A discussion of Louisiana’s first degree rape statute
Like other jurisdictions throughout the United States, Louisiana has a variety of sexual offenses codified in its laws. Louisiana recognizes three levels of rape: first degree rape, second degree rape and third degree rape. While all three levels of rape are serious, the majority of this post’s focus will be on the elements of first degree rape.
First degree rape can be distinguished from the other two levels of rape based on the age of the alleged victim. If an alleged victim is 65-years-old or older, or less than 13-years-old, the alleged perpetrator may face first degree rape charges. People who are convicted of rape of an individual in one of these two age demographics may be incarcerated for life or subjected to the state’s death penalty.
First degree rape, also called aggravated rape, may also be alleged if the victim, regardless of age, suffered from a mental or physical incapacity at the time of the alleged assault. This serious charge can also apply if multiple individuals allegedly commit a rape against a victim of any age.
To win a conviction for first degree rape, the prosecutor must prove all elements of the charge beyond a reasonable doubt. If, for example, the evidence shows that the sexual relations were consented to by the parties, the defendant will have a viable defense to this serious criminal charge.
Other rape charges, such as second degree rape and third degree rape, are also very serious but do not carry the same levels of penalties with them. All rape charges and allegations of sexual assault should be taken seriously and criminal defenses can sometimes be asserted to assist defendants with the charges against them. Criminal defense attorneys often can provide their clients with help prior to and during the difficult criminal procedures that follow allegations of rape and sexual assault.