In Pennsylvania, rape is a crime where the defendant forcibly or under threat of force engages in sexual intercourse with another person. Rape can also occur if the defendant has substantially impaired the victim’s ability to control his/her conduct by intoxicating the victim without his/her knowledge or if the victim has a mental disability.
Additional details of Pennsylvania’s rape laws can be found in the following table.
|Statute||Pennsylvania Statutes Title 18 § 3121|
|Statutory Definition of Felony Rape||A person commits a felony of the first degree when the person engages in sexual intercourse with a complainant:
|Penalties||Up to 40 yrs. in prison (up to life imprisonment for rape of a child with serious bodily injury)|
Rape of a Child
If the defendant rapes a child under the age of 13, the charge is called “rape of a child” and is a separate offense from rape. It is also considered a separate offense if the defendant commits a rape of a child and the child is seriously injured. This offense is called “rape of a child with serious bodily injury.”
Defenses to Rape Charges
There are a number of possible defenses to the charge of rape in Pennsylvania. Please consult an experienced sex crimes attorney to learn which ones may apply in your situation.
- No force or threat of force was used;
- Intoxication of the defendant in limited circumstances;
Penalties and Sentences
Rape is considered a first degree felony in Pennsylvania. A first degree felony carries a sentence of up to twenty years in prison. In addition to this term, if the defendant used any type of intoxicating drug in the commission of this offense, the sentence may be extended for an additional ten years in prison. Also, a fine of up to $100,000 may be imposed as well and mandatory sex offender registration.
Note: State laws surrounding rape and sex assault are constantly changing — please contact a Pennsylvania sex crimes attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.
Pennsylvania Rape Laws: Related Resources
If you or someone you know has been the victim of rape, there are organizations that can help you. Please considercontacting a rape crisis center or other non-profit organization for more information. Most centers provide, at a minimum, basic services to victims/survivors of sexual violence, rape and incest including:
- Free and confidential crisis counseling 24-hours a day;
- Prevention education programs to schools, civic organizations and other public groups;
- Services for the victim’s family, friends, partners or spouses;
- Information and referrals to other services in your area.
Free Evaluation of Your Rape Charge
If you are the victim of rape, make sure you get the necessary medical and emotional support after going to the police. If you have been charged with rape, you have the right to defend yourself in a court of law. Get a free review of your case from a Pennsylvania defense attorney.