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What are Rape and Sexual Assault?

Being accused of sexual assault is something that might make you shake your head because you just don’t know what you did that wasn’t right. The problem with our society as a whole is that people are beginning to get very touchy about certain things, and one of those is sexual assault. While crimes like rape are obviously wrong, there are other instances in which you might be accused of a sex crime and be totally confused as to why it was considered a crime at all. Understanding some basic points about sexual crimes in Utah might help you to learn about your accusations. Let’s start off with the a question that has an answer that might surprise some readers.

What are Rape and Sexual Assault

What is rape?

Rape is any instance in which you have intercourse with someone in a forceful manner. This can mean the person wasn’t in a suitable capacity to make a choice about the act. Henceforth, you might be accused of rape if you have intercourse with someone who gave his or her consent while he or she was intoxicated.

What is sexual assault?

Sexual assault involves touching another person in an intimate place without his or her consent. It can also include forcing that person to touch you in an intimate way. Finally, this can include intimate contact that involves inanimate objects, which is known as forcible sodomy.

Being accused of sexual assault or rape is very serious because these allegations can affect your entire life. Understanding the charge against you and learning how to present a defense against it is vital to ensure the best outcome.

The Controversy Surrounding Unprocessed Rape Kits In Utah

There has been a lot in the news lately regarding rape kits that have not been processed by law enforcement in Utah. Fortunately, because of some federal grants and a $750,000 allotment by the Utah State Legislature, all of these untested kits can be processed.

In the past, because of the lack of unlimited funds, law enforcement was required to do DNA testing on only the most important cases at the time (i.e. serial rapist on the loose) or in cases of “stranger rape.”  If a woman was raped by someone jumping out of the bushes, identity of the rapist is critical to the case.  DNA is indispensible in helping to identify the perpetrator.

However, in cases where consent was the issue, DNA evidence is not going to be important to the rape case.  In many of my cases, the prosecutor did not process the rape kit because of this issue.  It wouldn’t help the state’s case because the defendant has already admitted to sex, but has argued that the sex was consensual.  In some cases, the accuser is the girlfriend or wife of the defendant.  In such cases, DNA is usually less critical to the case.

Because of the new funding, even rape kits where consent, rather than identity, is an issue will be processed.  The results will be placed in a DNA database to determine if there are matches to DNA involved in unsolved rapes.

Does this create a backlog at the crime lab?  Yes, it does create a burden for the state crime lab.  However, with the new grants and funding, the rape kits can be processed by private labs which eases the burden on the state crime lab.

It is my hope that DNA taken from rape crime scenes prior to the advent of DNA, will be placed close to the front of the line in terms of priority of testing.  Many individuals incarcerated for rape in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s have been exonerated because of DNA.

It is a win-win to have all rape kits processed in Utah–both for the alleged victims and those who find themselves accused a the serious crime of rape.

Free Consultation with a Criminal Defense Attorney

When you’ve been accused of rape or sexual assault, you need help from a criminal defense attorney. Call Ascent Law today for your free consultation (801) 676-5506. We want to help you.

Michael R. Anderson, JD

Ascent Law LLC
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States

Telephone: (801) 676-5506