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Rape Defenses

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Rape Defenses

Rape is one of the most serious criminal charges that you can face in the state of Ohio. The term “rape” is broadly used to refer to a number of sex crimes that are usually engaged in by force and without the consent of the victim. There are, however, different kinds of rape outlined by Ohio law.

Rape cases are complex and stressful for all parties involved. If you have been arrested for rape, it is best to retain a skilled lawyer who can craft a formidable defense for your case.

Cincinnati Rape Defense Attorney, Ohio

If you have been arrested for rape, do not hesitate to contact Joslyn Law Firm. Our attorneys have years of combined experience fighting against sex crime charges.  By taking proactive measures to defend your case, you can resolve the legal matter with as few negative consequences as possible.  Allow Joslyn Law Firm to fight for your rights and form a strong defense for your case.

Call (513) 399-6289 to have our attorneys protect you against sex crime accusations and help you avoid the life-altering consequences. At Joslyn Law Firm, we represent clients throughout Cincinnati and the surrounding areas of Hamilton County, Ohio.


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Information Center


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Types of Rape

It is important to distinguish each specific kind of rape charge that an individual may be accused of, as each distinct kind of rape is associated with different penalties and may be defended in different ways.

Rape In Ohio, rape is committed when someone other than one’s spouse (or one’s spouse who does not reside with the victim):

  • Substantially impairs the victim’s judgment by administering a substance to that individual “surreptitiously or by force, threat of force, or deception;”
  • Engages in sexual conduct with a minor under the age of 13;
  • Engages in sexual conduct with someone that the offender knows or has reasonable cause to know has a substantially impaired ability to resist due to mental conditions, physical conditions, or advanced age; or
  • Purposely compels the other person to submit to sexual conduct by force or threat of force.

Statutory rape – No minor under the age of 13 is capable of consenting to sexual activity in Ohio. Sex with a minor under the age of 13 is considered rape regardless of whether the individual charged with the offense knew of the victim’s true age.

Spousal rape – In Ohio, a spouse can only be charged and convicted of rape of their spouse that resides with them if the sexual activity in question occurred due to force or threat of force.

Rape is distinct from the crime of sexual battery in Ohio. Sexual battery is a term that encompasses a variety of different sexual offenses, including:

  • Parent-child incest;
  • Engaging in sexual conduct with someone known to be substantially impaired or unaware of what was happening;
  • Engaging in sexual conduct with someone over whom the individual exercises specific kinds of authority;
  • Coercing someone into engaging in sexual conduct in ways that prevent that individual’s resistance.

In other jurisdictions, some of these offenses are categorized as separate offenses and may be considered additional kinds of rape.


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Statute Of Limitations

A potential defense to a rape charge involves the statute of limitations for the charges themselves. Rape charges must be filed within 25 years of the alleged offense unless an exception to this general rule applies. Under certain circumstances, if a DNA match identifies the culprit of rape after the initial 25 years has expired, charges may be filed within five years of that determination. Otherwise, if the statute of limitations has run on a case, any rape charges brought against an alleged offender may be dropped.


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The Issue Of Consent

In Ohio, the age of consent is 16. If a defendant can successfully argue that the sexual activity in question was consensual and the alleged victim was at least 16 years old at the time the activity occurred, the elements of rape cannot be met by the prosecution.

Consent can be used as a defense against rape, except in instances of statutory rape. In Ohio, if the victim has not yet reached the age of 13, they are considered incapable of consenting to sexual activity. Someone who has sex with a minor under the age of 13 cannot claim consent as a defense to rape, even if they were unaware of the victim’s age.


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Defenses for Rape

Because rape and sexual battery are distinct offenses in Ohio, one of the most commonly used defenses to rape charges in this state is that the elements of rape were not met and that the alleged offender committed – at most – a lesser offense, such as sexual battery. The circumstances under which an individual can be convicted of rape in Ohio are extreme, especially when compared to the ways in which many other states define rape. Arguing that if any charges should be brought, those charges should be lesser sex offenses can be a compelling defense in Ohio.

In cases involving accusations of statutory rape, revealing the true age of the victim as older than the age of 12 at the time of the alleged offense is grounds for dismissal of statutory rape charges.

Additionally, proving that one did not administer a substance to the victim causing their impairment, that the victim was fully capable of providing consent, and that the sexual conduct in question was neither engaged in as a result of force or threats of force are all solid defensive grounds to rape in Ohio. Because the elements of rape in Ohio are so narrow, a successful defense comes down to proving that one or more of the very limited elements in question cannot be proven by the prosecution beyond a reasonable doubt.


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Additional Resources

Ohio Criminal Code: Rape – This section of the sex crimes portion of Ohio’s Criminal Code outlines the different kinds of rape prosecuted under Ohio law, the penalties associated with conviction of these offenses, and the ways in which certain kinds of defensive evidence will be treated by the courts.

Guidelines for Child Abuse Reporting of Consensual Sexual Activity – This fact sheet published by the Ohio state government outlines when sexual abuse of a minor needs to be reported if the parties involved claim that their sexual activity was consensual. Depending on the ages of those involved, if certain sexual activity is reported – regardless of whether the parties claim to have engaged in mutually consensual conduct – rape or sexual battery charges may be filed against the older party in question.

Ohio Age of Consent/Statutory Rape Fact Sheet – There are limited circumstances under which the age of the alleged victim results in an offense grading of rape as opposed to sexual battery or other lesser crimes. This fact sheet serves as a reference in regards to when a sex crime involving a minor should and should not be graded as rape.

Definitions and Grading of Sexual Offenses or Related Crimes Under Ohio Law – If the defense that “the elements of rape cannot be met and the individual should be subject to lesser charges” applies in a case, this table provides a point of reference for what those lesser charges might be.


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Ohio Rape Defense Lawyer, Cincinnati

Criminal charges can be an overwhelming experience. You are probably worried about your freedom and have a lot of questions. Thankfully, Joslyn Law Firm has years of experience fighting for individuals accused of sex crimes. Do not suffer silently. Seek the justice you deserve.

To schedule your first consultation with Joslyn Law Firm, don’t delay contact a qualified Cincinnati rape defense lawyer at Joslyn Law Firm. Call (513) 399-6289 today to discuss all of your legal options. Joslyn Law Firm accepts rape cases in the greater Cincinnati area, including Anderson, Colerain, Delhi, Green, Harrison, Miami, Springfield, Symmes, Sycamore, and several other locations.


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  • Brian Joslyn was named Best Lawyer in 2019 by Birdeye.
  • Columbus CEO magazine has yearly selections for the best attorneys in Columbus Ohio. Brian Joslyn has been identified as one of the most highly skilled attorneys across central Ohio.
  • Brian Joslyn has earned recognition for community leadership by Lawyer LegionLawyer Legion
  • Preeminent Attorney Award. Peer rated for highest level of professional excellence.
  • The Better Business Bureau (BBB), founded in 1912, is a private, nonprofit organization whose self-described mission is to focus on advancing marketplace trust.

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