused, not being the spouse, knows or has reason to know that the victim is mentally incapacitated, mentally disabled, or physically helpless.
The accused uses force or coercion.
The accused, through concealment or by the element of surprise, is able to overcome the victim.
The accused engages in the medical treatment or examination of the victim for the purpose of sexual arousal, gratification, or stimulation.
Anyone over the age of 18 that engages in sex with someone under the age of 14 is guilty of both sexual assault and child molestation. As defined by Rhode Island:
§ 11-37-8.1 First degree child molestation sexual assault. – A person is guilty of first degree child molestation sexual assault if he or she engages in sexual penetration with a person fourteen (14) years of age or under.
Penalties for 1st degree sexual assault
First degree sexual assault is punishable by up to life imprisonment. Any conviction also requires mandatory lifetime registration as a sex offender and counseling. Penalty as defined by the State of Rhode Island:
11-37-3 Penalty for first degree sexual assault. – Every person who shall commit sexual assault in the first degree shall be imprisoned for a period not less than ten (10) years and may be imprisoned for life.
§ 11-37-8.2 Penalty for first degree child molestation sexual assault. – Every person who shall commit first degree child molestation sexual assault shall be imprisoned for a period of not less than twenty-five (25) years and may be imprisoned for life.
If you are being investigated, charged or have been arrested for a sex crime in Rhode Island, Massachusetts or Connecticut, please contact Sex Crime Defense Attorney John E. MacDonald at 401.421.1440 now for a free consultation.
We can come to you if you have been incarcerated. CALL TODAY!
Trial Attorney John E. MacDonald handles sex crimes cases in the following areas (and more):
DISCLAIMER: This site and any information contained herein are intended for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. Seek competent legal counsel for advice on any legal matter. Also, the Rhode Island Supreme Court licenses all lawyers in the general practice of law, but does not license or certify any lawyer as an expert or specialist in any field of practice.