Below, an Arlington sex crimes lawyer discusses what the prosecution needs to prove in order to secure a conviction on rape charges. If you have been accused of rape, schedule a free consultation today as a rape conviction comes with serious charges.
In a rape case, the state must prove that the defendant had sexual intercourse with another person or caused another person to engage in sexual intercourse and that it was against that person’s will or without their consent and that it was by force, threat, or intimidation. So there are only three elements that the Commonwealth typically has to prove in a general rape charge.
If it is a rape of a child under 13 years old, the Commonwealth must show that the defendant had sexual intercourse with the child or caused a child to engage in sexual intercourse with another person and at the time of the act the child was under the age of 13. So there are not that many elements that a commonwealth to prove and if they do that the person can be convicted and will be convicted of the crime of rape.
Rape cases can be tough for the prosecution to prove in some respects because it often happens without too many witnesses to the event. Not too many rapes occur in open public in front of a crowd. So it often comes down to one person’s word against another. The court or jury then must make a determination of who is more credible, which is a very inexact science. However, the Commonwealth will try to bolster their case by providing other evidence than just the testimony of the victim. In most rape cases, the victim is taken for a “SANE” examination as close in time to the alleged rape as possible. A SANE examination is done at a hospital or medical facility and performed by a nurse trained to detect and recover evidence of a rape from an examination of the victim’s body. This evidence can be very powerful evidence for the Commonwealth and it is frequently used in their cases.
Any other medical evidence that the Commonwealth has they will always use. They will also use any statements by the defendant that help prove their case. Any independent witnesses to either the alleged rape or describe the what occurred before and after the alleged rape can also be called as witnesses to help prove the Commonwealth’s case.
So, the Commonwealth will use any and all methods and evidence that the rules of evidence will allow to prove their case. They take these cases very seriously and pull no stops to obtain a conviction.
The physical evidence typically presented is the medical examination of the victim that was performed as close in time to the alleged rape. The Commonwealth will also use DNA evidence that is unique to the defendant to help prove their case. They will call any and all eyewitnesses. Almost all rape cases are assigned to a detective who is trained in obtaining evidence in these types of cases. That detective will usually be called as a witness. The victim will almost certainly testify in every case and explain what happened. The statements of the defendant that show guilt will be used against the defendant in a rape case. Anything the Commonwealth can do to prove their case, they most certainly will do at trial.