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When Is Rape a Federal Crime?

Published: Aug 18, 2017 in Criminal Defense, Sex Crimes

Rape, also called sexual assault, is a heinous crime. It can severely harm the victims physically and psychologically, and often leads to life-long effects. Perpetrators of this violent crime face harsh consequences and should be brought to justice. Unfortunately, rape accusations are often inappropriately leveled at innocent individuals. Some men and women use rape allegations as a means of revenge. Others come forward with these claims after a misunderstanding or due to regret. In some situations, allegations can be proven false before prosecutors ask a grand jury for an indictment. However, other cases can lead to state or federal rape charges.

If you have been wrongly accused of sexual assault and have been charged with a federal offense, you need to contact an experienced and proven sex crimes lawyer like Ned Barnett. He has decades of experience defending against sex crime allegations in state and federal courts, and will tenaciously fight for the best possible outcome in your case. Call (713) 222-6767 to discuss your case with attorney Barnett in a free and confidential consultation.

When Rape May Become a Federal Crime

In most situations, rape or another sex crime is charged as a violation of Texas law. If you are accused of committing a sexual offense in Texas, you will be charged with a state-level crime and tried in your local court system. On the other hand, rape and other sex offenses can be violations of both state and federal law or exclusively fall under federal jurisdiction.

You can be charged with a federal rape crime if there is evidence you:

  • Crossed state lines in commission of the offense
  • Committed the offense in the District of Columbia
  • Committed the crime on federal property, including within a national park, government office building, or federal prison
  • Committed the crime in international waters
  • Were investigated and arrested by a federal agency
  • Committed the crime against a federal official, ambassador, consul, or other foreign officials under the protection of the U.S. government

Federal Sexual Abuse Offenses

Statute 18 U.S.C. §2242 states you can be charged with rape if, while in the special maritime and territorial jurisdiction of the U.S. or in a federal prison, or in any prison, institution, or facility in which persons are held in custody and you:

  • Caused another person to engage in a sexual act by threatening or placing that other person in fear;
  • Engaged in a sexual act with another person if that person is incapable of appraising the nature of the conduct or physically incapable of declining participating or communicating their unwillingness; or
  • Attempted to cause any of these actions.

If you are charged with sexual abuse under this federal statute and convicted, you can face up to life in prison. There are also federal statutes regarding abusive sexual contact, sexual abuse of a child, and aggravated sexual abuse, which can also lead to life sentences upon conviction.

Defending Against Rape Allegations

If you have been charged with rape under federal law, you will need the help of an experienced criminal defense lawyer who knows his way around a federal courtroom. A skilled and resourceful attorney will review the case against, examining evidence piece by piece to determine the strongest defenses possible under the law.

One of the most common defenses against any sexual assault allegations is that the other person consented to the conduct. By working with an attorney from The Law Offices of Ned Barnett, we may be able to prove the other person you engaged in sexual contact with agreed to participate.

You may also be falsely accused of a crime that someone else committed. If the police have the wrong individual, we will put forth evidence that you have been wrongly identified and have an alibi for the time of the assault.

Contact a Houston Rape Defense Lawyer Today

Being wrongly accused of sexual assault is horrifying and embarrassing. It is the type of allegation that can ruin your reputation, career, and tear your family apart. It can cause your friends and family members to doubt you after years of trust. However, you can fight back. You have the right to hire a criminal defense attorney and aggressively defend yourself in court.

Contact The Law Offices of Ned Barnett today at (713) 222-6767 to schedule a consultation and learn more.