With more than 50- years of combined legal experience, we have the skill you need when facing serious sex crime charges
Rape and sexual assault charges are serious, especially because the consequences of a conviction can last a lifetime. Sex crimes are unique in that the stigma continues to punish the accused, even after time has been served and, occasionally, even when they've been exonerated. If you or a loved one have been accused of rape or another sex crime, it is vital that you retain an attorney that has the skill and experience to staunchly defend you against these charges. At Pate and Knott, our Murfreesboro criminal defense lawyers have a proven record of success dealing with these serious charges. We work hard to protect your rights and your future.
How does Tennessee law define rape and sexual battery?
The laws governing rape and sexual battery in Tennessee consider a variety of factors to determine whether a crime occurred. Under Tennessee law, the prosecution must prove that the defendant sexually penetrated the victim, and that any of the following circumstances also existed:
- Force or coercion was used – This could include threats of violence as well as actual violence.
- It was without the consent of the victim – The defendant also had to know or have reason to know that the victim did not consent. If the victim didn't want the sexual contact but failed to let the defendant know that, the prosecutor will have a hard time securing a conviction.
- The victim is mentally defective or physically helpless – Again, the defendant had to know or have reason to know that the victim lacked the mental capacity to consent.
The sexual penetration was accomplished by fraud – This might occur when the defendant pretends to be someone else, tricking the victim into consenting to the sexual contact when they otherwise would not have.
Rape is a Class B felony in Tennessee, which carries a prison term of eight to 30 years and a fine of up to $25,000 dollars. Prosecutors will pursue sexual battery charges for less egregious unwanted sexual contact not amounting to full penetration. Sexual battery is a Class E felony, for which the prison sentence will be between one and six years. You may also be required to register in the Tennessee Sex Offenders Registry and comply with certain employment and housing restrictions. With such steep penalties, it is essential you have an attorney by your side to protect your rights. Our Murfreesboro rape defense attorneys will listen to your story and outline an aggressive defense strategy to help you avoid a conviction.
How can my college student protect his rights if accused of a sex crime?
The news has been littered of late with stories of male college students falsely accused of rape. At Amherst College, a student is suing after being expelled despite concrete cell phone evidence showing the alleged victim consented to the sexual contact. In another story that made national headlines, a fraternity class was falsely accused in Rolling Stone magazine of gang-raping another student. In the college environment where drinking is ubiquitous, morning regret can quickly be re-framed as lack of consent – with the accused having little evidence to prove otherwise.
Proactively, you should repeatedly emphasize to your son the consequences of such an allegation, including expulsion, being publicly shamed, and being barred from completing their education – not to mention the criminal penalties. Encourage them to avoid risky sexual behavior, especially when the woman has been drinking. Once an accusation has been made, you should immediately consult an attorney. Notwithstanding criminal penalties, some schools have very vague sexual harassment policies that can ensnare non-criminal behavior. In fact, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education gave MTSU's sexually harassment policy a Red Light, meaning the policy is vague and unambiguously infringes on protected expression.
Some schools, including MTSU, allow the accused to bring an attorney to their judicial hearing, a wise choice when facing such serious allegations. Don't wait until it is too late to seek help. Our Murfreesboro criminal defense attorneys work vigorously to lessen any negative impacts the allegation may have on your son's future.
Our Murfreesboro criminal defense attorneys provide the tenacity you need to protect your rights against serious rape allegations or charges
If you or a loved one are facing rape or sexual battery charges, you need a Murfreesboro criminal defense attorney with the experience and knowledge to handle the matter with care. We offer special, reduced rates for MTSU students and accept all major credit cards. Call us at 615-848-1221 or contact us online to schedule a free initial consultation. We're conveniently located on the square in downtown Murfreesboro, near the judicial building. Evening and weekend appointments available.