How Statutory Rape is Defined in Syracuse

In general, a statutory rape is any act of sexual intercourse with a person who is not of legal age to consent. The general age of consent for sexual intercourse in New York is seventeen. However, this does not mean that a person who has sex with another who is under seventeen is automatically guilty of rape.

Any time a person has sex with someone who cannot consent due to their age, they could be charged with statutory rape. New York Penal Law makes no distinction between statutory rape and rape committed by coercion or force. Because of this, people who are accused of statutory rape face harsh potential penalties after conviction.

A common defense to these charges is that the accused person was also under the age of seventeen at the time of the meeting. In fact, the age difference between the two parties is the sole determining factor in the seriousness of the charge and the potential defenses available in such a case.

Rape in the First Degree

The most serious offenses involve sexual intercourse with a person who is less than eleven years old. This is always considered to be Rape in the First Degree under New York Penal Law §130.35. This statute also applies if you are over the age of eighteen and your partner is under the age of thirteen. Convictions here are class B felonies.

Rape in the Second Degree

Rape in the Second Degree, as defined by NYPL §130.30, applies when a person over the age of eighteen has sex with a person less than fifteen years old. This is treated as a class D felony.

However, the statute provides an affirmative defense where a defendant may argue that they were less than four years older than the alleged victim at the time of contact. In other words, if you are eighteen years old, you may argue in court that your partner was fourteen at the time of contact, and that since your difference in age was less than four years you are not guilty of second-degree statutory rape.

Rape in the Third Degree

Finally, anyone over the age of twenty-one cannot have sex with anyone less than seventeen years old. This is the lowest level of rape defined under the law, and it is listed by NYPL §130.25 as a class E felony.

It is important to remember that charges of lower severity are what is known as lesser included offenses. Even if a person can rightfully argue that their offense does not fit a first-degree rape charge, they may still face charges for second- or third-degree rape.

Reach Out to a Syracuse Statutory Rape Attorney Today

Allegations of statutory rape can be confusing and frightening time to handle by yourself. A Syracuse statutory rape lawyer from Tully Rinckey PLLC could help you understand your charges and to take advantage of every potential defense. To discuss your case and your potential options, call (315) 492-4700 or email to schedule a consultation.

Case Consultations